Legislative Update
April 2017
Week 13 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

Seventeen days. That's how much time remains in the regular session. Is that enough for the House D's and Senate R's to come to agreement on a budget? Given that they're still engaged in a kind of chicken/egg debate about budget negotiations and revenue bills, as described in the Spokesman Review, it seems unlikely.

Now that the deadline has passed for fiscal bills to be passed out of opposite house committees, this week was largely taken up with strategy around both houses' budget proposals. It's a little hard to keep up with all the machinations, but this newsletter by the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) does a good job of explaining the budget battle (beginning on page 3).

As for what's in the budget bills, here's a side-by-side (under "Other") of HB 2185 and SB 5607 that helps clarify their differences.

Bills Making Progress
As graduation season creeps ever closer, anxiety about state assessments and graduation requirements is growing. We mentioned last week that HB 1046, which would decouple the assessments from graduation requirements, had stalled. However, the House Education committee took the language of HB 1046 and included it in an amended SB 5639. That bill passed to Appropriations and got a public hearing (beginning at 16:49) on Saturday. A representative from OSPI testified in favor of this bill, describing it as a rare opportunity to help students while saving money. Then, in Executive Session on Tuesday, the bill passed out of Appropriations on a vote of 29-3 and was referred to the Rules committee. A Senate version of the bill, SB 5891, which was amended to delay rather than delink only the science assessment as a graduation requirement until 2021, may still have life, but legislators are running out of days to get any bill passed in time to rescue the class of 2017.

In other action:
  • HB 1654, which would provide the PESB with rulemaking authority in the design of alternative route programs and specify expected outcomes for those programs, passed in the House on March 2. On Tuesday, it got a floor vote in the Senate and passed 49-0.
  • HB 1732, which would protect the confidentiality of PGPs, passed in the House on March 1. On Tuesday, it got a floor vote in the Senate and passed 49-0.
  • HB 1734, which would provide reimbursement for subs when teachers participate in PESB-related activities, passed in the House on March 6. Last Friday, it got a floor vote in the Senate and passed 49-0.
  • HB 1886, which would clarify the appropriate roles and responsibilities of OSPI and the SBE, passed in the House on March 8. An amended version got a floor vote in the Senate and passed 47-1.
  • SB 5070, which would set minimum employment standards for paraeducators, got a public hearing in the House Appropriations committee on Saturday. During the briefing, staff to the committee provided a comparison (under "Other") of the bill to its companion, HB 1115. During Executive Session on Tuesday the bill was passed and referred to the Rules committee.
Although many of the bills we've been tracking throughout the session appear to have fallen by the wayside, it's important to remember that they may show up again within the larger fiscal bills that are still making progress. So, stayed tuned!

Odds and Ends
The power of myth; both positive and negative. This blog post from Valerie Strauss, of the Washington Post, offers a poignant reminder.

And finally, since April is Poetry Month, we're sharing a little poem called "The History Teacher," by Billy Collins.
Have a great weekend!

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Note about 
l egislative updates: 

CSTP relays these legislative updates to provide information on bills, budgets and legislative processes. CSTP doesn't have a legislative agenda, but does track legislative issues most relevant to teaching.