Legislative Update
April 2017
 
Week 14 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

Lots of floor action this week, because Wednesday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for all opposite house bills, except those relating to budget matters, to be passed. Sounds dramatic, right? Not so much. Just before the deadline, @thenewstribune reporter @MelissaSantos1 tweeted, "most boring 4:59 bill ever #waleg" and posted a pic of a very empty House chamber. Guess the media folks are getting a little impatient also.

Today is the 96 th day of the regular session. Now that the non-budget bills deadline has passed, and with just nine days left, legislators will turn their full attention to budget negotiations.

Each year there's talk about the need for transparency in this process, but the reality is that most of the wheeling and dealing goes on out of the public eye. Wrapped up in these negotiations are some bills that haven't made it past various deadlines, but are still, maybe, possibly alive.

One example is HB 1827, which would address recruitment, retention, certification, evaluation, assistance and incentives for educators. It hasn't seen any official movement since Feb 17, when it was passed out of the House Education committee and referred to Rules for review. However, according to the latest Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA) Legislative Update, HB 1827 "is named in the House's proposed budget with $7 million appropriated for its implementation," and it "appears to be the intended vehicle for articulating and funding more specific educator recruitment strategies this session." So, we may yet see some support for tackling the teacher shortage.

Bills Making Progress
  • HB 1115, which would set minimum employment standards for paraeducators, got a floor vote in the Senate on Wednesday and passed 49-0.
  • HB 1341, which would create a professional learning based five-year residency certificate renewal option for and establish the Professional Educator Collaborative to review the integration of educator certificates, passed in the House on Feb 28 and was placed on second reading in the Senate, but did not get a floor vote, so it may be a goner. However, this was a bill that got a lot of attention throughout the session, so we wouldn't be surprised to see it among the walking dead before the final gavel comes down.
  • HB 1444, which would facilitate grade level progression and graduation of at-risk youth and waive local graduation requirements for students who have enrolled in multiple districts while in high school and have met state requirements, has passed both houses on unanimous votes, but has not yet been sent to the governor.
  • HB 1654, which would provide the PESB with rulemaking authority in the design of alternative route programs, and specify expected outcomes for those programs, has passed both houses and been delivered to the governor for his signature.
  • HB 1732, which would protect the confidentiality of PGPs, has passed both houses and been delivered to the governor for his signature.
  • HB 1734, which would provide reimbursement for subs when teachers participate in PESB-related activities, has passed both houses and been delivered to the governor for his signature.
  • SB 5639, which would delink state assessments from graduation requirements, passed in the Senate on March 2. On Monday, it got a floor vote in the House and passed 92-6, but has not yet been sent to the governor.
Odds and Ends
It feels like a quaint memory now, but remember when we were kinda excited about the new federal ESSA legislation? Well, OSPI has just announced that ESSA work groups are reconvening to continue prep for submitting the state's plan to the DOE in September. The work is led by Deputy Superintendent, Michaela Miller, who says the goal is to deve lop "a continuum of support that elevates a focus on equity, closing opportunity gaps, and continuous growth and improvement."

And finally, you gotta watch this impromptu drumline duel between Lincoln and Sumner High Schools. So cool!

Have a great weekend!

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Legislative Links:

Legislative Website: Get information on bills, legislators, hearings and more.

Bill Tracker: Track specific bills, read bill reports.

TVW: Watch live and archived legislative proceedings.
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.