Legislative Update
February 2017
Week 7 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

We were kinda disappointed that the bill to have Sasquatch named as Washington's official cryptid disappeared last week, but lots of other mysteries remain, like which of the education spending proposals will prevail? And why was a fourth plan recently proposed by some Senate Democrats?
After a lengthy and amendment-riddled floor debate (beginning at 33:04) on Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House passed its education spending bill, HB 1843, on a party line vote of 50-47. An article in The Columbian provides details about the debate.

Also on Wednesday, Senate Republicans provided a revision to the original dollar amounts in their education spending bill, SB 5607, which passed several weeks ago. An article in the Seattle Times explains the adjustments and impact on property taxes.

Last week, Senator Mark Mullet proposed SB 5825 as a "smack in the middle" education funding plan that attempts to bridge the gap between the House and Senate proposals. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Ways & Means committee on Monday.
Last Friday was the policy committees' cut-off, so while the education committees got a little breather, the House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means committees have been working long hours. That's because today is the deadline for surviving bills to make it out of their house-of-origin fiscal committees, unless they are marked as "Necessary to Implement the Budget," in which case they are never totally dead. Only partly.

Bills Making Progress This Week
  • HB 1046, which would decouple graduation requirements from statewide assessments by discontinuing the Certificate of Academic Achievement (including an emergency clause that would impact this year's seniors by decoupling the Biology EOC exam), passed out of the House Appropriations committee on a vote of 29-4.
  • HB 1115, which would require paraeducators to meet certain minimum employment standards and provide specialty certificates in special education and English language learner, received a public hearing (beginning at 7:55) in the House Appropriations committee on Monday. Testifying in favor of the bill were representatives from WEA and the Public School Employees of WA. In Executive Session on Tuesday, the bill passed out of committee on a vote of 26-7.
  • HB 1282, which would revise the funding formula for materials, supplies and operating costs (MSOC) for vocational students, got a public hearing (beginning at 10:25) in the House Appropriations committee on Monday. A representative from WEA testified as "other" on this bill amid concerns about unintended consequences. A CTE teacher testified in favor of the bill. At the same time, its companion, SB 5183, got a hearing (beginning at 2:18:20) in the Senate Ways & Means committee. Testifying in favor of this bill were representatives from the Maritime Association, the Center for Latino Leadership, and the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council.
  • HB 1341, which would require the PESB to provide teachers with three options to become professionally certified: the ProTeach Portfolio, National Board Certification, or by earning 75 professional learning credits, got a hearing in the House Appropriations committee on Thursday. A representative from WEA testified in favor of this bill. Testifying against the bill were representatives from the PESB and the WA Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
  • Last week, HB 1886, which would transfer numerous duties and responsibilities from the State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, passed out of the House Education committee on a vote of 11-7, and was referred to the Rules committee. An article in the Everett Herald describes the power struggle: Lawmakers Seek to Give State Schools Chief More Power.
Odds and Ends
This essay from the New York Times Sunday Magazine is powerful and enlightening. Strongly recommend! Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools?

Have a great weekend!

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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.