Legislative Update
March 2017
Week 9 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

Wednesday was the last day for bills to be passed out of their house of origin, and both chambers spent a lot of time this week in floor debates and voting. So, not much in the way of committee meetings and hearings; most of the action is going on behind the scenes as Senate Republicans negotiate with House Democrats over their education spending proposals.

It's safe to say that certain legislators are feeling a little cranky about the process. Some of that was centered on the stalemate over HB 1059, the levy cliff bill. Democrats in the Senate tried again to force a vote this week, but the Republican majority slapped that down. Then, one senator called another senator a "liar" (though it should be noted he refrained from adding "pants on fire"). An article in the Olympian provides details.

Perhaps the name calling worked, because on Wednesday, the Senate passed (beginning at 3:29:29) their own levy cliff bill, SB 5023, and shot it right back to the House for consideration. On Thursday morning, you may have heard the collective sigh of relief from school districts across the state as the House approved the Senate version on a vote of 87-10 (beginning at 3:57). An article in the News Tribune describes the compromise.

Other Bills Making Progress
  • HB 1046, which would decouple graduation requirements from statewide assessments, passed out of the House on a vote of 92-6 and has been referred to the Senate EL&K12 Education committee.
  • HB 1215, which would authorize the establishment and operation of locally authorized innovation schools, was introduced way back on January 13 and finally got a public hearing (beginning at 1:16:59) in the House Education committee on Thursday. Testifying in favor of this bill were teachers, administrators and students from Big Picture High School in the Highline School District and representatives from the Discovery Institute and the Washington Policy Center. A representative from WEA testified against this bill.
  • HB 1319, which would reduce the frequency that classroom teachers with a professional certificate or a National Board Certificate and principals with a professional certificate, who previously received a performance rating of three or above, must receive a comprehensive summative evaluation, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate EL&K12 Education committee on Tuesday.
  • 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, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate EL&K12 Education committee on Tuesday.
  • HB 1705, which would provide a process for school districts to apply to have one or more schools within the district designated as a flexibility school, was also introduced early in the session and got a hearing (beginning at :50) in the House Education committee on Thursday. Although no public testimony was provided, some interesting questions regarding distinctions between flexibility and charter schools were asked and answered.
  • HB 1732, which would protect the confidentiality of PGPs, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate EL&K12 Education committee on Tuesday.
  • HB 1734, which requires payments to school districts for substitutes needed because the PESB requested certificated or classified school employees to serve on committees, got a floor vote and passed 96-0.
  • HB 1886, which would transfer numerous duties and responsibilities from the State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, got a floor vote and passed 97-0.
  • SB 5070, the Senate's bill concerning paraeducators, got a floor vote and passed 37-12.
Odds and Ends
For this week's update on McCleary, check out the Seattle Times Ed Lab, which describes a lot of analysis but little progress toward a solution being made.

The teacher shortage issue has gotten a lot of attention both locally and nationally. An article in the Spokesman Review explains how the problem is exacerbated by Washington state's "cumbersome" certification process.

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.