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Governor signs the K-12 COLA Bill

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Coming up this week – take action now!

Wednesday is the deadline for bills to get out of the opposite chamber, so expect a lot of voting on the chamber floors between now and then.  A few of our priorities are still in Rules awaiting floor action including Special Education funding (SB 5311), free school meals for K-12 students (HB 1238), and Paraeducator course of study (HB 1277).  See the full list below.

And… budget, budget, budget. Did we mention the budget?  The House and Senate have both passed their separate versions and budget leaders are now hard at work resolving differences. We’re working with allies to push for the House’s approach to phased down regionalization, levy equalization, and experience mix and the Senate levels of funding for Special Education. 

K-12 COLA bill signed into law

Every year, K-12 educators united in WEA work to secure a Cost of Living Adjustment from the legislature that allows our families to keep up with inflation. This year, we had a significant victory that will resonate for years to come. Governor Inslee signed into law this week SB 5650 which sets the 2023-24 COLA at 3.7% and then beginning in 2024-25 sets the COLA at the previous year’s Implicit Price Deflator. This ties the COLA to actual inflation so that we’re not fighting about how to calculate a  COLA every year. This was only possible because of the work we have done together to build support for public education in the legislature.

Updates on major bills

Signed into law by Governor Inslee this week

  • SB 5650 to fund K-12 educator Cost of Living Increases

Awaiting the Governor’s signature

  • The bill adding financial transparency to public four-year colleges (SSB 5512)

Passed both chambers and awaits concurrence (resolving differences between the two chambers)

  • The bill providing privileged protection to communications between employees and their unions (HB 1187)
  • The bill that exempts disclosure of personal information of state employees who are survivors of violence, assault, or harassment (HB 1533)
  • The bill ensuring universal screening for highly capable students (SB 5072)
  • SB 5257 requiring 30 minutes of recess for elementary students

Awaiting House or Senate floor votes 

  • Increased funding for Special Education (SB 5311)
  • The bill updating the Paraeducator Fundamental Course of Study (HB 1277)
  • Free school meals for 600,000 of the 1,000,000 WA K-12 students (HB 1238)
  • Increasing access to PEBB retiree benefits for Plan 2 members (HB 1008)
  • Providing a one-time 3%  COLA for Plan 1 TRS/PERS retirees(HB 1057 & SB 5350)
  • The bill creating oversight and accountability for charter schools (ESHB 1744)
  • The Transitional Kindergarten bill (HB 1550)
  • The bill preventing musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (ESSB 5217) that would allow L&I to adopt ergonomic rules
  • HB 1701, the bill about education in institutional settings
  • HB 1200 to ensure public employers share basic employee contact information with unions

Get the news as it happens…  Follow WEA Advocacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus subscribe to the Advocacy blog. Subscribe to text message action alerts by texting “Advocacy” to 833-258-6815.

Posted in: COLA | Legislative Issues
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