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It's town hall time!

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PoliSparks 2023

Coming up this week – take action now!

Next Wednesday, March 8 at 5pm is cutoff for passing bills out of their chamber of origin.  We’ll be making last-minute pushes to make sure our priorities pass before cutoff and many of our bills have already passed. Committee schedules are in flux as the bills pass the floor and have to be added to scheduling.

  • This week is prime time for legislator town halls.  Check the schedule and read more below.
  • The bills establishing minimum employment requirements for paraeducators (HB 1015) and reviewing reprimands for educators (HB 1113) are scheduled for hearings in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on Thursday.  Sign in pro for 1015 and 1113.
  • Hundreds of WEA members signed in pro on SB 5257 ensuring a minimum of 30 minutes of recess for elementary students and prohibiting and discouraging the use of recess or other physical movement as punishment, which is now scheduled for executive session on Tuesday in the House Committee on Education.
  • WEA members also testified and signed in to support universal screening for highly capable students (SB 5072) which is scheduled for exec on Tuesday in the House Committee on Education.

If you’re interested in testifying on these bills, please contact WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.

WEA members who testified this week

Gavin Downing (Kent EA) on universal screening for HC programs; Ryan Grant (Medical Lake EA) on universal screening for HC programs; Denton Thorbeck (Kent EA) on universal screening for HC programs; Matt Wood (Tacoma EA) on ensuring elementary school recess

If you provided testimony before the legislature, we’d like to do a shout-out about you! Please contact WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.

It’s town hall season!

Legislators’ town halls are fantastic opportunities to make sure our lawmakers know what our schools and students need.  We’ve compiled a list of announced town halls. WEA members will be raising important priority issues like ESP pay, Special Education funding, and raises for all educators. For more tips and talking points, reach out to WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.

PoliSparks Amplifies Educators’ Advocacy Skills

When educators speak with one strong voice, our lawmakers listen! That’s why more than 30 WEA members from across Washington came together in Olympia last weekend to brush up our lobbying and legislative skills, talk about the political process, and get some time with our elected officials.  Participants even got to know the capitol gift shop sasquatch!  

Tracking our priorities

What made cutoff

  • The bill on K-12 educator COLAs (HB 1732) passed on the House floor Wednesday and is now on to the Senate.
  • Increased funding for Special Education (HB 1436) passed the House floor on Thursday.  We’ll continue efforts to improve this bill. 
  • Free school meals for K-12 students (HB 1238) passed the House on Thursday in a scaled back version. The new version would allow our state to feed about 600,000 of our state’s 1,000,000 K-12 students through meals at no charge.
  • The bill to support teacher residencies and early career supports (SHB 1565) passed in the House on Thursday although the scope of the bill has narrowed. 
  • Plan 1 COLAs (HB 1057 & SB 5350) both passed in their respective chambers with anonymous votes this week.
  • HB 1200 to ensure public employers share basic employee contact information with unions passed in the House and is now on to the Senate.
  • The Senate passed the bill on inclusive learning standards and materials (SB 5462) on Tuesday.
  • Our current school capital funding system favors larger districts and that’s why we support the bill regarding school construction for small districts (SB 5126) which passed the Senate on Tuesday. 

What awaits a floor vote

  • Increased funding for Special Education (SB 5311) is expected to come to a Senate floor vote later today. While not everything we hoped for, it is the best bill in the running right now.  Companion bill HB 1426 passed in the House.
  • The isolation and restraint bill (HB 1479) has been amended in House Educationa nd House Appropriations addressing several of our concerns and the bill includes professional development around de-escalation.  WEA continues to advocate for funding that will ensure all staff that interact with students receive training on interventions and de-escalation as well as other tools to ensure the safety of students and staff.    It awaits scheduling for the floor.
  • We also saw changes to the Transitional Kindergarten bill (HB 1550) that begin to better align funding with school district costs and to provide a path for elementary educators to teach in these programs.  This bill continues to be a work in progress.  It awaits floor action.
  • We had concerns about arbitrary deadlines to speed up timelines for Special Education plans in HB 1305 including that the proposals in the bill could lead to a reduction in quality of student evaluations and create significant workforce pressures, among other concerns.  After WEA staff and member testimony, the bill was dramatically altered to address many of our concerns.  It awaits a floor vote. 
  • Bills setting policies for school library programs and enhancing media literacy and digital citizenship in schools (SSB 5102 and SSB 5626) both awaiting scheduling for a Senate floor vote.
  • The bill that exempts disclosure of personal information of state employees who are survivors of violence, assault, or harassment (HB 1533) awaits a vote in the House.
  • An important bill to provide privileged protection to communications between employees and their unions (HB 1187) is also awaiting a floor vote.
  • A student transportation funding bill (SB 5174) is expected to come to a vote in the Senate later today.
  • A bill to increase districts’ per-student levy maximum (HB 1244) which could mean raising more badly-needed funds through levy votes awaits scheduling for the House floor.

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.

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