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WA’s legislative session kicks off on Monday

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Washington’s 2024 legislative session starts on Monday and WEA members have already been emailing and talking with lawmakers about key issues for our schools and students. Member-leaders in WEA’s Legislative Strategy Committee have worked since April 2023 to craft a legislative agenda that reflects our experiences in the buildings and highlights a few of the most urgent needs. We’ll be advocating around these issues during this year’s short session.

On the schedule this week

  • Educational Support Professional staffing: Wednesday at 10:30am, the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee is hearing SB 5882 to change the prototypical school funding formula to include more ESP staffing (sign in PRO here).
  • Free school meals: A bill to expand free school meals to all students (HB 2058) is being heard Thursday at 8am in House Education. Sign in PRO here.
  • Simple majority to pass school bonds: Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education is hearing SB 5823 and SJR 8207 to allow simple majorities to pass school bonds.  (sign in PRO here)
  • Unemployment for striking workers: House Labor & Workplace Standards and Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce are hearing  bills that would allow striking workers to apply for unemployment (HB 1893, SB 5777), both on Tuesday at 10:30am.
  • Student isolation & restraint: The House Education Committee is having a work session on Monday and Tuesday to dive deeper into the rare circumstances that lead to the use of isolation, physical restraint and other high acuity student interventions as well as staffing, training and supports needed to ensure the dignity and wellbeing of all students and staff. WEA has successfully advocated to have more educator voices at the table.  The committee is also hearing a bill on E2SHB 1479 on Thursday at 8:00am.


Anti-education initiative headed to legislature

Educators are winning for more inclusive education that gives every student the freedom to learn. Our opponents see this, though, and now they’re using ballot initiatives to try to undermine the work we’ve done. They have turned in signatures for six initiatives including one that would allow families the ability to review student medical records and give families the ability to opt their child out of assignments about sexual health or any assignments that infringe on their family’s broadly-defined religious beliefs. Additionally, these same extremists are threatening to run an initiative to create vouchers that divert public education dollars to unaccountable private schools. We’ll be sharing updates on this as we get them.

Get involved – add your voice

Lawmakers need our expertise and experience to craft good policy and they need our urging to prioritize our students’ needs. Be a part of the most powerful voice for education in our state!

Last year our voices made a huge difference — from winning an additional $371 million for Special Education to securing cost-of-living adjustments for K-12, higher education and retirees.

Our voice is our strength – let’s make sure lawmakers hear us.

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