A new and easy way to make our voices heard
Taking Action in Olympia, Session Week 2
WEA launches the Digital Lobbying Team
Educators’ voices are critical to passing legislation that supports our students but often we’re in the classroom when it’s time to testify or lobby. WEA members can now make our voices heard in a way that fits our schedules in the Digital Lobbying Team. Members are taking selfie videos talking about key issues and submitting them to lobby for mental health supports or other priorities. Learn more here.
The DLT is one more option for speaking out, along with testifying, submitting written testimony, or signing in pro/con. Learn more about testifying here.
Take action! Coming up this week…
- Protect the freedom to teach truth. Opponents of truthful education want lawmakers to prescribe what we must teach and how we teach it in our classrooms. Sign in con here. HB1807
- Make sure leave is available during a pandemic. Create a pool of leave that can support those who exhaust their leave during a pandemic. HB 1992
- Make health corps student loan repayment available to nurse educators. Our school nurses should receive loan repayment as healthcare workers SB 5878
Calling for culturally responsive higher education
Our students learn best in environments that value and reflect their cultures. That’s why WEA members Kushlani de Soyza (Clark College AHE), Bevyn Rowland (Clark College AHE), and Sai Ramaswamy (Wenatchee Valley College AHE) spoke out in favor of HB 1840, a bill to improve equity, diversity, and access to culturally appropriate mental health supports at our community and technical colleges. The bill is scheduled for possible vote in the House Committee on College & Workforce Development on Thursday.
Bevyn Rowland, Faculty Counselor at Clark College, testified, "Culturally specific and responsive mental health services are a huge asset to attracting, supporting, and retaining a diverse student population; further, these needs of minoritized students are chronically under addressed on our campuses, and within our health care practitioner communities across the state."
Speaking out for fair bond levy votes
Our schools rely on additional funding from bond levies to keep our buildings safe and modern and to support key programs. That’s what WEA educators shared with the House Education Committee as they hosted a hearing on HJR 4200, legislation that would fix the super-majority 60% threshold for passing our school bond levies to a majority of 50%.
Monica Christensen, president of the Wenatchee Education Association, testified, “In 2018 we had a bond on the ballot to update Wenatchee High School. The bond only got 57% of the vote which means it didn’t pass and meant we couldn’t update the electrical, alarm, phone, technology, security, and HVAC systems.”
Advocating for ergonomic protections for custodians and warehouse staff
Custodians’ work takes a huge toll on our bodies and often there are simple ways to modify the ergonomics of the work that would ease the impact. Educators are advocating for HB 1837 to restore L&I’s ability to put in place and enforce ergonomic standards. The bill is scheduled for a possible vote Tuesday in the House Committee on Labor & Workplace Standards.
Chris Harris, a custodian and member of Selah ESP, testified before the committee, “The work I perform is arduous, repetitive, and hard on my body. There are ways to address safety and put less repetitive stress on our bodies and this bill is a step in the right direction.”
Also testifying this week…
Angela Withers (ESA Richland), Robert deGrouchy (Clover Park EA), John Mumma (Mt. Baker EA), LeeAnne Prielipp (WEA Retired), Mary Lindsay (WEA Retired)
Tracking our priorities
The Senate bill to increase funding for student mental health supports passed in committee and is now in Ways & Means… Retiree Plan 1 COLAs has already passed the House Approps and Senate Ways and Means Committees… the bill to delay the Long Term Care Insurance program (WA Cares) has passed the House and is scheduled for action in Senate Ways and Means early next week.