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This Week in Olympia

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Week of March 20

Join our Thunderclap.  

Thunderclap is a tool that allows us to send the same message out from thousands of people at the same time on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. It creates a “thunderclap” of attention, in our case, for education funding.

April 4 – that’s the day that contempt fines against the legislature will hit $60 million. We are encouraging everyone to join our Thunderclap to post the same message as the same time on April 4.

  • #WALeg just hit $60 MILLION in contempt fines. Lawmakers: Do your job. Fully Fund Public Education NOW!  #waedu

All you need to do is follow this link,

Choose to send on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. You can do one or all three. Simply click on the appropriate box (about ½ way down the page.)

The box opens. On Facebook, you have the option of adding your own message. Otherwise, you just click “Add my support.” Then you are done!

We need 500 people to sign up. If each of them has 100 friends our message will automatically appear on 50,000 sites at the same time!

Last week

Senate passes punitive and reckless budget

The big news out of last week was that the Senate introduced and passed its budget proposal, along party lines. As expected, the Senate Republican plan for education does more harm than good.

WEA President Kim Mead testified against their plan, noting that “The Senate budget fails to keep our Constitutional promise to our children, and it does not comply with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.”

SB 5891 delays the use of the High School science assessment (see below). The Senate did this to save money.

SB 5901 Early child education eligibility – This bill would delay the phase-in of the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) entitlement from school year 20-21 to school year 22-23.  The Senate Republicans also eliminate funding for three year-old students participating in ECEAP to save money and focus the current funding to four-year old students.

SB 5902 Higher Education STEM enrollments – This bill requires that seventy percent of new enrollments at the institutions of higher education  must be in degree programs related to STEM.

Bargainers converge on Olympia

Bargaining teams from 25 locals came to Olympia this week to encourage their lawmakers to support collective bargaining - and to oppose Senate proposals that puts limits on our rights to negotiate with our employers the school districts.


On Monday, the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee heard SHB 1046, the full delink bill which had passed out of the House 92 - 6.  Supporters from all over the state weighed in at the Senate hearing. The bill did not pass out of the Senate Education Committee, however. 

The Senate passed SB 5891. It would temporarily delink the biology end-of-course test as a graduation requirement till 2021 when the Next Generation Science exam takes its place. The savings for this partial delink have been included in the Senate budget.  We expect the cost savings for the full delink in SHB 1046 to be in the House Budget, thus keeping the issue in play throughout the session. 

Higher Ed (two year)

On Wednesday, the bill to allow our community and technical college faculty to bargain salaries at the local level, EHB 1237, was given a hearing in the Senate Commerce, Labor, and Sports Committee.  It has not yet been scheduled for a vote out of committee.

Next week

House budget and finance plans

The House is expected to introduce its budget, hold a public hearing and pass it off the floor this week. The House will also reveal its finance package to fund the budget. Watch for a complete analysis after the packages are introduced.

Once the House passes its budget, it sets the stage for negotiations between the chambers and the governor’s office. However, the partisan ranker is high this year, and no one is expecting quick action.

Higher Education (two year)

On Tuesday, the Senate Higher Ed committee will have a public hearing on 2SHB 1168 to increase full-time faculty in two year colleges. This plan, as amended, is not as robust as the original version, but it would provide a gradual ramp up of the number of full time positions. WEA supports because it moves in the right direction.


The House Education Committee will vote on SB 5070, which deals with paraeducator licensure and training. The House Committee will amend it to the version we support, which provides funds professional development for paraeducators.  

School Nurses

The House Education Committee may be voting on SB 5325 on Tuesday. This bill clarifies the authority of the school nurse. WEA supports the bill.

It’s policy cut-off next week. Any bill not approved by the second chamber is considered dead for the year. Unless it is deemed “Necessary to Implement the Budget,” which many education bills are. 

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