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Next Week in Olympia

01/07/2018
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Capitol from the sky
Week of January 8

The legislature convenes Monday and WEA is hosting a Day of Unity on Wednesday to spotlight how our 2018 legislative Unity Agenda reflects the diversity of our membership and focuses on the needs of our students.

WEA represents over 92,000 K-12 certificated educators, classified education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, retired educators and aspiring educators. All of us are united in our commitments to our students and profession.  

About 100 members will gather on Wednesday to meet with legislators to inform them about our agenda and to identify lawmakers who support our efforts, which ones need more information or those who won’t commit. We’ll use this information to grow support for each bill as the session progresses. 

If you can’t be in Olympia, you still have opportunities to make your voice heard. Email your legislators and urge them to support Governor Inslee’s education funding proposals. Many locals are also hosting post card parties and other events in their local communities for those who can’t travel to Olympia. Check with your local to see if they are taking action.

Some bills supporting the Unity Agenda were pre-filed before session began (see below). We will keep you posted as others are introduced. 

United for Higher Education Employees

Provide full and equal collective bargaining rights for community and technical college faculty.

SB 5993 - would modify the collective bargaining law to authorize providing additional compensation to academic employees at community and technical colleges. It will have a public hearing on Monday, January 15 at 1:30 in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. Contact Wendy Rader-Konofalski if you’d like to testify.  

HB 1237  - is the House version of the bill to provide equal bargaining rights for faculty at community and technical colleges. 

Send a message to your legislators urging them to support full scope bargaining for CC/TC faculty. 

United for K-12 Classified and Certificated Employees
Fix the flawed 2017 education funding plan, including raising the levy lid, improving the staff funding formula and passing a school construction budget.

ESHB 1075  - Capital budget 
No other bills filed yet. 

United for our Students
Support the rights of all students to a quality public education, regardless of family background or immigration status, including safe schools legislation and protecting financial aid for undocumented students. 

SB 5689  - would establish a statewide policy supporting Washington state's economy and immigrants' role in the workplace. The Senate will hear the bill this Wednesday. 

United for Aspiring Educators

Approve student loan forgiveness 

HB 1827 - is a multi-subject bill that proposes increasing scholarship opportunities and loan forgiveness for teachers. The House will hear this bill on Wednesday. 

United for Retired Educators
Restore cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Plan 1 retirees, increase health care subsidy for all.

HB 2323 would address COLAS for Plan 1 TRS and PERS retirees

The Week Ahead
Schedules are subject to change, and as of now here is a preview of expected activity on topics we are watching as the session begins. 

Monday 
The House Education Committee is holding a work session on Washington’s ESSA plan implementation. 

The House Appropriations Committee is holding a work session and public hearing on the Governor’s supplemental budget, which includes an additional $950 million for salaries this year. If necessary, the hearing will be continued on Wednesday. Read more here.

Tuesday 
House Higher Education is holding a hearing on 2SHB 1168 to increase full time faculty at community and technical colleges. This version of the bill is a much more modest proposal than previous versions, with far fewer part-time to full-time conversions. WEA still supports increasing the number of full time faculty, and of course our top priority for community and technical colleges this year is full bargaining rights for faculty. 

The House Education Committee is hearing HB 1827 relating to expanding the current and future educator workforce supply. This is a multi-subject bill with various means of recruiting and retaining educators. Specifically, it addresses a Unity Agenda priority to strengthening the loan forgiveness program for teachers.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee will have a public hearing on the Governor’s supplemental operating budget. Read more here

Wednesday  

The Capital Budget Committee is hosting an Executive Session on the capital budget, ESHB 1075

Senate Labor and Commerce is holding a hearing on SB 5689  one of our Unity Agenda priorities. It would establish a statewide policy supporting the state’s economy and immigrant’s role in the workplace. This bill highlights protections for undocumented students in K-12 and higher ed while they are at school or college.

The House Higher Education Committee is holding a hearing on 2SHB 1488 to expand scholarship opportunities to all higher ed students. 

Thursday
Senate Higher Education Committee is holding a hearing on SB 5074 to align eligibility for the college bound scholarship and the state need grant programs, similar to 2SHB 1488 in the House. (see above). 
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