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Taking Action in Olympia - Session Opening Day Edition

01/11/2021
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Representative Jesse Johnson (D-30), a newly-elected WEA member, offers his welcome to our 2021 legislative session:

Our Washington state legislative session begins today, January 11, with one in-person day before both chambers continue their business remotely.  The great thing is it makes it easier for WEA members around the state to talk with legislators and participate in hearings because we can do it from home.

This week brings swearing-in ceremonies on Monday and the Governor’s State of the State address on Wednesday.  As usual, you can watch the proceedings on TVW.  Also recently released is the report of the Tax Structure Work Group, which looks at new ways to create a more fair tax system for our state, including exploring options for raising revenue.

Sign up now for lobby day

The most compelling arguments we can make for educational funding, equity, and safety come from the stories we have from our classrooms and our work.  That’s why WEA members are logging on for our Virtual Lobby Day on Monday, January 18, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Together we’ll hear from our WEA leaders and expert lobbying staff and then meet virtually with our lawmakers to share our experiences.  Sign up now to make sure your voice is heard!

Get to know our 2021 legislative priorities

2020-2021 has been a school year like no other.  To reflect our pandemic times, our legislative priorities this year focus primarily on educational funding, equity, and safety.  Read our legislative priorities passed by our elected WEA Board of Directors here.

Sign the petition for progressive revenue

From serious illness to job loss, families and students across our state are hurting. Times are tough for almost everyone.  Instead of cutting the services we depend on and jobs we need, we’re asking legislators to invest in schools, families, and communities. Take a moment to sign the petition for progressive revenue.

Bills coming up this week

Links to the live TVW broadcasts of these hearings: House side, Senate side

Fully fund schools

·         Governor Inslee’s proposed state budgets, which include K-12 and higher education. WEA President Larry Delaney will be testifying in opposition to the education funding reductions proposed by the Governor in K-12 and higher education.    WEA opposes any cuts to education in this time of changing student needs.  It takes more resources, not less to meet the needs of students during a pandemic, especially schools in communities that have been historically underfunded.

  • Senate operating budget bills, SB 5092, SB 5091. The Senate Ways and Means Committee is hearing the budgets on Tuesday at 4pm.
  • House operating budget bills, HB 1094, HB 1093.  House Appropriations will hear the budget on Thursday at 3:30pm. 

·         Capital gains proposal – HB 1095   WEA supports a more equitable tax structure to ensure that education is fully funded. House Finance will hear the bill Thursday at 8am.  Take a moment to sign the petition for progressive revenue.   

Improve equity, dismantle racism, meet the needs of all students

·         Professional development on equity, cultural competency, and dismantling racism – SB 5044 – This is a WEA priority bill that would forward racial equity in our schools by ensuring that every educator has an understanding of equity issues.  Hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee on Wednesday at 10:30am.

·         Eliminate the EdTPA – HB 1028 – The EdTPA is a barrier to creating a more diverse and inclusive educator workforce and it’s a WEA priority to eliminate the EdTPA requirement and replace it with rigorous standards for student teachers to demonstrate skills in the classroom.  Heard Friday at 10am in the House Education committee.

·         Make Juneteenth a holiday – HB 1016.  This bill recognizes the importance of June 19th, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved Americans. Read more about Juneteenth.  Heard Wednesday at 8am in the House State Government committee.

Ensure school safety

·         Ensure counselors have time for students – SB 5030 – This bill would require that school counselors spend 80% of their time with students, reducing the amount of time on meetings and administration.  WEA supports meeting the need for increased staffing whether in remote, hybrid, or in-person learning models.  Students need individual attention for their learning and social-emotional needs in this challenging environment and schools need more staff, not less. Hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee on Wednesday at 10:30am.   

 

Follow WEA OurVoice to get the latest from Olympia

  1. Text OURVOICE to 41411 to get regular legislative and election updates by text message
  2. Visit WashingtonEA.org/OurVoice and subscribe to the OurVoice blog
  3. Download the We Are WEA smartphone app on Google Play or the App Store and check out the OurVoice political action section! 
  4. Like and follow OurVoice on Facebook at facebook.com/OurVoiceWEA/
  5. Post using the hashtags #WaEdu and #WaLeg (hashtags explained here)
  6. Call your legislator's office! Need your legislator's contact information? Find it here!  
  7. Call the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000 and leave a message for your lawmakers.
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