This Week in Olympia
Week of April 8
Watch and listen – WEA has a radio ad up this week, which we also posted to Facebook, encouraging lawmakers to restore levy flexibility so districts can give students what they need beyond a state-funded basic education, including extra teachers, instructional assistants, arts, music, athletics, nurses, mental health professionals and more.
It’s not too late to tell your lawmakers to support levy flexibility -- email your legislators here!
This Week in Olympia
This week was a fiscal cut-off deadline in the Legislature, meaning bills had to pass out of the non-originating chamber’s fiscal committee to remain alive. Exceptions are bills the Legislature deems necessary to implement the budget.
Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1599 passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee this week. It would remove high-stakes tests as a barrier to graduation, although students would still have to take the test. The bill provides other pathways to graduation. HB 1089 was a more straightforward delink bill that WEA supported but it did not advance out of the Senate.
ESHB 1130 (SB 5606) promotes language access in public schools It passed the Senate today.
SSB 5023, ethnic studies legislation. Amended and passed out of the House.This bill needs to go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote.
HB 2108 would have delayed the requirement for school districts to comply with the K-3 class size reductions until 2020-21, but it failed to survive cutoff. It could be revived as part of the final state budget.
2SSB 5082 creates a committee to promote and expand social emotional learning. It passed off the House floor. It now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote and then to the Governor’s desk!
SSB 5689 would provide anti-harassment protections for transgender students and for teachers using age appropriate LGBTQ curriculum directly tied to their content area. It has passed both chambers and is advancing to the Governor’s desk for his signature after returning to the Senate for a vote of concurrence.
E2SSB 5091, special education funding. This bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee and moves to the House floor next.
SSB 5532 dealt with special education but it was not voted on in House Appropriations and is dead.
SHB 2140 is the House levy bill that would restore local levy flexibility by allowing districts the choice to move back to the well-known percentage-based levy model or stay with a per pupil limit of $3,000. This bill initially included a reduction of paraeducator training and changes to the special education excess cost multiplier. The House responded to the Senate’s actions last week by stripping these items from this bill and passing a “clean levy” bill out of the House Appropriations committee Saturday on a party-line vote.
2SSB 5313 is the Senate levy bill, which WEA members opposed with great force after an amendment was added that would cut teacher pay and restrict bargaining rights in the middle of the night. It is possible the Senate may vote on a different version of this specific bill.
E2SHB 1139 would expand current and future educator workforce supply, including provisions that would allow retirees to return to work without harming their pension. It was amended in the Senate policy and fiscal committees and likely will go to the Senate floor for a vote next week.
SHB 1264 would help address secondary traumatic stress in public school staff. It died in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
SHB 1658 concerns paraeducator training and certification. This policy bill offers districts more flexibility as to when the required 4-days of training must be offered during the school year beginning in the 2019-20 school year.
SHB 1575 strengthens workers’ collective bargaining and union rights. It could pass the Senate soon.
SHB 1621 removes the requirement that potential teachers pass a basic skills test before entering their teacher prep college program. It has passed the House and Senate.
ESHB 1355 creates staffing standards and ratios for counselors in community and technical colleges has passed out of the House and Senate and is expected to be signed by the Governor.
E2SHB 1139, the educator shortage bill, includes provisions that would allow certain early retirees to return to work under the same rules as all other retirees. This bill has passed the House and is currently waiting for a vote in the Senate.
ESHB 1308 and SB 5360, the Plan 2 default bills, are both alive and awaiting votes in the House and Senate.
HB 1390, Plan 1 COLA, is waiting to be scheduled for a floor vote. Because this bill is funded in the House budget, it could still move.