The budgets are coming
Coming up this week – take action now!
- Increased funding for Special Education (SB 5311) is scheduled for exec session on Tuesday in the House Committee on Education. It’s the best bill right now to increase Special Education funding, though we want it to do more. Email your Representatives now!
- The bill that exempts disclosure of personal information of state employees who are survivors of violence, assault, or harassment (HB 1533) is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday and exec on Friday in the Senate Committee on State Government & Elections. Sign in PRO.
- The bill to provide privileged protection to communications between employees and their unions (HB 1187) is scheduled for hearing in Senate Committee on Law & Justice on Thursday. Sign in PRO.
- The bill setting policies for school library programs (SSB 5102) is scheduled for hearing in the House Committee on Education on Tuesday. Sign in PRO.
- A bill creating oversight and accountability for charter schools (ESHB 1744) has a hearing on Wednesday in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education. Sign in PRO.
- Have you attended your town hall? Don’t miss your opportunity to advocate for Special Education funding and raises for educators (especially adjunct faculty and ESPs). Check the schedule and make your voice heard.
If you’re interested in testifying on these bills, please contact WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.
WEA members who testified this week
Debby Chandler (Spokane EA) on work safety standards; Karl Gapuz (Seattle EA) on teacher residencies and early career supports; Jen Ligot (Northshore EA) on media literacy and digital citizenship education; Juliana Moreno (Renton EA) on school meals at no cost; Justin Raines (Montesano EA) on inclusive learning standards and materials;
If you provided testimony before the legislature, we’d like to do a shout-out about you! Please contact WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.
Senate budget likely to come next week; House budget expected a week from Monday
Our state budget is a demonstration of our priorities and it’s critical that educators’ voices help shape it to support our students. From Special Education to COLAs to higher education funding, WEA members will be watching closely and making sure lawmakers hear what we need.
Monday we’ll hear the latest economic forecast from the state. This is a snapshot of the revenue the state expects given our current economy and our very broken and unfair tax system. Equally important to what the forecast says is what it doesn’t say – that we could have more adequate, steady revenue to support public education and other vital services if we taxed the rich.
The Senate is expected to release its draft budget on Thursday, March 23, with a hearing in Ways & Means on Friday. WEA President Larry Delaney will testify and raise educators’ budget priorities. The House budget is expected a week from Monday on March 27 with a hearing that week.
Both chambers will debate their versions and the budgets must pass out of Ways & Means/Appropriations and then the chamber floor. Following passage, a conference committee of Senators and Representatives come together to negotiate through differences between the two versions. Finally, both chambers must again vote to pass the final agreement.
Updates on major bills
- Free school meals for K-12 students (HB 1238) would allow our state to feed free meals to about 600,000 of our state’s 1,000,000 K-12 students. It had a hearing Thursday and is scheduled for exec on Monday in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education.
- The bill establishing minimum employment requirements for paraeducators (HB 1015) is passed in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on Monday and now awaits scheduling for a floor vote.
- Increasing access to PEBB retiree benefits for Plan 2 members (HB 1008) passed in Ways & Means on Monday and now awaits a Senate floor vote.
- The bill requiring inclusive learning standards and materials (SB 5462) is scheduled for exec session in the House Committee on Education on Thursday.
- The bill enhancing media literacy and digital citizenship in schools (SSB 5626) is scheduled for exec session in the House Education on Monday.
- The isolation and restraint bill (HB 1479) is scheduled for hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on Monday.
- The Transitional Kindergarten bill (HB 1550) is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on Wednesday.
- Getting injured at work is all too common, particularly for ESPs like custodians and maintenance staff. That’s why we support the safe at work bill preventing musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (ESSB 5217). This bill would allow L&I to adopt ergonomic rules. It passed on Friday in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee.
- SB 5257 ensuring a minimum of 30 minutes of recess for elementary students and prohibiting and discouraging the use of recess or other physical movement as punishment is out of Rules as of today (Friday) and is likely to have a floor vote next week.
- Universal screening for highly capable students (SB 5072) also awaits scheduling for House floor action.
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