The last few days of 2023 session
Coming up this week – take action now!
With just two days left in the regular session, just a few final bills await passage and we’re waiting for the Conference Committee to reveal the final budget agreement.
- More than 700 of us emailed our legislators calling for the higher Senate levels of Special Education funding and more than 400 of us called for 100% funding for Community and Technical Colleges. The Senate passed an agreed upon version of the Special Education bill on Friday afternoon, which maintains the higher level of funding changes from their original bill. This is an indication that we will see the Senate funding level in the final budget. Other budget details will be revealed in the budget agreement at noon tomorrow (Saturday).
- While legislators passed a bill supporting a better approach to employment assessments for paraeducators, they didn’t address the urgent need for increased wages for all Education Support Professionals. Join us in saying thanks for supporting ESPs, and let’s ensure ESP raises in the next session.
Investments in students in the capital budget
Today the House and Senate released their compromise Capital Budget. The agreement includes historic investments for Housing and for K-12 school improvements and construction, as well as higher education, behavioral health and other core services. Nearly $700 million will be dedicated to housing with $570 of that targeted for affordable housing. $588 million will be made available for the School Construction Assistance Program, $100 million for small districts and tribal compact schools and $1.4 billion for construction projects at higher education campuses across the state.
What to expect as the 2023 session draws to a close
Sunday is Sine Die, the last day of the scheduled 2023 legislative session. Tomorrow (Saturday) at noon legislators will share their conference committee version of the biennial budget which both chambers can vote on after a 24-hour review period. We expect both chambers will approve the budget by the end of day on Sunday.
The legislature is also working to pass the final version of remaining bills. A few bills are still in conference committees or in dispute because the two chambers couldn’t agree on amendments. Those bills will need a final passage vote; if the bills don’t have final approval before session ends, they are considered dead.
The legislature has passed more than 100 bills which they then sent to the Governor for signature. The Governor has 20 days to sign bills that the legislature delivered to him in the last 5 days of session. He can sign a bill, veto part, or veto the entire bill. If he fails to take action on a bill before the deadline, it becomes law without a signature.
Are you a WEA-PAC member?
Whether you’re a WEA-PAC member ready to level up or joining for the first time, every WEA-PAC member plays a big part in ensuring we have a legislature that supports high-quality public education. As we look at what we won and what we could have won, it’s a great opportunity to join or level up your WEA-PAC membership. Together, we can keep making public education in Washington even better.
Updates on major bills
Signed into law by Governor Inslee this week
- The bill adding financial transparency to public four-year colleges (SSB 5512)
- The Safe at Work ergonomic protections bill (SB 5217)
Bills awaiting the Governor’s signature
- Free school meals for 600,000 of our 1,000,000 K-12 students (HB 1238)
- The bill providing privileged testimonial protection to communications between employees and their unions (HB 1187)
- The bill that exempts disclosure of personal information of state employees who are survivors of violence, assault, or harassment (HB 1533)
- HB 1200 to ensure public employers share basic employee contact information with unions
- The bill ensuring universal screening for highly capable students (SB 5072)
- The bill preventing musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (ESSB 5217) that would allow L&I to adopt ergonomic rules
- SB 5257 requiring 30 minutes of recess for elementary students
- Increasing access to PEBB retiree benefits for Plan 2 members (HB 1008)
- The bill creating oversight and accountability for charter schools (ESHB 1744)
- HB 1701, the bill about education in institutional settings
Awaiting final signatures from House Speaker or Senate President
- Providing a one-time 3% COLA for Plan 1 TRS/PERS retirees (SB 5350)
In conference committee resolving differences between the two chambers
- Increasing funding supports for Special Education (ESHB 1436)
- The Transitional Kindergarten bill (HB 1550)
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