Mar 4, 2019 is the 49th day of the 105 day legislative session. Last week legislators heard dozens of bills before last Friday’s fiscal committee cutoff. The House Appropriations Committee heard nearly 30 bills on both Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday scheduled a hearing on another 47 bills. Most days the hearings began at 1:30 am and went past 8 pm. On Thursday they started at 10 am and held the committee hearing until after Midnight. Needless to say legislators, staff, and lobbyists are exhausted but still gearing up for this week’s movement to floor action. There are no hearings scheduled this week because both chambers will hold floor action for the next week and a half to pass bills out of their “chamber of origin” in time for the deadline to move forward in the opposite chamber. Many of hundreds of bills introduced to date will die along the way.

School Safety

The AESD safety bill passed the House on Thursday, March 7 with a vote of 84 to 13. It now moves to the Senate for consideration. AESD priority bill HB 1216 as well as its Senate companion, SB 5317, are both in the Rules Committees and are waiting to be scheduled for full floor action.

School Employees Benefits (SEB)

HB 2096 was heard last week in House Appropriations.  The bill proposes delaying the implementation of SEBB for all ESD’s until 2024, but including represented ESD employees with the initial 2020 rollout. The Appropriations Committee has not yet moved the bill forward because it is “necessary to implement the budget” or NTIB.  Should the legislature move forward in funding SEB I anticipate the bill will move around that time.

Climate Science

SB 5576 dead for the session. We are asking the Ways and Means Chair to include funding in the budget for on-going professional development.

Computer Science

SB 5088 eligible for full Senate floor vote. Authorizes school districts, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, to award academic credit to students for computer science based on student completion of a competency examination. Requires a school district that operates a high school to, beginning no later than the 2022-2023 school year, provide an opportunity to access an elective computer science course that is available to all students. Passed Ways and Means and is in the Rules Committee.

Career Connected Learning

Senate bill eligible for full floor vote.  House bill is dead for the session. The AESD supported HB 1336 in public hearing. This policy comes at the request of Governor Inslee. If passed the policy: Creates a multi-agency work group to coordinate career connected learning (CCL) opportunities, collect data, provide recommendations, and perform other duties; Creates a competitive grant program to support regional networks and program intermediaries in expanding CCL opportunities; Requires school districts to be funded up to 1.2 full-time equivalents for students in certain CCL programs; Requires the institutions of higher education to have CCL coordinators to engage faculty and institutional leadership in expanding the number of certain CCL programs.

Important Deadline

March 13th is when bills must pass out of their house of origin.