Legislative Update for February 5, 2021

Roz Thompson, Governmental Relations & Advocacy Director, AWSP
Feb 05, 2021
leg update blog


Advocacy Efforts Continue

Each week of this session has brought a slew of new bills, ideas, and conversations related to education funding and policy. In addition, there is an incredible amount of new information each week related to health and safety practices for reopening schools released by OSPI, the Department of Health, and the Governor’s Office. Hang in there and know that you are not alone with this onslaught of information. Reach out if you have questions or need clarification on anything.

Thankfully, the first major cut-off date of this session is approaching and by February 15th, policy bills need to be passed out of their committees. This means the number of new bills being introduced each day is definitely slowing.

It is critical we make the effort to share our voices and perspectives with policymakers as many decisions in the Legislature still remain. To this end, we have dedicated next week, February 8–12, as our AWSP Advocacy Week. Instead of one “Day on the Hill”, we have a team of almost 50 principals across the state who are making time to meet with their legislators to talk about specific bills and needed policy changes. If you would like to get involved in our advocacy efforts, please reach out to me.

Here are some significant bills discussed this week in the House Education Committee:

  • HB 1363 related to support for staff experiencing secondary trauma,
  • HB 1450, which would provide computers and devices for students,
  • HB 1356 prohibits the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names, and
  • HB 1302 related to College in the High School program.

A big thank you to Jacqueline Downey, Principal at Evergreen High School in Highline Public Schools, for testifying about both our support for and concern with College in the High School programs.

HB 1426 also received a hearing and this bill states that to renew an administrator certificate on or after July 1, 2022, continuing education must meet the following requirements:

  • 10 percent must focus on equity-based school practices; 1
  • 0 percent must focus on the professional standards for education leaders, and 5 percent must focus on government-to-government relationships with indigenous communities.

This bill would also require that teachers focus 25 percent of their continuing education on equity-based school practices when they renew their certificates. We, along with the WEA, will ask that the date for this be pushed back to at least 2023. Thank you to Mike Smith, Principal at Rochester High School, for his work on this bill.

HB 1368 will move federal funds out to districts. This bill already passed out of the House and just yesterday passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. We hope the Senate moves to quickly pass this bill on to Governor Inslee for his signature.

Two other critical bills related to stable education funding are SB 5128, which addresses transportation funding, and HB 1476, which addresses enrollment funding (including important categorical programs like LAP, ELL, etc…). If you are engaging in advocacy activities, it is very important to mention these two bills to legislators and ask for their support in moving these bills forward.

Here are the bills being heard next week:


House

Education

  • HB 1396 | Increasing the number of US history and government credits required for graduation.
  • HB 1404 | Concerning programs for highly capable students–including two hours of annual professional development for principals and counselors and universal screening.
  • HB 1444 | Providing trauma-informed counseling and supports to students.
  • HB 1484 | Concerning the statewide first responder building mapping information systems.

Children, Youth & Families

  • HB 1451 | Concerning the entitlement date and definition of early childhood education and assistance program.

There are several specific concerns with this bill related to the workload and funding issues created by managing both ECEAP programs and transitional kindergarten programs in schools. We have brought these to the attention of legislators and OSPI and will continue working on this bill.


Senate

Early Learning & K–12 Education

  • SB 5386 | Concerning school district elections.
  • SJR 8204 | Amending the Constitution to allow 55 percent of voters voting to authorize school district bonds.

More Links


  • LU2021
  • Advocacy & Legislation

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