Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bills still standing after first round of cut-offs

Bills that survived the first cut-off on Friday, Feb. 22 to pass out of policy committees have until Friday, March 1 to clear fiscal committees. Bills have until Wednesday, March 13, to be sent to the opposite chamber to start the whole process all over again.

Next week’s edition will include a round-up of bills of significant impact to community and technical colleges that survive Friday’s fiscal cut-off.

Bill status

See pages 1-5 for bills of significant interest to community and technical colleges that survived the February 22 cut-off. The bills are paired with their companions and their last known location is provided.
See pages 5-6 for bills that did not survive cut-off.

Budget bills and bills considered "necessary to implement the budget" are exempt from these early cut-off deadlines. As always, parts of any bills can be revived and reintroduced in amendments.

Amended efficiency bill gets hearing

On Monday, the House Capital Budget Committee heard House Bill 1769 with two key amendments:
● Section 1 increases the threshold for predesign from $5 million to $10 million and increases the maximum value for a minor work project from $2 million to $5 million, for higher education.
● Removed Sections 2 and 3, which would have authorized colleges to use Certificates of Participation (COP) without additional legislative approval.

Nancy McKinney, South Puget Sound Community College vice president for administrative services, spoke in favor of the bill without the amendment removing COP authority for schools.
She explained that colleges often use Certificates of Participation (COP) to finance construction projects for which the debt can be covered with local funds.

“Under current law, the Legislature must authorize these COPs, even if the college has sufficient revenue to cover the debt service,” she said.
She explained that projects are still put out to bid, even when COP-funded.

The colleges would use the proposed authority to deliver self-supported and locally-funded programs sooner, with oversight of college boards and the State Treasurer's Office.
“The requirement for legislative approval can postpone construction for a year or more, impacting our ability to meet the demands of students and employers,” she said. “For colleges to be responsive to business and training needs, a year is a long time.”