Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Legislature hits halfway mark, bills moving

Today marks day 52 — the halfway point of this 105-day session — as several bills of interest live on for consideration in committee hearings and floor votes.

Bills still standing after cut-off

The following bills survived the first policy and budget cut-offs and await possible action on their respective floors. Budget bills and bills considered "necessary to implement the budget" (labeled *NTIB) are exempt from early cut-off deadlines. The status of bills of interest to community and technical colleges are listed below. For more detail on each bill, visit


2013-2015 capital budget

HB 1089 (Dunshee) and SB 5035 (Honeyford) funds all requested minor work, designs, and seven (of eight) major construction projects. (*NTIB)
In House Capital Budget Committee. SB 5035 in Senate Ways and Means.

Concerning higher education operating efficiencies (non-capital regulatory relief)

HB 1736 (Zeiger) and SB 5736 (Bailey) require OFM to work with the Department of Enterprise Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, colleges and universities, and others to make recommendations for coordinating and streamlining various reporting requirements. Allows institutions of higher education and state higher education agencies to use or accept electronic signatures.
Authorizes the Washington Student Achievement Council to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements to simplify the process for delivering online education to students in another state. Currently, each college must enter into an agreement with every state in which it has even one student enrolled, which creates a heavy workload.
HB 1736 passed House; referred to Senate Higher Education. SB 5736 is in Senate Rules awaiting a vote.

Creating efficiencies for institutions of higher education (capital regulatory relief)

SHB 1769 (Stonier) increases the threshold for a 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. The bill keeps the current requirement for the Legislature to approve Certificates of Participation (COPs).
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Providing a funding source to improve education (capital gains tax)

SB 5738 (Murray) creates a capital gains tax to fund K-12 and higher education. If signed into law, the bill will go before the public for a vote. (*NTIB)
In Senate Ways and Means.

Educational programs

Inmate postsecondary education degree programs

SHB 1429 (Seaquist) would allow the Department of Corrections to fund college degree programs in prison. Current law allows the department to offer adult basic education and vocational training only.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Initiatives to improve and expand access to computer science education

SHB 1472 (Hansen) creates a grant program to support computer science professionals co-teaching high school computer science courses, if funds are appropriated. Directs the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to convene a task force to develop a plan for increasing the number of high school and college graduates who enter the workforce or continue their education in computer science.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

GED alternative

SHB 1686 (Seaquist) replaces the trademarked term “General Educational Development (GED)” with “high school equivalency certificate” in statute to allow greater flexibility in testing. Adds the requirement that SBCTC must identify and accept a high school equivalency test that is comparable in rigor to the GED, and must include testing in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. The Senate companion, SB 5646, also replaces the term “GED” but does not identify the additional requirements.
Both bills are in their respective Rules committees awaiting a vote.

Providing for awarding academic credit for military training

SHB 1858 (McCoy) requires colleges and universities to adopt a policy by December 31, 2014, to award academic credit to an enrolled student who has successfully completed any military training course or program as part of his or her military service.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

STEM governor request

SHB 1872(Maxwell) and SSB 5755 (Litzow) establish a comprehensive initiative to increase learning opportunities and improve educational outcomes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through multiple strategies and statewide partnerships.
Both bills are in their respective Rules committees awaiting a vote.

Aligning high-demand secondary STEM or career and technical education programs with applied BA programs

SSB 5624 (McAuliffe) requires OSPI to hire a statewide director of math, science, and technology to work with CTCs to develop high-demand applied baccalaureate programs that align with high school STEM and CTE programs.Requires SBCTC to select colleges to develop and offer two programs that meet the bill’s requirements. Makes legislation dependent on funding.
In Senate Rules awaiting a vote.

College employment

Collective bargaining

HB 1348 (Reykdal) requires trustees to provide step increases or increments to full- and part-time faculty as they are negotiated in local agreements, even if the amount exceeds the compensation provided by the Legislature in the state budget.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.


Boards of Trustees member composition

SHB 1536 (Seaquist) requires community college boards of trustees to include at least one member from labor and one member from business.
Passed House; referred to Senate Higher Education.

Student services

Early registration for military

HB 1109 (Hansen) requires colleges to have a process in place, beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, to offer students who are eligible veterans or National Guard members early course registration.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Improving access to higher education for students with disabilities

SSB 5180 (Shin) establishes a legislative task force on improving access to higher education for students with disabilities.
Passed Senate; referred to House Higher Education.

Encouraging colleges to use, and inform students of the use of, multiple measures to determine the need for a precollege course

SB 5712 (Kohl-Welles) requires SBCTC to encourage colleges to use multiple measures to determine whether a student must enroll in a pre-college course including, but not limited to, placement tests, the SAT, high school transcripts, college transcripts, or initial class performance. Also requires colleges to post all available options for course placement on websites and admissions materials.
Passed Senate; waiting to be referred to a House committee.

Tuition and financial aid

Resident tuition for military

HB 1011 (Appleton) removes the one-year waiting period for veterans or active members of the military to qualify for resident tuition.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Differential tuition

HB 1043 (Seaquist) removes the authority for SBCTC to pilot or institute differential tuition. (Authority was initially provided during the 2011 session and was suspended for the 2011-13 biennium during the 2012 session.) Removes the authority of four-year schools to charge differential tuition for undergraduate students.
Passed House; referred to Senate Higher Education.

Adding eligibility criteria for higher education financial aid

HB 1817 (Hudgins) allows undocumented students who have been granted a special immigration status known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” to apply for the State Need Grant – provided they also meet other state residency requirements.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Workforce, economic development

Job Skills Program

2SSB 5560 (Bailey) modifies the Job Skills Program (JSP) by exempting small businesses from providing a dollar-for-dollar match for training and changes priority criteria for awarding program funds; amended to remove the use of dedicated account.
In Senate Rules awaiting a vote.

2-year tuition freeze at CTCs

SB 5673 (Kohl-Welles) freezes tuition for the 2013-15 biennium at CTCs if the state appropriates $180 million in new money for the system. (*NTIB)
In Senate Ways and Means.

Key dates on the horizon

House of Origin cut-off – Wednesday, March 13

Both the Senate and House are working toward the House of Origin cutoff at 5 p.m. Wednesday. This is the last day to pass bills that were introduced in their original chamber.

Caseload Forecast – Thursday, March 14

The Caseload Forecast Council forecasts the entitlement caseloads for the State of Washington. The council meets several times a year to adopt official forecasts that are used for budget purposes.

Revenue Forecast – Wednesday, March 20

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council must approve the official forecasts by an affirmative vote of at least four members. Revenue forecasts are submitted to the governor and Legislature. The forecast is nonpartisan and is used in budget preparation.