2020 WA Legislative Session Weekly Digest – Week 2
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2020 WA Legislative Session Weekly Digest – Week 2

Hi, my name is Dave Mastin, I’m the
Executive Director of Government Relations for OSPI. This is the second of
our legislative weekly updates. We are in week two of the 2020 legislative
session. I’m here to give you an update on some of the main items that we’re
dealing with- they’re looking at. Of course in the first week of the session
there’s a lot of ceremony. We have the governor comes, he gives the State of the
State. We have- the judiciary comes, the Supreme Court comes, they talk about the
the state of the judiciary. And we also have this year, first time ever, a
female Speaker of the House. So elected Representative Jinkins from Tacoma is
the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. So that was a pretty
exciting moment for for those of us here in the legislative arena. It’s also the
week in which we get- the governor’s budget gets a hearing. The governor
develops a budget last year, and then this year there’s a supplemental budget.
And that supplemental budget receives a hearing in Ways and Means in the Senate
and in Appropriations in the House. The education piece of that budget for
this year is about $13.6 billion. It’s about a little over
half of the budget, 51% of all state funding goes to K-12, goes to public
education, and it’s about $13.6 billion for this year. And that was
heard- and I actually testified in support of the governor’s proposal. We
also are looking for a few additional funding in a couple of different areas, but we were supportive of what the governor started
out for the session. In this first week, there have been a lot of bill- new bills
introduced. We have some old bills from last year that didn’t pass. And a bill
that doesn’t pass in the first year of the biennium which was last year, well
it’s still alive this year and so we’re actually hearing those- some of those
bills again. But a lot of new bills swirling around. A couple areas that have
been really big are in early learning. And early learning is an area where
we’ve heard a lot of legislators talking about this is going to be a priority for
them, not only this year but looking into the future, and so we’re monitoring those bills, we’re making- paying attention to them.
But that’s kind of a big area that we’re seeing here. Another area’s in behavioral
health and there’s a lot of workgroups during the interim and then we got into
session, we just got done with a big workgroup. We’ve got a lot of different bills
focusing on behavioral health, both in public education and outside, and we know that dealing with social emotional issues are- are=there’s a lot outside of
school that needs to be done and looked at, but we also know in schools this is
an important component that- in fact, OSPI just recently finished our
Social Emotional Learning Standards. So in our state now, we actually have some
standards across the state, Social Emotional Learning Standards
which are really important as our schools grapple with this, as we grapple
all the students that need these extra support. And it reminds me to give a
shout out to Yakima School District. They’ve got in the
elementary level- they’ve got a social emotional curriculum called Mind
Up. And if you haven’t seen that, you should check it out. It’s a- it’s a pretty
good curriculum that they’ve implemented in the Yakima School District, in some
of the elementary schools there. So, in addition to early learning, in addition
to the social emotional behavioral health things that the Legislature is
looking at, we also have our dual credit bill. I mentioned it last week when I was
doing the legislative update. The dual credit bill, essentially what it
says is if you- if your- student your student’s in Running Start or in College
in the High School or is taking an IB, AP, Cambridge course and then takes the test
for college credit. So this is to both get high school credit and college
credit. Right now a lot of fees are paid by the families. So the parents and
families have to pay these fees. And, you know the problem is is this really puts
a barrier for some of our our lower income, our students that come from lower
income backgrounds, and even middle income families. And so this is an area
where it’s a barrier. In fact, we just did a big study on this and it shows that we
have a 20% gap between students who come from low-income background and students who do not, participating in this- these programs. So it means if your family has
more money, you’re more likely to be getting dual credit in college. Well
that’s wrong. And that shouldn’t be the case. And we have a bill this year that
says we’re stopping that, we’re not gonna have parents having to pay these fees. We
introduced it in the Senate this week, it received- we got every spons- every member of the Education Committee in the Senate signed on as co-sponsors, every single
one of them, so this is clearly bipartisan, clearly strong support for this proposal.
So we’ll be working that in the Senate and we’re also introducing it in the
House and we- right now we’re getting signatures in the House. Uh, real shout out to Representative Steve Bergquist in the House for the sponsor in the House and
Senator Mark Mullet who’s the sponsor in the Senate. Real shout out to them for
taking the lead on this important piece of legislation, gonna make a difference
for kids in our school system. With that I’ll close and and of course this is
going to be a weekly legislative update throughout the 2020 legislative session.
I thank you for- for tuning in and getting this update and I look forward
to talking about more education issues next week.

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