Washington Legislature Passes Halfway Point

This past week the Washington Legislature passed the halfway point in the 2013 legislative session. Bills, in both chambers, must have moved from their chamber of origin to the other chamber for consideration by 5:00 pm last Wednesday. The exception are any bills that are deemed by either chamber as Necessary to Implement the Budget (NTIB).

The next two and half weeks will be focused on moving bills through the opposite chamber and to the floor. The next major deadline is April 3, when all policy bills must have either been referred to the floor or to an appropriations committee for further consideration.

A number of higher education related bills are still in play. Among those pieces of legislation that will now be considered by the opposite chamber include:

Student Veterans

House Bill 1109 -Requires institutions of higher education that offer an early course registration period for any segment of the student population to offer early registration to students who are eligible veterans or National Guard members.  The bill has been referred to Senate Higher Education.

House Bill 1858 – Requires each public institution of higher education to adopt a policy to award academic credit for military training courses or programs before December 31, 2014, and submit the policy to the Prior Learning Assessment work group for evaluation. The bill has been referred to Senate Higher Education.

House Bill 5318 – Removes the one-year waiting period for veterans or active members of the military for purposes of eligibility for resident tuition. The bill is scheduled for executive session in House Higher Education.

House Bill 5343 – Requires institutions of higher education to provide make-up classes, exams, or other make-up events to National Guard members or other military reservists called to active duty or training for 30 days or less without prejudice to the final course grade or evaluation. The bill was passed out of committee by House Higher Education.

Efficiencies

House Bill 1769 – Increases the threshold for minor works projects from $2 million to $5 million for higher education institutions. Increases the threshold for predesign requirements for major construction works from $5 million to $10 million for higher education institutions. The bill was referred to Senate Ways & Means.

House Bill 1736 – Requires comprehensive review of reporting requirements related to state energy code building standards, high-performance public buildings, motor vehicle transportation services, air contaminants, and greenhouse gas emissions. Allows institutions of higher education and state higher education agencies to use or accept secure electronic signatures for any human resource, benefits, or payroll process that requires a signature. Permits the Student Achievement Council (Council) to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements with other state or multistate entities if the agreements are consistent with Washington law concerning degree-granting institutions. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing in Senate Higher Education.

Other

House Bill 1043 – Removes the authority for public baccalaureate institutions to set differential tuition rates for resident, undergraduate programs. Removes the authority for the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to pilot or institute differential tuition models for resident,undergraduate program. The bill was referred to Senate Higher Education.

House Bill 1331 – Permits a student association at public baccalaureate to form a student advisory committee to advise the administration at that institution on issues that affect student access and success, such as tuition and fee levels. Requires administrators at higher education institutions to make information available to the student advisory committee and allow the committee to present recommendations. Requires the student advi sory committee to solicit feedback from students and keep students informed of their meetings. The bill was referred to Senate Higher Education.

House Bill 1544/Senate Bill 5559 – Authorizes educational specialist degrees at Central Washington University, Western Washington University and The Evergreen State College. The house bill is scheduled for a public hearing in Senate Higher Education. The senate bill is scheduled for executive session in House Higher Education.

House Bill 1669- When a decision is being considered to change a degree program that is supported by state funding to a self-supporting, fee-based program, a public baccalaureate institution must: publicly notify prospective students, including notification in admission offers, with an estimate of tuition and fees; provide at least six months’ notification to enrolled students and undergraduate or graduate student government associations; and allow students currently enrolled in the program that is changing to a self-supportingprogram to continue in the state-supported program structure for a consecutive amount of time no greater than four years. Each public baccalaureate institution must establish or designate a committee comprised of administrators, faculty, and students to evaluate a proposed shift from a state-funded degree program to a self-supporting, fee-based program. A public hearing was held in Senate Higher Education on the bill.

House Bill 1817 (Dream Act) – Adds eligibility for the State Need Grant for individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status that meet a certain criteria. Adds eligibility for the State Need Grand for students who qualify under the fifth resident student definition. The bill was referred to Senate Higher Education.

House Bill 1843 – Requires the Office of Student Financial Assistance within the Washington Student Achievement Council to monitor compliance of institutions of higher education with financial aid program rules and regulations and evaluate continued participation based on performance. The bill was referred to Senate Higher Education.

Senate Bill 5180 – Creates a 29-member legislative task force charged with improving access to higher education for students with disabilities. Requires the task force to make recommendations to the Legislature each December from 2013 to 2015. The bill is scheduled for executive session in House Higher Education.

Senate Bill 5195 – Allows nonprofit institutions recognized by the state of Washington to be eligible to participate in the state need grant program. The bill was referred to House Higher Education.

 

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