Last Major Deadline Passes, Now Its Budget Time

On Wednesday the Legislature passed the last major deadline prior to Sine Die. As of 5:00 p.m. on April 17 all bills must have passed the opposite chamber in which they were introduced. The exception are those bills that are deemed NTIB.

Both the Senate and the House worked steadily this week towards this deadline moving hundreds of bills through the process. Some of these bills will now go back to their chamber of origin for concurrence if the bills were amended in the opposite chamber. Other bills, those that were not amended, will now be delivered to the Governor for his consideration.

This includes a handful of higher education related bills.

Bills for Concurrence

HB 1645 – Adds one public member to the Higher Education Facilities Authority.

HB 1736 -Directs the Office of Financial Management to work with institutions of higher education, the Department of Enterprise Services, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Transportation to review the reporting requirements of institutions of higher education with the purpose of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, and report recommendations by December 1, 2013. Permits institutions of higher education and state higher education agencies to use or accept electronic signatures, as defined, for any human resource, benefits, or payroll processes that require a signature. Permits the Washington Student Achievement Council to negotiate and enter into interstate reciprocity agreements with other state or multistate entities regarding the operations of degree-granting institutions in the state. Permits the Washington Student Achievement Council to enter into certain agreements for the purposes of ensuring consistent.

Bills Delivered to the Governor

SB 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.

SB 5195 -Allows a nonprofit institution recognized by Washington to be eligible to participate in the State Need Grant program, effective August 1, 2013.

SB 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.

SB 5559 -Authorizes Central Washington University, The Evergreen State College, and Western Washington University to offer Educational Specialist degree.

HB 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.

Next Steps
The 2013 regular legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight on April 28. Between now and then both chambers will be working to move bills through to the Governors desk. In addition, the focus will increase around budget negotiations as the Senate, House and Governor work towards a final biennial operating and capital budget.

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