This afternoon the Senate Higher Education Committee met and took action on several bills. This marks the last committee session prior to the policy cut-off on Friday in the Senate.
The Committee advanced a number of gubernatorial appointments to public, higher education four- and two-year institutions.
In addition the Committee focused considerable amount of time on advancing legislation either to Senate Ways & Means or the Senate floor for further consideration. Among the legislation advanced included requiring the display of branch campus information on the statewide public four-year dashboard (SB 6482) and creating a work group to make recommendations for the continued viability of the college bound scholarship program (SB 6436).
The Committee amended and advanced legislation that would create an eight-member legislative task force to provide recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on establishing a cap for undergraduate resident tuition by December 1, 2014. (SB 6043). The original bill would have established a cap on undergraduate, resident tuition not to exceed 10% of the most current average annual wage reported by the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD). The average annual wage reported by ESD in 2012 was $51,595.
In addition the Committee advanced legislation to implement greater efficiencies for the public, baccalaureate institutions (SB 6362). The legislation would make changes to business practices resulting in greater efficiency and effectiveness for Washington’s public baccalaureate institutions. Among the changes proposed is permissive authority to prorate paychecks for faculty on nine-month appointments, to change payroll frequency from semi-monthly to biweekly and changes to existing reporting requirements.
The focus will now turn to the appropriation committees through early next week followed by several days of floor session.