It’s now the third week of the 2017 legislative session and the Evergreen Office of Government Relations has been busy tracking bills, following legislation heard in committee meetings, and advocating for Evergreen’s legislative priorities.
The Governor’s Operating Budget was released on December 14, 2016 and includes a tuition freeze for resident undergraduate students as well as increased support for the State Need Grant, which is need-based aid for undergraduates pursuing a degree or technical training at an eligible institution. The Governor’s budget includes $116 million in additional State Need Grant dollars, which will ensure that 14,000 more students who could qualify but have not been able to receive funding will be served. The Governor’s Capital and Operating budgets, which are the first volley in the budgeting process, have been heard in House Appropriations and House Capital Budget Committees as well as Senate Ways & Means.
Evergreen continues to meet with legislators to advocate for our 2017-2019 Legislative Priorities, which include:
- STEM and High-Demand Science Career Pathways ($1.4 million)
- Student Success Initiatives ($1.05 million)
- Expand peer mentoring
- Hire a student retention manager
- Expand First Peoples Scholars
- Bolster the Multicultural Center and Trans & Queer Center
- Maintenance and Operations ($730, 000)
- Faculty and Staff Development ($1.7 million)
- Expanding the Masters in Teaching Program ($300, 000)
Committee meetings are free and open for the public to observe and participate. Meeting dates, locations, and agendas can be found at www.leg.wa.gov.
Follow Evergreen Government Relations Office on Twitter (@EvergreenGovRel) to read more updates on the 2017 legislative session.