Next Week Marks Halfway Point in Special Session

Next Thursday marks the halfway point in special session.The thirty day special session that convened on April 29 is scheduled to end on May 28.

This Week

This week budget writers met for two days to discuss and brief on the more than 1,000 differences between the two budgets.  Leadership shared that at this point budget writers are going through the budget, identifying differences and determining where decisions will be required to reach a compromise.

Within the multitude of differences, the Legislature must reach agreement on several big policy and funding issues including support for K-12 basic education and mental health and then how to support these funds, which inserts a conservation around revenue.

In an effort to assist these conversations there is a bipartisan effort to push for an early revenue forecast to determine if the state will collect more revenue.  The next revenue forecast is scheduled for mid-June, which many policymakers recognize is too late.

Next Week

While there is no floor action scheduled to date, next week a handful of House and Senate Committees are scheduled to meet.  In the House this includes a public hearing on Thursday in House Appropriations to discuss a new approach to the Governor’s proposed cap-and-trade plan and on Wednesday a public hearing in House Finance on a capital gains tax proposal.  The Senate Higher Education Committee will convene on Thursday, as well, for a work session on transfer between institutions and sectors.

Washington Senate Honors President Purce with Resolution

Yesterday morning a group of Washington’s leaders in higher education gathered in the North Gallery of the Washington Senate to honor President Purce and his more than two decades of service to higher education in Washington.

Seated next to his family and surrounded by colleagues including executive directors of the Council of Presidents, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Washington Student Achievement Council and Washington Student Association, the Governor’s senior policy director for education, and members of Evergreen’s Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, the Washington Senate adopted Senate Resolution 8650 recognizing President Purce for his work.

The resolution stated, “Dr. Purce is an exemplar of a public service in higher education, with his twenty-six year career in Washington state.. (and) under Dr. Purce’s leadership, Evergreen has been consistently recognized as a national leader and model in the development of interdisciplinary learning communities…(his) professional legacy of true dedication towards higher education will continue to live on through the students and faculty he inspired and worked with.”

Several Senators rose in support of the Resolution and spoke to President Purce’s leadership, the power and strength of an Evergreen education, and perhaps most endearing to his personal commitment to the development and nurturing of relationships through his one-on-one engagement with policymakers, music and love of the outdoors.

Upon adoption of the Resolution, Senators and guests in the Gallery rose in a standing ovation to honor President Purce and denote how much he will be missed.

Legislature Moves Pass Policy and Into Budget Full Time

Yesterday marked the deadline for policy bills to pass from the opposite chamber. All policy bills, unless they are deemed necessary to implement the budget (NTIB), must have moved from the opposite chamber and either (a) to the Governor’s desk for his signature or (b) to the chamber of origination for concurrence and then hopefully onto the Governor’s desk.

Both the Senate and House have spent the last week advancing bills to the next stage in the process.

Below is a brief glimpse of some of the bills that have advanced past this major deadline

    • HB 1138: Creating a task force on mental health and suicide prevention in higher education
    • HB 1546:  Concerning dual credit opportunities provided by Washington’s public higher education institutions
    • SB 5328: Changes the dissemination of financial aid information
    • SB 5638: Modifies the requirements of the State Need Grant program to make the grant available to students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a qualifying institution of higher education for at least three quarter credits, or the equivalent semester credits

Next Week: Floor Action

Next week the Washington House and Senate will spend long days on the floor.

The first half of the week will be dedicated to advancing policy bills, not necessary to implement the budget, from the floor to the Governor’s desk.  Both chambers have until the end of day on April 15 to move bills.  A word to the wise be cautious what you consider to be a “dead bill”, things can come back to life at anytime.

Once this deadline passes it will be full throttle to the ultimate deadline – sine die.  April 26 marks the end of the regular session.

So where do things stand.

To date, the House has passed a proposed biennial operating budget to the Senate. It is now in Senate Ways & Means.  No further action has taken place on revenue, which underlies the operating budget. The House Finance Committee is scheduled to meet a week from today.  The House also advanced, with a strong bipartisan vote, a biennial capital budget.  The capital budget is now in Senate Ways & Means.

The Senate has passed an operating budget to the House. It is now in House Appropriations. This past week the Senate released and advanced a capital budget proposal. The Senate “gut-n-stuffed” the House’s capital budget (HB 1115/116) with their proposal in committee late this week. It is expected the Senate will take up the bill on the floor next week.

Policy Bills Head to the Floor

Wednesday marked another major deadline, one of the last before sine die, in the process. All policy bills that were moved to a fiscal committee must have moved from committee to the floor.  The exception as always are any bills that are deemed necessary to implement the budget.

A few higher education policy bills have already passed off the floor. This includes legislation to modify the requirements of the State Need Grant program to make the grant available to students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a qualifying institution of higher education for at least three quarter credits, or the equivalent semester credits (SB 5638) and “clean-up” statute language related to community and technical college provisions  (HB 1961).

A handful of higher education policy bills now await to be advanced from the Rules Committee to the floor and ideally to the Governor’s desk.

  • HB 1138: Creates a task force on mental health and suicide prevention in higher education
  • HB 1546: Makes changes to dual credit programs offered by higher education institutions
  • HB 1644: Allows children of eligible veterans or National Guard members to receive tuition/fee waivers before the age 18 and after age 26 in certain circumstances
  • HB 1825/SB 5355: Aligns state residency policies with federal policies
  • HB 1977: Creates a tuition and fees exemption for children and surviving spouses of certain highway workers.
  • HB 2041: Creates a pilot project on performance-based scholarships in the state need grant program
  • SB 5122: Encourages the public baccalaureate institutions to use multiple methods to determine whether a student must enroll in precollege courses and requires institutions to post placement information on institutional websites and in admissions materials
  • SB 5328:Requires the public baccalaureate institutions to provide financial aid application due dates and distribution policies for prospective and admitted students
  • SB 5518: Creates procedures to address campus sexual violence
  • SB 5534: Creates the certified public accounting scholarship program
  • SB 5719: Creates a task force on campus sexual violence prevention
  • SB 5746: Adds Everett Community College as an aerospace training or educational program
  • SB 5851: Concerns recommendations of the college bound scholarship program work group

Washington House Recognizes President Purce’s Dedication to Higher Education

Earlier this month the Washington State House of Representatives took action to recognize President Purce’s nearly three decades of service to higher education in Washington by adopting a resolution to acknowledge his work and commitment to higher education.

In particular, the House Resolution honors Dr. Purce’s dedication to quality, efficiency, diversity, equity and sustainability in the liberal arts and sciences.


Senate Holds Public Hearing on Biennial Capital Budget

This afternoon Evergreen testified in support of the Senate’s proposed biennial capital budget.

The Senate’s capital budget provides funding for several projects across higher education. This includes funding for three projects at Evergreen – Lecture Hall Renovation Construction, Lab I Basement Construction funding, and Seminar I Renovation Predesign.  The budget also provides authorization to purchase the Tacoma Campus property.

In addition the budget includes funds to support facilities preservation, minor works, and preventative facility maintenance and building system repairs.

Overall the budget supports Evergreen’s focus and commitment to responsible stewardship of our public facilities and infrastructure to meet current technological needs and demands, and to provide the needed facilities and infrastructure to provide a quality educational experience for students.

The Senate Ways & Means committee will take executive action on the budget tomorrow afternoon in Committee.