Legislative Session, Weeks 7 & 8 and Governor’s Bill Signings through 15 March 2018

End of 2018 Legislative Session

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 Item One.

With regard to increasing funding the State Need Grant, which was one of COFs priorities for the 2018 legislative session, in a flurry of House and Senate actions in the last two of the session we received some good news in a bill passed on March 8: ESSB 6032, An Act Relating to Fiscal Matters, also known as the 2018 Supplemental to the 2017-19 Operating Budget.   

In the bill, there is $18.5 million added to the funding for the State Need Grant, thereby permitting about 4500 more students to receive the SNG for the coming year.  In the bill there is also the stated intent–albeit non-binding–to reach full funding of the SNG for eligible students (whose families recieve less than or equal to 70% of he median family income) through the next two biennia. 

As of 15 March 2018, Governor Inslee-who is in the midst of many bill signings this week–had neither signed nor vetoed any part of ESSB 6032. 

 

Item Two. 

Increase in funding for State Work Study was also one of COF’s priorities.  Like for the SNG, there was no mention of SWS in the governor’s proposed supplemental budget last December.  But unlike for the SNG, there was no increased funding passed by the state legislature in the 2018 session.

 

Item Three.

Some other bills of note, and which we support: 

5028 requires teacher prep & certification programs to adopt Native American history curriculum into the PNW history curriculum

6029 student loan “bill of rights” 

1561 provides modest level of funding for grants to develop open source educational resources

6514 Higher Ed Behavioral Health bill, provides competitive grants for developing suicide prevention programs and other programs on college campuses

2009 for Gold Star families, if a student is getting a tuition fee waiver then the student is eligible for a $500 stipend for books and related materials

1488 DACA students are elegible for college bound program and opportunity fellowship 

6582 Criminal history is excluded from the college application

5917 IB bill, requires universities to publicly post their evidence-based policies for granting credit to students who have passed International Baccalaureate and Cambridge International examinations.

 

Item Four.

Recall that other state personnel were given 2% salary increases out of the state operating budget, but university personnel were given 1% from the state operating budget, with the other 1% (if it were to be given at all) being expected to come from student tuition.  The COP and COF worked diligently to get this changed, but no luck for this biennium.  There is, however, funding provided in ESSB 6032 for the Public Policy Institute to study and report on what other states do with respect to salary increases for university personnel as compared to other state personnel.   The report is due in November 2018. 

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