February 8 marks the 26th day of the 2019 Legislative session. The first critical policy cutoff is February 22, which means we are nearing the end of time where we see an influx of bill-related ideas and proposals. The daily introduction list (in both the House and Senate) are getting shorter and shorter. Agendas are beginning to focus more on a possible executive session where bills are formally moved out of their assigned committee and advanced through the legislative process.
Agency legislative updates
The Boards’ legislative proposals are progressing. Currently, discussions are being focused on the policy elements of these proposals. The week following policy cutoff will be a time where the budget implications of bills are discussed in more detail and potentially advanced out of their assigned fiscal committee. Budget discussions will become more prevalent and concrete as we approach the March 20 revenue forecast.
Removing testing barriers
Agency request legislation, SB 5512 and HB 1621, regarding testing barriers have continued their forward progress and are scheduled for a hearing on February 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate and February 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the House. Now is the time for advocates, and those impacted by the WEST-B testing requirements, to become more engaged in the legislative process. we are asking these stakeholders (YOU!) to speak directly to committee members during the bills’ public hearing. Several testing barrier workgroup members have stepped up to the plate and volunteered their time to come to Olympia and be actively engaged in keeping this bill moving forward.
In other news
We are closely watching a number of other bills in process due to their potential impact on our work.
HB 1139 is an omnibus bill brought forth by Rep. Santos and is very similar to proposals she has brought forward in the past. This 57-page bill touches on a number of areas of our work. The original bill was substituted and amended during the executive session. The next step for this bill is to be heard and potentially passed our of the House Appropriations committee.
HB 1139 will likely be the foundation of the budget discussion related to our submitted decision package regarding Grow Your Own Educator Pathways. We are currently working with stakeholders to build a comprehensive budget engagement strategy to better ensure the legislature funds the request made through our decision package.
HB 1658, sponsored by freshman Democrat and education committee Vice Chair Rep. Dave Paul, speaks broadly to paraeducators and brought suggested changes to training delivery and timing for the upcoming paraeducator program requirements. Staff worked directly with the sponsor to address some potential conflicts with federal requirements and to ensure the language regarding training delivery was streamlined and more easily implemented.
An assigned public hearing date is scheduled for February 14 at 8:00 a.m. Once bills receive a hearing date, a formal Fiscal Note is typically requested. Fiscal Notes are prepared by impacted agencies, institutions, and organizations and serve as the foundation of budget discussions. This piece of policy and associated fiscal discussions are serving as an opportunity for agency staff to bring forth the budget request associated with the full implementation of the paraeducator program.
As always, if you have any questions about this process, the agency’s work, or anything else to do with the legislature, reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org