Friday, January 24, 2014

E-Wire 1.24.14

Greetings folks!

It’s Higher Education Day in the House!  Well not officially, but the bulk of the bills under consideration pertain to Higher Ed.  So, hats off to the Double Larry Duo of Springer (Chair) and Haler (Ranking Member) who have delivered to the House Floor a raft of bills under consideration.  Here are the highlights:

Substitute House Bill 1669 – Clarifying fees and notification to students in self-supported university programs – the bill will allow students of fee supported college programs to better understand the costs of the program and it will improve notification to students to prepare for those costs when they change.  The bill was authored by Representative Pollet and passed the House 86-11.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1769 – Increases the capital budget qualifying threshold for minor works projects for higher education institutions from $2 million to $5 million and the requirements for pre design on major projects from $5 million to $10 million.  The qualifications were put in place in the 1990’s and with the passage of this legislation will be updated to reflect inflation.  The bill was authored by Representative Monica Stonier and passed 97-1.
Substitute House Bill 1843 – Provides the Student Achievement Council the clear authority to revoke the ability of a higher education institution from participating in the State Need Grant program if the institution does not live up to expected regulations.  The bill was introduced by Representative Gerry Pollet and passed 95-2.
House Bill 1348 – Allows community and technical colleges to award full and part time instructors step increases based on collective bargaining agreements even if the increases are not funded by the legislature. The Bill passed 61-36.

House Bill 1251 – Expands the Opportunity Scholarship board from 7 to 9 members.  The two additional members must be from a foundation or business/industry and will be appointed by the Governor. 

While the House maintains a theme of Higher Education, the Senate is looking to pass legislation changing the Washington Teacher Principal Evaluation Project to reflect changes requested by the US Department of Education.  Word on the street is that the Senate Democrats are passing on offering any amendments and the bill will go directly to the floor.  Checking in just now to find that the Senate has adjourned without any action. So I guess we will find out what bills the Senate choose to lob over to the House next week.

Speaking of floor action, the PTA Board of Directors is meeting this weekend in Tacoma and several bills that the Regional Legislative Chairs (RLC) have supported will be formally sent to the board with a recommendation to endorse.  The E-Wire will post the results of the Board Endorsements on Monday’s E-Wire which will be followed up Mid-Week by the first in a series of legislative action alerts highlighting the good, the bad, and the not so great in the legislature.

With that – onto the E-Wire!

Top of the Hour –Ave Atque Vale, Ted Bottiger

State Senate reviews instructional gaming – introduces legislation

McCleary Focus?  Look at reducing class size

Spokesman Review comes out for Paraeducators

Lack of funding is closing family support centers in Pierce County

Education Committees reviewing changes to the 24 Credit Requirement

And looking into access for Running Start, AP, and IB programs

Senator Mike Padden offers to hold hearing on Gun Initiatives

Supreme Court tells legislators this - so Eastern Washington Republican Legislators Respond with this  House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan adds his thoughts here -

Hoquiam Teen makes a difference by testifying in the legislature *hint, hint*

And, so, a little fun from Spokane on voice to text translations.
When I call my friend Derek Young over at Exit133 – he says my greeting usually translates as “Hello, Dad.”  Quite Disconcerting.

That’s it for now.

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