Legislative Update - Feb. 1, 2019

Roz Thompson
Feb 01, 2019

advocacy day group pic

Principals in Olympia

What an amazing show of advocacy this week as 40 principals from across our state met with their legislators on Monday, January 28 for our annual “Day on the Hill”. We wore brightly colored plaid scarves in our AWSP colors which were noticed by many (that’s a good thing!) Rep. Mike Chapman from the 24th district even requested one for his scarf collection!

Many thanks to those who traveled to Olympia to meet with legislators and talk about the issues that concern them the most. Principals shared information and stories about special education funding, levy flexibility, graduation requirements, the complexities of working with the various higher education institutions and dual credit programs, and more. Many of our principals who came to Olympia established relationships that will continue throughout this session and beyond. Anyone can reach out to send legislators an email about specific issues. Find out who your legislators are and send them an email!

School safety and mental health were the big themes of the week with a powerful work session in the House Education committee on Tuesday where Alissa Parker, mother of one of the first graders who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting, spoke about her tragic experience and her commitment to help schools strengthen safety measures. Her presentation was followed by Dr. Eric Madfis from UW Tacoma who spoke about school safety research. One of his most powerful conclusions (that we all know to be true) is relationships matter. I hammered home this point when I testified on several school safety bills in the Senate Early Learning and K–12 Education Committee on Thursday. These bills each have a different focus, but the main topics include the use of threat assessments, defining and training School Resource Officers, and regional safety centers through the ESDs.

Here are the major safety bills so far:

  • SB 5052 | Training for SROs
  • SB 5141 | Training for SROs
  • SB 5216 | Multistage Threat Assessment
  • SB 5315 | Increasing Student Support Staff
  • SB 5317/HB 1216 | Comprehensive School Safety
  • HB 1305 | SROs in Schools
  • HB 1308 | Firearms on Schools Grounds in Certain Conditions
  • HB 1245 and HB 1507 | Both are related to comprehensive safety planning related to school buildings and construction.
  • HB 1216 | The companion school safety bill in the House to be heard next week.

Also on tap next week is a long list of bills related to many different topics:

House Bills

  • HB 1057 | School Bus Safety
  • HB 1221 | Youth Suicide Prevention
  • HB 1191 | Notifications of Student Criminal Offenses
  • HB 1263 | Homeless Student Support
  • HB 1272 | Lunch Duration
  • HB 1264 | Secondary Trauma in School Staff
  • HB 1454 | Responsive System for Students with Disabilities
  • HB 1674 | Changing “Alternative Learning” to “Personalized Learning”
  • HB 1479 | Building Capacity Within School Workforce Related to Mental Health

Senate Bills

  • SB 5066 | Simple Majority for Bonds (50%)
  • SB 5252 | Simple Majority for Bonds (55%)
  • SB 5070 | Bilingual Educators
  • SB 5087 | World Language Competency Grant Program
  • SB 5159 | Transitional Bilingual Instruction
  • SB 5354 | Highly Capable Students
  • SB 5464 | Opioid Overdose Medication for Schools with Grades 7–12
  • SB 5465 | Basic Education Funding
  • SB 5532 | Special Education Funding
  • SB 5572 | Modernization Grants for Small Schools
  • SB 5603 | Enrollment and Registration for Children of Military Families

As always, please reach out with questions and comments!

  • Advocacy & Legislation

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