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Fiscal committees wrap up work as Legislature reaches its second cutoff

March 01, 2019 by SBCTC Communications

House and Senate fiscal committees held marathon hearings this week, hearing and voting on bills before the fiscal committee cutoff today. Today's cutoff means that bills with financial impact need to be voted out of those committees in order to continue in the legislative process. Testimony is encouraged to be short and focuses on a bill's fiscal significance, not policy.

Dual credit scholarship and voucher bill heard in House Appropriations

Feb. 27 — The House Appropriations Committee took up SHB 1973 at its hearing Wednesday, a bill that would provide scholarships and vouchers to low-income students — those who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch — for Running Start and College in the High School fees. For Running Start, the bill would provide for a $10 textbook voucher for each credit per quarter the student is enrolled in, up to 15 credits per quarter.

Costs would fall to the Washington Student Achievement Council, Eastern Washington University and the University of Washington. The bill would not have a fiscal impact on the community and technical college system.

“This bill serves to eliminate some barriers to these very important dual credit classes for students who are college bound, and we ask your support,” Arlen Harris, legislative director for the State Board, testified.

The bill was voted out of committee Thursday. SHB 1973 was heard in the House College and Workforce Development Committee Feb. 19 and the substitute bill was voted out Feb. 20. 

Open educational resources bill heard in House Appropriations

Feb. 25 — The House Appropriations Committee took up HB 1702 at its hearing Monday. This bill would require community and technical colleges to indicate during registration which courses offered low-cost books and course materials. Low-cost is defined at $50 or less. Legislation passed in 2017 requires colleges to show during registration whether courses offer open education resources (OER) for their books or materials.

HB 1702's original fiscal note reported a $68,000 cost, rising to $123,000 in the 2021-23 biennium. A revised fiscal note submitted after the hearing, however, showed the bill would have no financial impact.

“The anticipated workloads are expected to be minimal and can be accomplished within the existing resources, so the Washington State Board for Community and Technical College asks for your support of HB 1702,” Boyoung Chae, a policy associate for educational technology and open education at the State Board, said, noting the revised but not yet submitted fiscal note.

HB 1702 was voted out of the committee on Tuesday and is now in the Rules Committee. Previously, the bill was heard Feb. 5 in the House College and Workforce Development Committee and voted out Feb. 8.

Trustees confirmed by Senate

Coming up next week

The House and Senate head to their floors with 12 days to vote bills out of their chambers, the session's third cutoff date. Bills need to be voted out of their house of origin by the end of the day March 13 in order to continue in the legislative process.

Last Modified: 3/1/19 2:32 PM
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