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Session passes halfway mark, opioid awareness, incarcerated student financial aid, competency-based education bills moving

February 09, 2024 by SBCTC Communications

Following Monday's fiscal committee cutoff deadline — when bills with a monetary impact needed to be approved by those committees to continue in the legislative process — this week was dominated by House and Senate floor action. Bills on opioid and fentanyl awareness, financial aid for incarcerated students and competency-based education all advanced through their home chamber and now move to the opposite chamber for consideration.

On the opposite coast, community and technical college trustees, presidents and students gathered in Washington, DC, this week for the Association of College Trustees' National Legislative Summit. The Washington state delegation met with each of the state's members of Congress to talk about the impact of federal legislation on community and technical colleges.

Ways and Means hears financial aid for incarcerated students bill

Feb. 2 — The Senate Ways and Means Committee at its hearing Saturday heard a bill that would affect financial aid for incarcerated students. Under the original version of SB 5953, incarcerated individuals would apply for federal and state financial aid to pay for their education program. The Department of Corrections may require students to use financial aid for high school diploma or equivalency programs, vocational programs, or other programs required for the student’s reentry plan, and DOC would be required to pay for costs not covered by financial aid.

A substitute bill passed the Senate Human Services Committee on Jan. 25. That version includes a requirement that all students receive financial aid and academic advising before enrolling in an education program. The bill passed the Senate Thursday with a 37 to 12 vote.

Hanan Al-Zubaidy, associate director for corrections with the State Board, told committee members that advising is important to students’ experience, especially with the reinstatement of Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals.

“Students would gain an understanding of their personal and financial aid usage, allowing them to make an informed decision about their education. The presence of skilled advisors is integral to the success of our students, contributing significantly to their academic achievement and their successful reintegration into society,” she said.

Trustees confirmed by Senate

The Senate confirmed six trustees to the boards of their colleges this week:

Bill status roundup

The bills listed below have been featured in this year's Legislative News and made it past Monday's fiscal committee cutoff deadline. This bill status is as of noon Friday.

Bill number Bill title Bill status
HB 2089/SB 5949 Concerning the capital budget Jan. 11: Public hearing in House Capital Budget Committee.
HB 2104/SB 5950 Making 2023-2025 fiscal biennium supplemental operating appropriations Jan. 10: Public hearing in House Appropriations Committee.
HB 2112 Concerning opioid and fentanyl prevention education and awareness at institutions of higher education

Feb. 8: Passed House 94-3.

HB 2214 Permitting beneficiaries of public assistance programs to automatically qualify as income-eligible for the purpose of receiving the Washington college grant

Feb. 8: Placed on second reading.

SB 5850 Supporting students who are chronically absent and at risk for not graduating high school Feb. 6: Placed on second reading.
SB 5904 Extending the terms of eligibility for financial aid programs Feb. 7595: Placed on second reading.
SB 5949/HB 2089 Concerning the capital budget Feb. 15: Scheduled for public hearing in Senate Ways and Means Committee.
SB 5950/HB 2104 Making 2023-2025 fiscal biennium supplemental operating appropriations Jan. 9: Public hearing in Senate Ways and Means Committee.
SB 5953 Concerning financial aid grants for incarcerated students Feb. 8: Passed Senate 37-12.
SB 6264 Supporting the implementation of competency-based education Feb. 8: Passed Senate 45-4.

Coming up next week

Floor action continues until Tuesday when session reaches its third cutoff deadline. Bills in their originating house need to be approved by that chamber by 5 p.m. to continue in the legislative process. Committees will go back to work Wednesday to hear bills from the opposite chamber.

Last Modified: 2/9/24, 4:09 PM
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