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Advocating as a college student

February 02, 2024 by Josaphine Saccio-Devine

Last week I testified for the first time before the House Postsecondary Workforce and Education committee in support of House Bill 2309 which would establish the Washington 13 Free Guarantee. This bill would guarantee more high school graduates the means to pursue a postsecondary education at community and technical colleges. 

At their Jan. 30 meeting, the House Postsecondary Workforce and Education Committee held an executive session where committee members voted on reporting this bill out of committee. There was an amendment proposed by Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen to eliminate the allocation of funds from GET accounts and instead appropriate the funds through other means. This proposed amendment was not adopted. The bill was ultimately moved out of committee with a do pass recommendation. I am eagerly waiting to see this bill show up on the House floor calendar this session. I am so grateful that I and the students of Washington are represented by the great people on this committee and am in awe of their commitment to bettering Washington's higher education experiences and their consideration of the future workforce.

Jan. 25 was legislative Advocacy Day for the Washington Community and Technical College Student Association. I went to the legislative building as a representative for my school, Lower Columbia College, along with four of my peers. We were given the opportunity to meet with our legislators and share what we feel are the most important issues for our school right now. These issues include textbook affordability, harm reduction, and housing costs. We were very lucky to get a meeting with our district’s senator, Jeff Wilson. We talked about textbook affordability and the availability of naloxone and the dangers of fentanyl on college campuses. 

We also met with Rep. Joel McEntire’s legislative assistant, Suzi Ryan, to talk about state-level solutions to the high cost of textbooks. These costs are a serious barrier for student success. She was very helpful and open to hearing our agenda. I am so glad I got the chance to meet her, and I am excited to continue this relationship between Lower Columbia College and Rep. McEntire's team.

Sen. Jeff Wilson also met with us, when we talked about the opioid epidemic. This is taking a serious toll on our community. In 2022 2,432 people died in Washington of opioid overdoses. House Bill 2112 has just made its way to the House Appropriation Committee, considering this bill would require institutions of higher education to require opioid and fentanyl reversing medications on campus. My peers and I were ready to encourage Sen. Wilson’s support if it were to make its way to the Senate. Luckily Sen. Wilson is very passionate about this topic. He personally keeps Narcan on his person and is vehemently in support of having it on all community and technical college campuses.

Last Modified: 2/2/24, 2:19 PM
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