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System-requested bill passes Senate as Legislature awaits negotiated budget proposals

April 19, 2019 by SBCTC Communications

With just over a week to go in the regular session, the House and Senate on Wednesday wrapped up voting on bills from the opposite chamber and began working out differences on bills that received amendments after passing their originating chamber. Budget negotiators are still at work on operating, capital and transportation budget proposals hoping to reach an agreement before Sine Die on April 28.

Passing the Senate before the Wednesday opposite chamber cutoff deadline was HB 1714, the community and technical college system's requested bill that would allow colleges to grant students over the age of 16 a high school diploma when they earn an associate degree.

On Friday, the House Finance Committee passed HB 2158. The bill, called "Creating a workforce education investment to train Washington students for Washington jobs," would finance at community and technical colleges:

  • full funding for Guided Pathways at all 34 colleges in the second year of the biennium and beyond
  • $3 million for Career Launch Enrollments
  • funding for nursing faculty salary increases
  • funding in the second year of the biennium for high-demand faculty salary increases

In addition, the bill would:

  • establish the Washington College Grant Program, which would replace the State Need Grant
  • establish the Washington Student Loan Program
  • establish the Career Connected Learning cross-agency work group to carry out and expand career connected learning opportunities
  • change the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to allow cities, counties, tribes and other organizations to contribute funding to the program
  • change the Working Connections Child Care program so recipients do not have to meet work requirements to receive benefits.

The provisions in the bill would be paid for by a three-tiered Workforce Education Investment surcharge on selected businesses through the business and occupation tax. The House Finance Committee took public testimony on HB 2158 at its March 29 hearing. The measure now heads to the House Appropriations Committee consideration.

Bill expanding who may receive a high school diploma passes Senate

April 17 — One of the college system’s requested bills passed the Senate Wednesday with a 48-0 vote. The bill, HB 1714, would grant a high school diploma to students over the age of 16 who complete an associate degree. Under current law, community and technical colleges may grant a high school diploma to students who complete an associate degree who are over the age of 21, enrolled through Running Start, or attend one of the three technical high schools located within a technical college.

Sen. Guy Palumbo, chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, and Sen. Jeff Holy, ranking member on the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, spoke in favor of the bill’s passage.

“Problem is you have some groups out there — employers, military, this kind of thing — that require a high school diploma in addition to an associate’s degree, so this just allows [community and technical colleges] the flexibility to provide [a high school diploma] so long as [students] met the criteria underlying — and have the associates in hand — so that it meets the needs of the employer,” Holy said. 

Bill status roundup

The bills listed below passed the April 17 opposite chamber cutoff deadline. Bills that did not receive amendments head to the governor's desk for signature. Bills that were amended will go to conference for the House and Senate to work out differences before heading back to both chambers for a final vote. This status is as of noon Friday.

Bill number Bill title Bill status
2SHB 1303 Removing certain restrictions on subsidized child care for students at institutions of higher education.

April 12: Passed Senate 43-4

April 17: Delivered to governor. Scheduled for action April 23.

EHB 1563 Concerning liquor-related privileges of students enrolled in certain degree programs.

April 12: Passed Senate 43-1

April 17: Delivered to governor. Scheduled for action April 23.

HB 1714 Concerning community and technical colleges granting high school diplomas. April 17: Passed Senate 48-0
SHB 1734 Requiring accreditation standards for college in the high school programs. April 17: Passed Senate 47-0
2SHB 1893 Providing assistance for certain postsecondary students. April 17: Passed Senate 27-21
2SHB 1973 Establishing the Washington dual enrollment scholarship pilot program.

April 15: Passed Senate 47-0

April 18: House concurred in Senate amendments. Passed 94-0

2SSB 5433 Providing postsecondary education opportunities to enhance public safety. April 10: Passed House 67-28
2SSB 5800 Concerning homeless college students. April 12: Passed House 57-38
SSB 5851 Enhancing educational opportunities for vulnerable children and youth using funding distributed from the Puget Sound taxpayer accountability account.

April 16: Passed House 94-3

April 18: Senate president signed

Trustees confirmed by Senate

The following trustees were confirmed by the Senate this week, prior to noon Friday.

Coming up next week

The House and Senate will continue voting on bills that passed both chambers but received amendments from the opposite house. The Legislature will also wait for budget negotiators to wrap up their work, hopefully before Sine Die next Sunday.

Last Modified: 2/3/23, 10:03 AM
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