Capitol News
February 20, 2017
Melissa Johnson, WSLHA Lobbyist

As the policy committee cutoff has come and gone this week, our attention now turns to the fiscal committees. They have a week to hear and vote on bills with a fiscal impact, with a 2/24 cutoff deadline. Of course, the caveat is that bills deemed "necessary to implement the budget" or "NTIB" remain alive throughout the legislative session. The house of origin cutoff (House bills out of the House; Senate bills out of the Senate) is Wednesday, March 8th. Bills that make it through the house of origin cutoff then move to the opposite chamber and begin the process over in that chamber.

A note on the years of service bills...the House version has been heard in the Appropriations Committee; we are pressing for the bill to be voted out this week, but it is a bill that is considered NTIB. The Senate version passed out of the policy committee and was referred to the Ways & Means Committee. It hasn't been scheduled for a hearing yet, but Sen. Warnick (our prime sponsor) has requested a hearing. Sen. Warnick also sits on the Ways & Means Committee, so that is helpful for us.

A third education reform plan, SB 5825, has emerged this week, this time from the Senate Democrats. It is meant to be a "middle ground" between the Senate Republicans' plan and the House Democrats' plan.

  • Instead of other plans that would reduce local property-tax levies and then find other state revenue to fund education, the Senate Democrats' plan would make the current local tax levies permanent.
  • Levy dollars from each district would go to the state, which then would send the money to the district.
  • Then, the state would add about $750 million every two years to help those school districts that have a lower property tax base. Local school districts would still be allowed to keep raising some money through local property-tax levies for extra programs or needs that aren't considered basic education.
  • This plan has a minimum teacher entry salary of $45,000. It also creates a per student minimum funding calculation of $11,500 per child.

WSLHA High Priority Bills

Bill #

Abbrev. Title

Short Description

Status

Sponsor

Position

SHB 1059 (SB 5023)

School levy lid revs./delay

Delaying implementation of revisions to the school levy lid.

S Ways & Means

Lytton

 

HB 1264

Hearing devices for adults

Specifying medical assistance coverage for hearing devices for adults.

H HC/Wellness

McBride

Support

HB 1374 (SB 5283)

Ed. staff assocs/service yrs

Concerning the calculation of years of service for educational staff associate positions for salary allocation purposes.

H Approps

Dolan

Support

HB 1843 (SB 5623)

Basic education program

Fulfilling the state's paramount duty for all children through equitable and responsible investments in the state's basic education program and reductions to local effort contributions.

H Approps

Sullivan

 

SB 5177

Hearing loss training

Requiring long-term care workers to be trained to recognize hearing loss.

S Health Care

Bailey

 

SB 5179

Hearing instrument coverage

Requiring coverage for hearing instruments under public employee and Medicaid programs.

S Health Care

Bailey

Support

SB 5283 (HB 1374)

Ed. staff assocs/service yrs

Concerning the calculation of years of service for educational staff associate positions for salary allocation purposes.

S EL/K-12

Warnick

Support

SB 5607

Education

Concerning education.

H Approps

Braun

 

SB 5726

Public school empl. benefits

Addressing public school employee benefits.

S Ways & Means

Hobbs

 

SB 5727

Public school empl. benefits

Addressing public school employee benefits.

S Ways & Means

Hobbs

 

SB 5825

K-12 education funding

Addressing the state's paramount duty to fully fund K-12 education by creating a new partnership between the state and local school districts.

S Ways & Means

Mullet