Capitol News
February 6, 2017
Melissa Johnson, WSLHA Lobbyist

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee heard our years of service bill, HB 1374. Sarah Linton, an SLP in the North Thurston School District, testified on behalf of WSLHA in support of the bill. Joining Sarah was a strong panel representing the Physical Therapy Association of Washington (PTWA), the Washington Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA), the School Nurse Organization of Washington (SNOW), and the Washington Association of School Social Workers (WASSW). There was also testimony in support of the bill from OSPI, Disability Rights Washington, the Washington State Special Education Coalition, and ESD 112.

The Senate version of the bill, SB 5283, will be heard in the Senate Early Learning & K12 Committee on Thursday. Sarah will be testifying on our behalf for this hearing, too.

Also last week, the Senate passed SSB 5607, the Senate Republicans' plan to fully fund basic education. It was approved on a straight party-line vote of 25-24 and sent to the House for consideration. This bill replaces the prototypical school funding allocation model with a per student model which allocates $12,500 per year per student. Additional funding is provided for special education.

The plan is funded by a statewide property tax levy of $1.80 per $1,000 of assessed value in all 295 school districts. Local levies would be eliminated and future voter-approved excess levies capped at 10%. Under this plan, some property-rich districts lose (mostly in the Puget Sound area), while some property-poor rural districts gain. This property tax levy, however, does not generate any new revenue.

The House Democrats' plan is HB 1843. This bill replaces the state salary allocation model with minimum statewide average salaries for each of the three state funded staffing categories, and specifies the state operating budget bill must specify the basis for regional adjustments, beginning in school year 2017-18 and phased in over three years.

Both HB 1843 and SB 5607 will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday.

Upcoming Events

Early Learning & K-12 Education (Senate) - SHR 1, - 2/6 @ 1:30pm

  • SB 5432 - Public Hearing - Concerning the funding allocation for special education programs for students with disabilities.
    • Summary of Bill: The additional funding amount that districts receive for the excess costs of special education is increased from 0.93 percent to 1.08 percent of the district's average per-student basic education allocation.

Appropriations (House) - HHR A, JLOB - 2/6 @ 3:30pm

  • HB 1843 - Public Hearing - 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.
    • This is the House Democrats' plan for basic education.
  • SSB 5607 - Public Hearing - Concerning education.
    • This is the Senate Republicans' plan for basic education.

Health Care & Wellness (House) - HHR A, JLOB - 2/7 @ 8:00am

  • HB 1523 - Public Hearing - Requiring health plans to cover, with no cost sharing, all preventive services required to be covered under federal law as of December 31, 2016.

Health Care & Wellness (House) - HHR A, JLOB - 2/8 @ 1:30pm

  • HB 1477 - Public Hearing - Concerning disclosure of health-related information with persons with a close relationship with a patient.

Health Care (Senate) - SHR 2, - 2/9 @ 10:00am

  • SB 5436 - Public Hearing - Expanding patient access to health services through telemedicine by further defining where a patient may receive the service.
  • SB 5457 - Public Hearing - Expanding patient access to health services through telemedicine and store and forward technology by requiring parity in payment for services.

Early Learning & K-12 Education (Senate) - SHR 1, - 2/9 @ 1:30pm

  • SB 5283 - Public Hearing - Concerning the calculation of years of service for educational staff associate positions for salary allocation purposes.
  • SB 5662 - Public Hearing - Authorizing the superintendent of public instruction to designate a member of the professional educator standards board.
  • Work session on the Professional Educator Standards Board regarding licensure and evaluation policies.

Appropriations (House) - HHR A, JLOB - 2/9 @ 3:30pm

  • HB 1843 - Exec Session - 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.

State Government, Elections & Information Technology (House) - HHR E, JLOB - 2/10 @ 10:00am

  • HB 1005 - Public Hearing - Creating accountability in agency rule-making authority.
  • HB 1240 - Public Hearing - Revising the responsibilities of the joint administrative rules review committee to increase legislative oversight of agency rule making.

WSLHA High Priority Bills

Bill #

Abbrev. Title

Short Description

Status

Sponsor

Position

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

SB 5177

Hearing loss training

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

S Health Care

Bailey

 

SB 5178

Hearing loss education prog.

Requiring the Department of Health to develop a hearing loss education program for health care professionals.

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