February 4, 2024

Bills advance, falter as Legislature reaches committee cutoffs

By Marie Sullivan, legconsultant@wastate.pta

January 31st was the first cutoff of the session, signaling the start of deadlines that will become more compressed as the Legislature heads towards Sine Die on March 7th. The next cutoff is Monday, February 5th which is the last day for bills to pass out of the fiscal committees to remain under consideration.

Despite our best efforts and support, HB 1843 and HJR 4207 were removed from executive action in the House Education Committee. That means the two measures, which would have asked voters to consider lowering the threshold to pass bonds from 60% to 55%, are dead for another year. With many enrichment levies, bonds, and capital levies on the ballot February 13th, we can only hope voters support their schools with Yes votes that reach the various thresholds for passing.

Also failing to meet cutoff were several bills related to reducing gun violence and youth suicide. These include:

  • HB 1902/SB 6004 would have prohibited a dealer from transferring a firearm to a purchaser or transferee unless the person had a valid permit to purchase firearms.
  • HB 2054 would have prohibited firearms dealers from delivering more than one firearm to a purchaser or transferee within any 30-day period, subject to various exceptions.
  • SB 5963 would have required individuals who own a firearm to keep and maintain a residential dwelling insurance policy that covers losses or damages resulting from the accidental or unintentional discharge of the firearm.

Keep in mind that gun-related legislation often takes many years to pass, so advocates are encouraged not to give up hope, and to support bills that still remain in the process.

Another issue that received a public hearing but no vote in the policy committee was the Right to Repair bills. HB 1933/SB 6276 would have required manufacturers of digital electronic products to make available to independent repair providers certain parts, tools, and documentation on fair and reasonable terms for the diagnosis, maintenance, and repair of digital electronic products. As one part of the puzzle, this was seen as a cost-savings measure for school districts, that are finding the need and cost to repair technology devices far greater than covered by state funding under the MSOC line item of technology.

A list of the bills that missed the policy cutoff can be found at the end of this report.

Visit the full 2024 Bill Tracker here.

New bills – MSOC and Experience Factor adjustments

HB 2494 will show up on the February 5th House introduction list just in time for a public hearing and executive action in the House Appropriations Committee on the same day. The bill would adjust MSOC by about $52.45 per student FTE.


Current 2024-25 SY

Proposed in HB 2494




Utilities and Insurance






Other supplies



Library materials



Instructional PD for CIS, CLS



Facilities maintenance



Security & Central office






No fiscal note is available, but OSPI has shared that for FY 2025 the fiscal impact would be about $43.1 million. In FY 2026 and FY 2027, the fiscal impact is estimated at $69.7 million and $76.4 million, respectively.

HB 2458, adjusting the experience factor for certificated instructional staff, was a late edition (added at 5:20 PM on Friday) to the House Appropriations Committee public hearing list. Rather than hearing the original bill, House Appropriations staff James Mackison briefed on a proposed substitute offered by Rep. Steve Bergquist, D-Renton, which would overlay percentages of students who are homeless and students participating in the Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program to the criteria. The bill also would extend a 1% soft landing for any district that became ineligible in the 2023-24 school year that remains ineligible in the 2024-25 school year but was eligible the previous two consecutive years. Mr. Mackison estimated that another 10 school districts would receive the Experience Factor for the 2024-25 school year, but that list was not publicly available at this time. You can watch the staff briefing and testimony here.

An OSPI fiscal note on the underlying bill projected a cost of $61 million for the 2024-25 school year to add 27 more school districts to the 4% experience factor, equating to $47.3 million in FY 2025 and $13.7 million in FY 2026. No fiscal note is available for the substitute, but the calculations were based on recently published data for the 2023-24 school year posted to the OSPI Report Card. According to Mr. Mackison, for fiscal year 2025, the impact is estimated at $10.15 million, and over four-year outlook, the cost is about $33.5 million.

Still alive, at least for another day!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, budget committees in the House and Senate turned their attention to primarily public hearings on bills that had been passed out of policy committees but needed a fiscal look.

Surprisingly, SHB 1915, creating a financial education graduation requirement for the class of 2031, bypassed the House Appropriations Committee and went straight to Rules. Other House operating budget-impact bills didn’t fare so well and became part of the long list of bills heard on Friday and Saturday. Right now, most of the bills that have had a public hearing are scheduled for possible executive action on Monday, February 5.

The Senate Ways & Means Committee also worked through a long day on Saturday and has a long list of bills for action on Monday. The difference is they have posted a deadline of ending their meeting at 6 PM. Many of the education bills are located down the list and include a mix of policy (e.g., requiring computer science competency to graduate) and budget (changing the student transportation funding formula) bills.

For both committees, amendments can be found by searching for the bill here and going to the “committee materials” hyperlink. Scroll until you find the bill of interest, click on it, and then look for “Amds/Proposed Subs.” Click on that to view any proposed amendments. All amendments should be posted by the start of the committee hearing.

Advocacy in Action!

  • WSPTA Advocacy Committee member Danica Noble testified in favor of SB 5964, providing school meals to all students at the January 29th public hearing of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. While the bill didn’t advance, the companion to it – HB 2058 – is moving through the process in the House chamber. Watch Danica here.
  • Preventing gun violence advocate Gwen Loosmore testified in favor of SSB 5444, prohibiting firearms in sensitive places, like zoos, libraries, and parks. The Senate Ways & Means Committee met Saturday, February 3rd, and Dr. Loosmore asked committee members to consider how the bill can help de-escalate situations that could lead to violence. Watch Gwen here. Gwen also fielded a question from Senator Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro Woolley. The bill was amended in the policy committee to create an exemption for licensed concealed firearms, which prompted the question. Under pressure, Gwen answered gracefully; watch here.
  • HB 1960 would increase prototypical school staffing for instructional and non-instructional classified district employees. Washington State PTA Advocacy Committee member Malorie Larson testified in favor at the Saturday public hearing on February 3rd in the House Appropriations Committee. Watch Malorie here.
  • Malorie also testified in the Senate Ways & Means Committee February 3rd on the Senate version of this bill, SSB 5882, on behalf of Washington State PTA. In her testimony, Malorie said for the Shoreline School District the increased staffing allocation would be a welcome increase to support additional paraeducators. Watch Malorie here.
  • Washington State PTA also signed onto a letter asking House and Senate budget writers to support a significant increase in MSOC (Materials, Supplies and Operating Costs), which haven’t kept pace with inflation or actual costs to pay for basic things like utilities, insurance, or curriculum.
  • And WSPTA supported an effort to pass SB 6216, establishing a statewide network for student mental and behavioral health. The bill passed out of the Senate education committee but has not been scheduled for a public hearing or executive action in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. It is possible the bill can become a budget proviso. The letter can be found here.

The Week Ahead – Schedule subject to change

 Most bills that don’t pass by the February 5th deadline will be considered “dead” for this session. Keep in mind that the bills listed below only represent the ones on our tracking list.

Ways & Means (Senate) – SHR 4 and Virtual JACB – 2/5 @ 10:00am

  • SB 5770 – Exec Session – Providing state and local property tax reform.
  • SB 5978 – Exec Session – Authorizing the office of the superintendent of public instruction to act as a guarantor for a county when the county provides a loan to a school district.
  • SB 5789 – Exec Session – Concerning the sales and use tax for school construction assistance program capital projects. (Support)
  • SSB 5444 – Exec Session – Concerning firearm sensitive places. (Support/Monitoring)
  • SB 5904 – Exec Session – Extending the terms of eligibility for financial aid programs.
  • SB 6031 – Exec Session – Modifying the student transportation allocation to accommodate multiple vehicle types for transporting students.
  • SB 5873 – Exec Session – Providing adequate and predictable student transportation. (Support/High)
  • SSB 5956 – Exec Session – Concerning the maximum per-pupil limit for enrichment levies.
  • SSB 5882 – Exec Session – Increasing prototypical school staffing to better meet student needs. (Support)
  • SSB 6264 – Exec Session – Supporting the implementation of competency-based education. (Support)
  • SB 5850 – Exec Session – Supporting students who are chronically absent and at risk for not graduating high school.
  • SSB 5849 – Exec Session – Concerning a computer science competency graduation requirement. (Concerns)
  • SB 5852 – Exec Session – Concerning special education safety net awards. (Support)
  • SSB 5851 – Exec Session – Concerning Holocaust and genocide education in public schools.

Appropriations (House) – HHR A and Virtual JLOB – 2/5 @ 10:30am

  • SHB 2109 – Exec Session – Regulating permanent cosmetics.
  • HB 1935 – Exec Session – Promoting resource conservation practices that include student education and leadership opportunities in public schools. (Support)
  • HB 1228 – Exec Session – Building a multilingual, multiliterate Washington through dual and tribal language education. (Support)
  • HB 1479 – Exec Session – Concerning restraint or isolation of students in public schools and educational programs. (If measure is referred to committee.) (Support/Medium)
  • HB 1960 – Exec Session – Increasing prototypical school staffing to better meet student needs. (Support)
  • HB 2197 – Exec Session – Concerning the availability of prevention services under medical assistance programs. (Support/Medium)
  • HB 2215 – Exec Session – Concerning the maximum per-pupil limit for enrichment levies. (Monitoring)
  • HB 2247 – Exec Session – Addressing behavioral health provider shortages.
  • HB 2313 – Exec Session – Furthering digital equity and opportunity in Washington. (Support)
  • HB 2494 – Public Hearing – Increasing state funding for operating costs in schools. (Remote Testimony Available). (If measure is referred to committee.)
  • HB 2239 – Exec Session – Supporting student well-being through instruction in social-emotional skills.
  • HB 2458 – Exec Session – Making experience factor adjustments for certificated instructional staff. (Support)
  • HB 2494 – Exec Session – Increasing state funding for operating costs in schools. (If measure is referred to committee.)
  • HB 1956 – Exec Session – Addressing fentanyl and other substance use prevention education. (Support)

Bills that died as of the January 31st policy cutoff (all bills can be accessed by searching here):

  • HB 1866 would have directed OSPI to do a study about seasonal farmworker children and report to the legislature. I’m guessing this will be a budget proviso.
  • HB 1923 would have phased out the use of an enrollment cap on special education funding.
  • HB 1938 would have modified the dropout re-engagement program.
  • HB 1973 would have modified the way the safety net advisory committee responds to applications, including simplifying the process.
  • HB 2005 would have allowed a weighted grade point average to be reflected on high school transcripts.
  • HB 2123 would have created a Running Start for the Trades program.
  • HB 2142 would have created a reading coaches grant program.
  • HB 2148 would have required a comparative labor market analysis of salaries and other compensation for public school employees, including recommendations for updates to regionalization and experience factors based on the results. The Employment Security Department would have been required to report the analysis of results and data to the education and fiscal committees of the legislature and OFM by September 30, 2024.
  • HB 2174 would have allowed school districts that exceed 15% total student enrollment for special education funding to receive funding under certain conditions. (OSPI request bill)
  • HB 2198 would have required OSPI to appoint an advisory committee to develop recommendations for indoor temperature standards, including a maximum temperature recommendation, for public school facilities inhabited by students and employees no later than July 1, 2024. It would have required OSPI to develop cost estimates associated with the recommendations of the advisory committee by July 1, 2025.
  • HB 2282 and SB 6275 would have required OSPI to convene a workgroup to identify African American studies curricula and other instructional methods and materials for students in grades 7-12 and would have required a summary by December 1, 2024.
  • HB 2284 would have required schools to begin using evidence-based instructional practices in reading and writing literacy for public elementary students.
  • HB 2315 would have required high schools to have training in CPR and AED devices. (However, ESB 5790 was amended on the floor to include a requirement in all schools for AED equipment and training by the 2026-27 school year.
  • SB 5813 would have required school districts to offer instruction in agricultural literacy beginning no later than the 2025-26 school year and would have required that instruction in agricultural literacy be offered to each student at least once before completing grade 12.
  • SB 5966 would have modified definitions and practices regarding isolation and restraint.
  • SB 6045 would have required school district consolidation from 295 districts to 150 districts through a described process.
  • SB 6049 would have established a grant program to help schools provide effective interventions of high-quality tutoring, rigorous extended learning programs, and summer school programs for students with the greatest learning recovery needs.
  • SB 6082 would have added a statewide average of $7 per hour per FTE paraeducator hired by school districts as reported in the 2022-23 school year, adjusted for inflation and regionalization. (OSPI request)
  • SB 6096 would have increased the state assistance for per pupil local effort assistance (LEA) at public schools, charter schools, and tribal compact schools.
  • SB 6239 would have required the state to pay for AP, IB, and Cambridge exam fees.
  • SB 6253 would have increased the high-poverty Learning Assistance Program from 1.1 to 2.2 hours per week in extra instruction with a class size of 15 LAP students per teacher, distributed to the school that generated the high-poverty LAP funding.
  • SB 6274 would have established a grant program to fund school resource officers on public school campuses.
Category: Advocacy , Legislative

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