It required a 60-day regular session and 20 days of special session, but the Legislature finally adjourned late Tuesday March 29th after thirteen action- filled hours on the floor.
Gov. Jay Inslee had demanded the Legislature produce a supplemental budget and when the Democratic House and Republican Senate failed to budge, he vetoed 27 bills! In the extended session, the two Houses were able to come together to over-turn these vetoes.
Listed below are 10 education bills the Governor signed into law. These bills do not all directly relate to private schools, but WFIS hopes the information is helpful to our members to understand the bigger educational picture in Washington. A bill that saves the charter schools passed into law without the Governor’s signature.
Preschool and after school programs:
1. The Agency definition bill allows public and private schools to run afterschool programs for their enrolled students without a DEL license, under some circumstances. (SB 6371) **WFIS has been working on this bill for a long time. We are thrilled to get it passed this year!
2. A mental health bill (HB 2439) sponsored by Representative Kagi increases access to mental health services for children and youth by creating:
- A work group studying barriers to care (focused mostly on children ages 0-5) Data tracking for access to care for children ages 0-17
- School suicide prevention
- An assessment of mental health infrastructure in public schools
3. Senator Dammiere sponsored a bill to address the critical shortage of substitute teachers and educator workforce most profound in rural and low-income areas. The bill focuses on college students, para-educators, and teachers from out-of-state, and makes it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom as substitutes. (SB 6455)
Health and Safety:
4. The state school director’s association is directed to develop a model policy on natural disaster school infrastructure recovery. (HB 1003) **WFIS believes this could provide a template for all schools.
could provide a template for all schools.
5. The visual screening test at public schools must now include both distance and near vision screening. (SB 6245)
6. Health care providers are able to prescribe epinephrine not only to schools, but also restaurants, recreation camps, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, colleges, universities, and sports arenas. (SB 6421)
7. OSPI is asked to develop best practices and recommendations for instruction in digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy. (SB 6273) **Most private schools have internet safety policy already, but a state researched plan could be used as a model.
8. Student volunteers are now allowed to receive medical aid benefits. Those included are: (1) student volunteers enrolled and participating in a program authorized by any public or private school, including institutions of higher education; and (2) “unpaid students” who are in school- sponsored, unpaid work-based learning. Work- based learning includes cooperative education, clinical experiences, and internship programs. (SB 6293)
9. There is a new Washington College Savings Program, in addition to the Washington Advanced College Tuition Payment Program, for individuals to save for college. (SB 6601)
10. This bill is an attempt by the legislators to reenact Charter Schools. (SB 6194)