Legislative Update | January 23-27, 2023

Roz Thompson, Governmental Relations & Advocacy Director, AWSP
Jan 30, 2023

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AWSP Day and Week on the Hill Start Today!

About 25 of our amazing principals and assistant principals will join us in Olympia on Monday, January 30, to meet with legislators at the Capitol and to attend a legislative reception in the evening. Our goal is to continue conversations about what our principals and assistant principals need to effectively lead their schools and how the Legislature can help continue supporting students and staff.

Principal Bills Keep Moving

In this fourth week of a fifteen-week session, our two bills related to principal and assistant principal employment keep moving. SB 5085 would provide a variety of updates to different RCWs to better support principals. This bill would open up the bargaining process to include “working conditions,” provide additional security for assistant principals, ensure that total years worked as a teacher and administrator count toward years of experience in education, and require evaluators to receive training in evaluation procedures. SB 5175 would allow (but not require) districts to offer principals up to three-year contracts. 

Other Bills This Week

Two important bills are being heard in the House Education Committee this week. One is HB 1479, related to restraint and isolation. OSPI requested this bill, which matches the recommendations made by a workgroup and their recently released report on these issues. The bill would prohibit students from being subjected to isolation, mechanical restraint, or chemical restraint by school staff, except for SROs under some circumstances. It would also specify that existing isolation rooms must remain unlocked, no new isolation rooms may be created, and, by January 1, 2024, isolation rooms must be removed or repurposed. School districts would also need to provide training to support the elimination of isolation and chemical restraint and to reduce the use of restraint in schools. This bill will be heard on Monday, January 30.

This week’s other big bill is HB 1550, related to Transitional Kindergarten. This bill’s intent is to establish a “transition to Kindergarten” program that basic education funds do not fund. OSPI and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families would need to work together to administer this program. Many districts are concerned by this proposed bill.  They will share their overarching message that they are trying to serve students and families with more early learning support, that access to early learning programs makes a positive difference entering Kindergarten, and that there needs to be local flexibility for both parents and communities. This bill is being heard Tuesday, January 31.

For the full list of bills being heard this week, check out my complete bill tracking document

Our advocacy efforts need all of our voices to contribute to the process. There are many different ways (big and small) that you can get involved in these efforts. Your participation can be as easy as doing an action alert to email your legislators or signing in support of a specific bill. Or, if you feel really passionate about a specific bill, we would love to have you testify. It takes all of us to make an impact!

If you have questions or comments or want to get involved, please reach out to me.

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