State Government Relations

Who We Are

A division of University Relations and Community Development, State Government Relations works to pursue and promote Western’s policy objectives to the Washington State Legislature. The Office works closely with Legislators and Western administrators, faculty, students and staff.

State Government Relations also educates the campus community of legislation affecting the University.

Western Legislative Priorities

Western’s legislative priorities are designed to serve the people of Washington State and help Western meet its mission and strategic goals. Here is a summary of Western's legislative priorities for the 2016 session.

Stay Informed

For up to date information about what's happening in state government that impacts Western follow our Western Legislative Review and follow @WWUGOV on Twitter!

Please contact us with any questions you have!

Reporting Lobbying Activity

All Washington State agencies, including state universities, must keep records concerning their lobbying activity. If you are a WWU employee, please follow these guidelines and complete this online form to report lobbying activity to the Office of Government Relations.

Western Legislative Review Blog

March 30, 2016

  • The Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die last night, marking the end of the special session that immediately followed the conclusion of the 60-day regular legislative session on March 10. The special session concluded after the House of Representatives and Senate each voted to approve the state’s 2016 supplemental operating and capital budgets after weeks of negotiation. The Legislature adopted a supplemental transportation budget during the regular session. This blog post provides an overview of the 2016 legislative session with an emphasis on budget and policy issues that impact Western and the state’s higher education system. For additional information, you can find a chronology of events from throughout the legislative session in the WLR’s archived posts section. For a comparison of how each budget proposal from throughout the session impacts Western, click here... Read more...

March 14, 2016

  • On Friday the Senate released a new supplemental budget proposal, its second proposal of the legislative session. In general, the Senate’s latest proposal would have the same impact to Western as the first Senate proposal that was released on February 24, including $802,000 in new funding to backfill the tuition reductions that the Legislature implemented in the 2015-17 budget and a proposal to redirect $630,000 originally allocated for the establishment of a cybersecurity program at WWU’s Poulsbo location to fund student support services. The Senate’s latest proposal also includes additional funding for the State Need Grant to ensure that all current SNG recipients continue to receive an SNG award for the remainder of the 2015-17 biennia. The new Senate budget proposal also includes proviso language establishing a workgroup to explore the benefits and challenges of creating accelerated degree programs, similar to SB 6626, which did not pass this session... Read more...

March 11, 2016

  • The 60-day legislative session concluded yesterday without the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate approving a joint budget. After the Legislature adjourned the regular session last night, Governor Inslee immediately called legislators into a 30-day special session for the purpose of adopting a supplemental operating budget and passing bills necessary to implement the budget. Special sessions have become a regular occurrence since the recent Great Recession, including last session, as legislators grapple with creating a joint proposal that is agreeable to both chambers... Read more...

March 7, 2016

  • Today the Legislature formally recognized the public service of WWU President Bruce Shepard and his wife Cyndie Shepard for their contributions to improving higher education in Washington State. Highlighting their work at Western Washington University, the Senate Resolutions for Bruce Shepard and for Cyndie Shepard were approved today, and similar resolutions for Bruce Shepard and for Cyndie Shepard were approved earlier this month by the state House. Local legislators from both chambers were among those sponsoring the resolutions.. Read more...

February 25, 2016

  • Yesterday the Washington State Senate released its 2015-17 supplemental operating budget proposal, which followed the release of the House of Representatives budget proposal earlier in the week and the release of Governor Inslee’s budget proposal prior to the beginning of the legislative session. Read more...

February 23, 2016

  • Western students, faculty and administration are united in requesting increased funding for student support services as the campus community’s top priority for the 2016 Legislative Session. Research clearly demonstrates that basic support services like advising, tutoring and counseling are some of the most effect tools available to ensure student success, particularly for first-generation students and other traditionally underserved students. Read more...

February 23, 2016

  • Yesterday the House of Representatives released its 2015-17 supplemental operating budget proposal, which will be followed by the Senate supplemental budget proposal in the coming days. These proposals follow the release of Governor Inslee’s proposed budget in December. Read more...

February 17, 2016

  • Today the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its quarterly revenue forecast showing a $78 million decline in expected revenue collections for the current 2015-17 biennium and a $436 million decline in anticipated revenue collections for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. Read more...

February 5, 2016

  • Today is the house of origin policy committee cutoff in Olympia, meaning that House bills need to be passed out of policy committees in the House and Senate bills need to be passed out of policy committees in the Senate in order to remain viable for consideration this session. Policy-related bills that are not passed out of committee by today are considered “dead” unless they are deemed to be necessary to implement the state budget. Read more...

February 2, 2016

  • Yesterday the House Higher Education Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 2881, legislation sponsored by Representative Gerry Pollet aimed at addressing the state’s teacher shortage and helping to meet McCleary educational obligations. Read more...

January 25, 2016

  • Western had a major presence in Olympia during the second week of the 2016 Session with students, faculty and staff at the state capitol meeting with legislators on a variety of issues. On Monday, January 18 more than 100 Western students poured into Olympia for Viking Lobby Day to meet with legislators and Governor Inslee about Western students’ legislative priorities. Read more...

January 19, 2016

  • Week one of the 2016 legislative session is in the books, with Western appearing before several legislative committees throughout the week. Early in the week, Becca Kenna-Schenk, WWU Director of Government Relations, and Josie Ellison, AS-WWU Legislative Liaison, each testified before fiscal committees requesting the Legislature fund student support services at Western. Ensuring student success by increasing student access to advising and tutoring services is WWU’s top legislative priority this session, and Western was the only regional university to not receive such funding last legislative session. Read more...

January 11, 2016

  • The 2016 legislative session is underway in Olympia! The Washington State Legislature convened today to kick-off the 2016 session that is scheduled to last sixty days, concluding on March 10th. Legislative sessions in Washington are defined by the two-year period in which bills are considered, known as the biennium. The first year of the biennium occurs in odd-numbered years and lasts 105 calendar days, while the “short” or “supplemental” session takes place in even-numbered years and lasts 60 calendar days. Read more...

December 18, 2015

  • Governor Inslee released his 2016 supplemental budget proposal yesterday, which makes adjustments to the 2015-17 biennial budget and marks the beginning of the 2016 state budget process. The state Senate and House of Representatives will each formulate a budget proposal during the upcoming legislative session and then work to reach a state supplemental budget agreement before the end of session. Read more...

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Page Updated 03.30.2016