March 29, 2013
Today is day 75 of the 105-day legislative session, and we are in week 11.
Last week the Council of Faculty Representatives hosted a dinner to honor the 2013 Legislative Interns, as many of them will be headed back to school for spring quarter. Western had eight interns participate this year!
The Senate Higher Education Committee held confirmation hearings for trustees and regents appointed by the Governor. Western Trustees Betti Fujikado, Ralph Munro, Susan Sharpe, and Joseph Meyer were in Olympia for the hearing.
Also last week, the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released the latest revenue forecast. The report showed little change. For the current budget period, which goes through June 30 of this year, $59 million more is expected. For the 2013-15 biennium they expect a decrease of $19 million, and for the 2015-17 biennium a decrease of $48.7 million. The total budget shortfall the legislature is facing is approximately $1.2 million.
This week Governor Inslee released his budget priorities. If you are interested in seeing the portion of his budget recommendations dealing with higher education, scroll to page 15.
Yesterday, the Senate Higher Education Committee heard public testimony on House Bill 1817, the Washington “Dream Act.” This is the legislation that would make undocumented students eligible for the state need grant. It passed the House by a vote of 77 to 20, and it is still uncertain whether or not the Senate will choose to act on the bill, however the Chair of Senate Higher Education has expressed concerns.
We are still awaiting a budget release by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. It was rumored that we might see something this week, but it’s looking like next week sometime is the soonest we will see something.