2015 Legislative Session
April 03, 2015
Olympia has been buzzing during the past week due to the House of Representatives releasing their operating and capital budget proposals on March 27, and the Senate releasing their operating budget proposal on March 31.
In terms of higher education, there are key differences between the two operating proposals. The House proposes a tuition freeze, while the Senate proposes a tuition reduction. Western testified on both budget proposals, recognizing that the Senate and the House proposals each highlight the importance of our state’s public universities and colleges. You can read also President Shepard’s message to campus regarding the House budget proposal, and his message regarding the Senate proposal.
As for the capital budget, the House includes funding for WWU’s Carver Academic Facility and also pre-design funding for renovation of a science building. Both of these requests were funded at the same level in the House proposal as the Governor’s budget. The Senate will likely release its capital budget proposal next week. As the WLR has blogged about, funding Carver is Western’s top capital budget request for the third biennium in a row, and we remain hopeful that legislators will include Carver funding in the final budget.
The House of Representatives voted to approve their operating budget yesterday afternoon and the Senate plans to vote on their budget in the near future after considering dozens of amendments late into the night last night. Once both chambers approve a budget proposal, the next step in the process will be to work together to create a budget that both the House and the Senate support. This could takes days, weeks, or even months. The legislature is scheduled to conclude the 2015 session on April 26, but may extend into special session if a budget agreement is not reached by that time. The WLR Blog will continue to provide updates as the session progresses, stay tuned.
Until next time, go Vikings!