Western Legislative Review
Janurary 31st, 2014: Western in Olympia
Today is day 19 of the 60-day 2014 Legislative Session. Next week marks policy cutoff, meaning that policy bills must pass out of their respective committees in the House and Senate prior to the end of the week to continue in the legislative process this year. Bills being considered in House and Senate fiscal committees have until February 11th to pass committee.
Today marks the end of the third week of the session, and Western has been busy in Olympia this year. On January 20th and January 21st, President Bruce Shepard and Vice President for University Relations and Community Development Steve Swan were in Olympia for a series of productive meetings with Legislators. January 20th was also the AS Viking Lobby Day in Olympia. Associated Student leadership reported over 75 students made the trip to Olympia to meet with lawmakers.
Steve VanderStaay, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Western's representative on the Incentive Funding Taskforce was in Olympia to present to both the House and Senate on Western's future performance goals and metrics. Huxley College Professor David Wallin also made the trip to Olympia for a series of meetings with legislators regarding the exciting opportunities for Western surrounding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for research purposes.
January 27th was Regents and Trustees Day in Olympia. Western Trustee Sharpe, Trustee Flaherty, and Trustee Munro, spent the day meeting with legislators. In the evening Western Advocates sponsored a well-attended reception for legislators attended by Trustees, Regents, students, faculty, administrators, alumni and friend of all the public universities.
On Wednesday the 29th, Western hosted an informal reception at a popular Olympia pizza parlor for Western alums and Western's Political Science interns working in the legislature. Western alums Senator Jeannie Darneille and Representative Dean Takko joined the group that also included faculty, students and Western staff.
On Friday, January 31st the Senate passed the newest version of the Dream Act, called the "Real Hope Act." Senate Bill 6253 would make undocumented students eligible for the state need grant as long as they meet certain criteria. The bill now heads to the House for consideration. More detail is available in the Bill Summary. The Senate also passed Senate Bill 5318 granting in-state tuition to veterans who have not been in Washington state for long to qualify under state law. They ended the day by passing a resolution honoring the Seattle Seahawks. The full text of the resolution can be read HERE.