Good morning. Today is Thursday, the 25th day of the 105-day session.
At the request of Gov. Chris Gregoire, Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, introduced Senate Bill 5639, which would set up a Department of Education. The measure would consolidate existing education governance, including the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, under the authority of an appointed, Cabinet-level secretary.
The measure also had a hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on Wednesday.
“The status quo is simply not meeting the needs of our students for the 21st century,” Gregoire said at the hearing. She argued that consolidating education governance would better prepare students to join the Washington work force.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said he disagreed with the measure because it would set up what he called a “filter system,” making the superintendent, who is an elected official, report to an appointed secretary.
Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, introduced a bill that would require school districts to use teacher evaluations instead of seniority when deciding whom to lay off during budget cuts. Under Senate Bill 5399, teachers with the highest average score over their past two annual assessments would be the last in the district to lose their jobs.
Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, introduced Senate Bill 1781, which would move the date by which state agencies must have all electric or biofuel-powered vehicles to 2018. Under current law, the deadline is 2015.
EXAMPLE SCHOOLS DESIGNATED
The superintendent of public instruction announced the selection of three schools, including Komachin Middle School in Lacey, that will offer advice on best practices in science, technology, engineering and math instruction.
The designations were required under a 2010 law and were based on student achievement, involvement of under-represented populations and involvement of business, industry and post-secondary practitioners, among other factors.
The schools, which also include Aviation High School in Des Moines and Mead High School in Spokane, are to work with the superintendent to promote their models for teaching science and math throughout the state.
The House Environment Committee is scheduled to vote on House Bill 1294, which would establish a Puget Sound Corps branch of the Washington Conservation Corps. A companion bill, Senate Bill 5230, has already passed out of committee in the Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Rep. Tina Orwall’s foreclosure mediation bill, House Bill 1362. The measure would set up a process under which a borrower could request a meeting with the lender and a third-party mediator to try to find ways to avoid foreclosure.
The committee also is scheduled to vote on House Bill 1180, which would strengthen anti-harassment orders against stalkers and the penalties for violating those orders.
The Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee will hold hearings on four of the bills, introduced by Republican Sens. Joseph Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, and Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, designed to reduce waste in the public-benefits system.
Senate bills 5327, 5328, 5329 and 5330 would create an investigations division in the auditor’s office, limit where public assistance benefit cards can be used and limit the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants to purposes benefitting children, among other rules.
The Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee will hold a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment by Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, that would make English the language of all official government proceedings in the state.
The Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 5371, which would require insurance companies to cover treatments to help people quit smoking.
The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee will hold hearings on two bills that would mitigate the costs of buses for schools. One, Senate Bill 5220, would authorize school districts to allow advertising on school buses, and the other, Senate Bill 5196, would authorize school districts to charge extra for bus service for students from outside a school’s attendance area.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings on Senate Bill 5119, which would cancel the 2012 presidential primary, and Senate Bill 5523, which would cut the state printing operation.