Opinion Columns & Blogs

Status of WSU med-school bill

The state House and Senate both approved a bill authorizing Washington State University to teach medicine and forestry as major lines of study. The WSU board of regents also is authorized to establish its own medical school. House Bill 1559 now awaits signing by Gov. Jay Inslee, who was scheduled to take action Wednesday (April 1).

The bill does not come with financing. But House Democrats have proposed a state operating budget for 2015-17 that shifts an ongoing allocation of nearly $9.4 million to the University of Washington; that money had been given to WSU as a pass-through for the benefit of the UW branch medical school in Spokane. The budget also provides $8 million for WSU to begin developing its own school.

Capital budget decisions for the two universities’ facility needs in Spokane could be deferred. UW leases space in a WSU-owned building and would seek to continue that arrangement until finding its own space.