This Week in the Legislature: Report from Jim Kainber

February 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm Leave a comment

Monday there was a hearing on SB 5607, the Full Funding Coalition alternative to 5444. We had Shawn Hanson from our Bellevue Chapter make a thoughtful case for why Stand was supporting 5444 over 5607. Jim Kainber, our Stand for Children lobbyist also spoke in opposition. There was a drastically different tone from the testimony on 5444 – the members of the Full Funding Coalition were all signaling their desire to work toward a common bill.

The Excellent Schools Now! Coalition partners, Partnership for Learning, the League of Education Voters and the Washington State PTA joined Stand in testifying against the bill.

Senator McAuliffe, the Senate K-12 Education Committee Chair signaled that she is interested in compromise language for the bill, but there is such a chasm between 5444 and 5607 that we are hopeful that the senators will use SB 5444 as the template for an eventual compromise.

Later in the week we met with a number of legislators who signaled interest in advancing 1410/5444, though many are waiting to see what House and Senate leadership plans for the bills.

We have had preliminary talks with members of the Governor’s staff and she has indicated that she is interested with parts of the provisions found in 5444/1410, though she has asked legislators to address some issues she had with the bills through the amendment process. More on this as it develops.

Our Coalition was dealt a minor setback this week when executive session (when a committee takes action to move a bill out, or to defeat it) that was scheduled on HB 1410 was cancelled abruptly by the Education Appropriations Committee Chair. Stand will meet with Kathy Haigh, who served on the Basic Education Task Force, and has a very strong track record working for public education, to encourage her to schedule committee action on the bill.

Stand is also working closely with other partners to ensure that funding for teacher mentoring, which would be gutted under Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget, is saved in the House and Senate budget documents that are being prepared in the Ways and Means Committees.

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