Students from Washington’s baccalaureates converged on the capitol campus today to rally support for public higher education and forestall additional legislative raids on tuition. More than 20 CWU students visited offices of lawmakers from King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties distributing CWU pennants specially designed to note the number of CWU students from those counties. (Thank you David Matayoshi, Teri Olin, and Marisa Christian for creating these pennants so quickly!)
A bill to reduce state employees’ salaries has begun circulating. The bill is in the draft stages tonight; it doesn’t even have a number yet. It proposes to reduce base salaries for state employees by 3 percent through the 2011 – 2013 biennium. BUT — the bill has a special section for higher education, directing institutions to achieve whatever total cut in wages is set forth in the budget. This bill, like all others, now must go through the gauntlet of committee hearings, amendments, and negotiations–and it may look much different at the end of the process than at the beginning. Because it can be considered “necessary to implement the budget” this bill would be exempt from legislative deadlines. I’ll save a more detailed analysis for a bit later in the process when the ink has dried on the language.
Today was a legislative “cut-off” day; bills had to have been voted out of the policy committee in which they began in order to continue in the process. Some of the bills consigned to the dust bin (unless someone revives them):
- HB 1863 – Directs WWU to coordinate a veterans leadership program in partnership with regional colleges.
- HB 1654 – Requires resident students to pay out of state tuition rates for credits over 125 percent of what is required for a specific degree.
- HB 1962 – Reduces red tape for universities for purchasing, contracting, and other activities regulated by the state.
- HJR 4220, which eliminates the state Superintendent of Public Instruction and HB 1849, which sets up a statewide “Education Council”
- SB 5287 – Authorizes Snohomish Polytech College and allows Snohomish County to establish a taxing district to finance the a new college
- SB 5608 – Increases assistance for student veterans at institutions of higher education
- SB 5719 – Requires universities to freeze tuition for disabled students at the rate in effect upon admission.