Senate approves gay marriage bill as legislature nears first deadline

The state Senate tonight approved SB 6239, which redefines marriage as “…a civil contract between two persons who are at least 18 years old and who are otherwise capable.” The bill, which would make same-sex marriage legal in Washington, does not compel religious officials and the clergy to “solemnize any marriage.”  The measure, requested by the governor, now goes to the House for consideration.

A tax proposal to back-fill deep cuts in education is looking less and less likely. In order to cut $1 billion-plus from the budget, therefore, the legislature will consider cuts to baccalaureates of up to $150 million.

Feb. 3 is the deadline for bills to be voted out of the committee in which they originated. Budget bills are exempt from the deadline. Here’s a quick look at where some of the key bills are, two days before “cut-off”:



A P means a bill has moved forward in the legislative process since the last edition of the Bill Watch.


Bill Subject Area / Effect Status


SB 6029 Requiring three-year degree programs to be offered by fall 2012. PSenate Ways & Means
HB 2258 Requiring an online higher education transfer and student advising system. House Higher Ed
HB 2436 Requiring quarterly academic advising for students at institutions of higher education. House Higher Ed
HB 2606

SB 6348

Creates the laboratory school partnership program to bring together PBIs  and low-achieving public schools to accelerate student achievement and deepen the knowledge and skills of educators. House Education

Senate Early Learning

HB 2533 Creating an education-only budget: Requires all appropriations for K-12 basic education, together with appropriations for other K-12 education programs, to be enacted into law before the legislature takes executive action on other budget bills. House Appropriations
SB 6438 Requires school districts, under certain circumstances, to provide remedial education for recent high school graduates or pay the cost of providing state-supported remedial classes for those students. Senate Early Learning


SB 6121 Requiring the office of student financial assistance to provide financial aid counseling curriculum for institutions of higher education. Senate Ways & Means
HB 2352 Requires the S&A fee committee at each baccalaureate, in coordination with the administration of the institution of higher education, to post services and activities fees expenditure information for the prior academic year on the college or university web site. House Rules
HB 2478 Requires a student auditing committee to be created at each four-year institution of higher education. House Higher Ed

Financial Aid

HB 2254 Makes the Passport to College Promise permanent, expands goals to include high school graduation of foster youth. House Ways & Means


SB 6232*


Creates the student achievement council to set goals and monitor progress for increasing the educational attainment; and (2) Connect the work of education agencies and institutions. Assumes the powers, duties, and functions of the HECB. Senate Ways & Means
HB 2483* Creates the Student Achievement Council as a new state agency to replace the HECB and assume the duties of the HECB.  

*These bills are morphing rapidly and are long and dense. Here ( is a good comparison of the two bills. It’s 20 pages, but the gist is in the first four.




About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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