At about 1:00 a.m. this morning, weary members of the House Appropriations Committee passed SHB 1128 — the House Democrats version of the 2007-09 biennial operating budget. Numerous amendments were considered, debated and passed in the more than nine hours that elapsed from the time committee members convened at 3:30 p.m. the prior afternoon.
There were a few changes affecting the budget for the UW which should be mentioned. First, Rep. Jeannie Darnielle (D-Tacoma) succeeded in adding $1 million to the University’s general fund appropriation for a law school loan repayment program for students who choose careers in the public service. This increase was partially offset by a switch in funding sources for the costs to the UW Sea Grant program to implement 2SHB 2280 related to geoduck aquaculture. Funding was moved from the state general fund to the Geoduck Aquaculture Research Account. These two changes result in a net increase in the state funds budget for the UW of $200,000.
One other change of note involves a proposed study of higher education long term capital needs. The committee adopted an amendment to move responsibility for conducting the study from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Instead of considering the operating budget on the floor tomorrow (Friday) as was originally planned, House leaders have indicated that budget will be considered in the full House on Monday March 26. Senate officials have also indicated that they intend to delay the release of their budget proposals until Wednesday March 28.