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Session News: School of Dentistry and Allen School promote UW legislative requests

Tomorrow will be the halfway point of session, and today is fiscal committee cutoff. Proposed legislation that impacts the state’s operating, capital, or transportation budgets must be considered in the relevant fiscal committee and be voted out of committee today to stay alive.

Some of the bills relevant to the higher education sector that will continue through the legislative process include:

  • House Bill (HB) 2112, concerning opioid and fentanyl prevention education and awareness at institutions of higher education;
  • HB 2214, permitting beneficiaries of public assistance programs to automatically qualify as income-eligible for the purpose of receiving the Washington college grant;
  • Senate Bill (SB) 5837, codifying the state election database at the UW to publish, evaluate, and analyze certain election data.

For questions about bills or the legislative process, contact the UW Office of State Relations here.

Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE)

Last week, representatives from the School of Dentistry met with legislators to champion the expansion of the RIDE program located in Spokane, which is at the top of the UW’s legislative agenda.

In their meetings, Dean Andre Ritter, RIDE Director Frank Roberts, RIDE Director of Operations Jennifer Grant, and RIDE student Trevor Bushman shared that the program works to develop dentists who are committed to practicing in Washington’s rural and underserved communities and has proven successful in doing so with more than 80% of students returning to these communities. They also highlighted RIDE’s innovative training model, which immerses students in community-based clinics to gain valuable field experience while providing high quality dental care to areas with access to care challenges.

They finished their meetings by asking for funding to enhance to program by doubling the numbers of students trained from 32 to 64 and adding a second year of curriculum based in Spokane. They received positive feedback on the request.

Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering Startup (now Allen Scholars) Program

Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair Emeritus of the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, and Magdalena Balazinska, Director and Bill & Melinda Gates Chair of the Allen School, met with legislators to advocate for permanent funding for the Allen Scholars Program. This request is on the UW’s legislative agenda.

Allen Scholars is a year long cohort-based program that provides academic and holistic supports to students who are first generation, low income, and/or did not have access to advanced high school classes to help them succeed in the Allen School and ultimately, the workforce.

The legislature provided one-time funding for the program in fiscal year 2023 and partial one-time funding in the current biennium (2023-25). The UW request bridges the funding gap in fiscal year 2025 and makes the funding permanent for the program thereafter.


Pictures – Top: Frank Roberts, Jennifer Grant, Dean Andre Ritter, Trevor Bushman; Bottom: Ed Lazowska, Sen. Drew Hansen, Magdalena Balazinska