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News and Updates

Lt. Gov. Heck & Sen. Schoesler connect with new UW faculty members

New faculty members participating in the annual five-day Faculty Field Tour traveled around Washington last week to explore our state’s diverse communities, learn about the UW’s impact across the state, and get to know the regions that UW students come from.

One of their first stops was Olympia to meet with Lt. Gov. Denny Heck, who acts as the Governor when the Governor is out of state, presidents over the Senate and interprets Senate conduct and procedure rules, and serves on and appoints members to committees, boards, and commissions. Lt. Gov. Heck was elected in 2020 after serving in Congress and the State House of Representatives. He also grew several small businesses in Washington. During their visit, the faculty learned about how our state’s government works and had the opportunity to ask Lt. Gov. Heck about his role and experiences in Olympia.

Later in the week, the faculty visited Sen. Mark Schoesler at his family’s fifth-generation farm in Ritzville to learn about Washington’s rural communities, the history of the region, and dryland wheat farming and economics. They also had the opportunity to view and sit in some of his farming equipment, including a combine and sprayer. Sen. Schoesler has served in the legislature since 1992, first as a Representative, and represents the 9th legislative district, which spans part or all of Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Lincoln, Spokane, and Whitman counties.

After visiting the Schoesler farm, the faculty traveled to Spokane and then headed to the Grand Coulee Dam and to meet with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Thank you, Lt. Gov. Heck and Sen. Schoesler, for spending time with our new faculty members and for your support of the UW.

Lt. Gov. Denny Heck speaking with UW faculty
Sen. Mark Schoesler & UW faculty in front of his wheat field

 

Sen. Nguyen attends the UW Clean Energy Institute’s first community capstone showcase

Left to right: Daniel Schwartz, CEI; Ash Awad, McKinstry; Maria Batayola, Beacon Hill Council; Sen. Joe Nguyễn; Cheryl Chan Hardee, Dept. of Commerce; Robert Knapp, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

Yesterday, the UW Clean Energy Institute (CEI) held its first annual community capstone showcase where teams of UW engineering seniors presented their clean energy solutions capstone projects. These projects were codeveloped with local tribes and urban and rural communities in Washington giving the students valuable hands-on experience with real world clients and providing the communities with a roadmap to a pressing clean energy need or challenge. Also in attendance were community representatives and UW scholars working on the equitable adoption of clean energy technologies.

The mission of CEI is to accelerate a scalable and equitable clean energy future that will improve the health and economy of our state, nation, and world. To help accomplish this, CEI supports the advancement of next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid. Additionally, through its community engagement work, CEI provides communities with technical assistance for clean energy projects, partnerships with scholars and students to co-design and perform research, and clean energy education and training modules. The goal is to support community decision-making and participation in federal and state programs for decarbonization and resiliency, while providing students and scholars with applied research opportunities.

The showcase was held in partnership with McKinstry, who is a national leader in designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining high-performing buildings with decarbonization in mind. McKinstry has been very supportive of the UW and our students through various projects and efforts such as the community capstone showcase.

The showcase and projects presented would not have been possible without investments made by the state of Washington. In attendance at the event was Sen. Joe Nguyễn, who was instrumental in securing support in Olympia for CEI and clean energy initiatives. He took the opportunity to speak to those gathered about the importance of past and continued investments in clean energy for the vitality of our local communities, the state, and the world. He also viewed the capstone projects, met with the students and community partners that developed them, and asked questions about what they aimed to solve, potential impact, and their short- and long-term goals.

Thank you, Sen. Nguyễn, for attending yesterday’s showcase and for your support of the UW and our students.

Ribbon cutting marks the opening of the new UW Center for Behavioral Health & Learning

Rep. Frank Chopp, Gov. Jay Inslee, UW Medicine State Relations Director Rashi Gupta, Sen. Manka Dhingra, UW Medical Center CEO Cindy Hecker, UW Medicine CEO Tim Dellit, UW President Ana Mari Cauce

Gov. Jay Inslee, state elected officials, UW President Ana Mari Cauce, UW Medicine CEO Tim Dellit, and community leaders gathered yesterday, May 15 for the ribbon cutting of the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning.

The six-story facility on the UW Medical Center-Northwest campus houses 150 behavioral health care beds serving long-term civil commitment patients, geropsychiatry patients, and acute-care medical and surgical patients who also have mental health challenges. The facility supports a full continuum of behavioral health services, including a crisis stabilization unit, modern neuromodulation treatments, transition support to community-based living, and 24/7 telepsychiatry consultation that allows UW experts to consult with primary care, community hospital, and emergency room providers across the state.

The center also integrates an interdisciplinary training and workforce development program focused on preparing and supporting the next generation of behavioral health providers for the state.

The state funded the construction of this one-of-a-kind facility starting in the 2021 legislative session to expand needed behavioral health services and address the urgent behavioral health workforce shortage in Washington. The center was brought to fruition with strong bipartisan support.

Instrumental in securing support for the building, Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Frank Chopp, and Sens. Manka Dhingra and John Braun spoke at the gathering. They thanked everyone involved in the planning, funding, and construction of the facility and emphasized how the behavioral health care and workforce development that will occur at the center will benefit individuals and families across Washington State.

Also in attendance were Sens. Annette Cleveland, Jamie Pedersen, June Robinson, and Javier Valdez; Reps. Steve Bergquist, Lisa Callan, Darya Farivar, Nicole Macri, Cindy Ryu, Vandana Slatter, My-Linh Thai, Steve Tharinger, and Keith Wagoner; former Sen. David Frockt and Rep. Eileen Cody.

Thank you to the elected officials, gubernatorial and legislative staff, and UW community leaders whose advocacy and support made the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning a reality.

See UW Medicine’s news release here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures – Top Left: Sens. John Braun & Manka Dhingra; Top Middle: Reps. Frank Chopp & Keith Wagoner; Top Right: Sen. Jamie Pedersen, Rep. My-Linh Thai, Sen. Javier Valdez; Middle Left: Reps. Steve Bergquist & Nicole Macri; Middle: Rep. Steve Tharinger & K.D. Chapman-See; Middle Right: Sen. Annette Cleveland & former Sen. David Frockt; Bottom Left: Rep. Darya Farivar, Lindsey Grad, Jane Hopkins; Bottom Right: Group

It’s campaign season! Reminder: UW employees cannot engage using public resources

Washington candidate filing week for the 2024 general election on Nov. 5 ends today. People interested in running for statewide or state legislative offices, along with federal and court positions, must file for election with the Secretary of State no later than 5 p.m. today to appear on the ballot. Positions that have more than two candidates file will appear on the Aug. 6 primary ballot. In Washington, the top-two candidates, regardless of political affiliation, who receive the most votes in the primary election move on to the general election.

This year, all 98 seats in Washington’s House of Representatives are up for election, as well as 25 of the 49 Senate seats. Also on the ballot will be the following statewide elected positions: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, auditor, superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner, and commissioner of public lands.

This year’s ballot will also feature three ballot initiatives:

  • I-2109, repeals the state capital gains tax.
  • I-2117, repeals the state Climate Commitment Act, which created a cap-and-invest carbon market.
  • I-2124, allows people to opt out of the payroll tax that funds WA Cares, the state’s long-term care insurance program.

As a reminder, the UW is a public state agency so certain advocacy activities are limited or barred under state law. This includes prohibiting University employees from engaging in campaigns or ballot initiatives using public resources. At a high level, public agencies and employees are not allowed to:

  • Engage in grassroots or other indirect forms of lobbying or advocacy, such as sending communications using your UW email encouraging support for or against a candidate or initiative.
  • Spend public funds directly or indirectly (e.g. use of facilities) for campaigns.
  • Use public resources to support or oppose a ballot measure such as an initiative or referendum to the people.

For more information about the advocacy laws and guidelines UW employees must follow click here. More detailed information can also be found on the Washington Public Disclosure Commission website.

It is the responsibility of public employees to adhere to the law. Please note that nothing prevents UW employees from expressing personal views or engaging in campaigns or initiatives on personal time with personal resources.

Questions? Contact Morgan Hickel with the Office of State Relations at mhickel@uw.edu.

Spokane-area legislators celebrate UW rural dentistry program expansion

Last week, Spokane-area legislators joined community members and University leaders, including President Ana Mari Cauce, to celebrate the expansion of the UW School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, which was funded by the state this past legislative session.

The RIDE program aims to develop dentists who are committed to practicing in Washington’s rural and underserved communities. The innovative training model immerses students in community-based clinics to gain valuable field experience while also providing high quality dental care to areas with access to care challenges. RIDE has proven successful with more than 70% of graduates returning to rural and underserved communities in Washington and the region. This is notable given the national rate of DDS graduates practicing in these communities hovers below 10%.

Currently, RIDE students spend their first year of dental school at Eastern Washington University in Spokane and complete two clinical rotations at Community Health Centers in central and eastern Washington. To meet rising demand from students and local communities, the UW received funding to increase the number of dental students trained from 32 to 64 (from 8 to 16 per cohort) and by adding a second year of curriculum to the educational program in Spokane.

Critical supporters of the RIDE expansion in Olympia, Sen. Andy Billig and Reps. Marcus Riccelli and Joe Schmick joined the celebration and spoke to those gathered about their gratitude for the program, excitement for its growth, and the need for high quality dental care providers in eastern Washington. They also took the opportunity to connect with current RIDE students to learn about their experiences in the program and goals for the future.

Thank you, Sen. Billig and Reps. Riccelli and Schmick, for joining the event and helping to secure funding in the supplemental operating budget for this important and impactful program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures – Top Left: Rep. Marcus Riccelli with RIDE students Rafael Urrutia and Jodi Signer; Top Right: Rep. Joe Schmick; Bottom: Sen. Andy Billig.

2024 session debrief and 2025-27 state budget request process Q&A, April 5

Alongside UW Finance, Planning & Budgeting, the Office of State Relations will hold a 2024 legislative session debrief and 2025-27 state budget request process Q&A on Friday, April 5 from 11:00am-12:00pm via Zoom.

Highlights from this session will be shared, as well as a brief review of the final supplemental operating and capital budgets. A preview of what was included in the compromise budgets for the UW can be found here. Additionally, a good portion of the meeting will be dedicated to sharing information about how the UW’s 2025 legislative agenda will be formed and how to engage in the process.

To provide some background, Washington has a two-year budget cycle, with the biennial operating, capital, and transportations budget determined during the long 105-day legislative sessions held in odd-numbered years (e.g., 2025). The supplemental budget, negotiated during short legislative sessions held in even-numbered years (e.g., 2026), makes modest adjustments to the biennial budgets already in effect.

Before a biennial session, the UW President and Provost lead a process to establish the University’s legislative agenda with ideas and input from the campus community. The legislative agenda is finalized by September when it is submitted, as required by law, as decision packages to the state.

For the Zoom meeting link, please contact Morgan Hickel at mhickel@uw.edu. Due to the limited time available, questions are encouraged to be submitted beforehand to Morgan so they can be addressed in remarks.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs SB 5913 into law with prime sponsor Sen. Javier Valdez (center), UW Director of State Relations Joe Dacca (right), and WSU Sr. Director of State Relations Chris Mulick

Session News: Supplemental operating and capital budgets fund the UW’s priorities

The state’s supplemental operating and capital budgets were unveiled with funding included for all of the UW’s top priorities. Both budgets will be voted on by the House and Senate in the next 24 hours. The 2024 legislative session is scheduled to end on time tomorrow. After, the budgets will be delivered to the Governor for his consideration and signature.

In the operating budget, major investments for the UW and UW Medicine included:

  • $2.5M (ongoing) to expand the School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, which trains dentists to serve the state’s rural and underserved populations.
  • $330,000 (FY25), $455,000 (ongoing) for The Allen School Scholars Program, a one-year cohort-based program that supports students who are first generation, low-income, and from underserved communities who are pursuing a degree in computer science and computer engineering.
  • $60M (one-time) for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center to support their critical safety net care and medical training missions for the state.
  • $20M (one-time) for the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning (formerly Behavioral Health Teaching Facility) at UW Medical Center-Northwest.

Overall, the University’s section of the operating budget included funding for over 25 new provisos including funding to implement legislation.

Notable policy passed this session includes:

  • House Bill 2112 requires opioid and fentanyl prevention education and resources at higher education institutions.
  • House Bill 2348 expands existing county taxing authority which allows operational support for Harborview Medical Center.
  • Senate Bill 5913 permits communication between employees of state institutions of higher education and student athletes regarding name, image, and likeness use.

The capital budget also makes significant investments in the UW:

  • $5M to design the modernization of Chemical Sciences and renovation of Bagley Hall
  • $38.9M for energy renewal and decarbonization projects, including centralized chilled water capacity improvements in Seattle, gas boiler replacements at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, HVAC systems renewal at UWMC-Montlake, and central utility planning at UWMC-Northwest.
  • $5M for Harborview Medical Center for predesign, siting, and design costs for the Behavioral Health Institute building and Pioneer Square behavioral health clinic.
  • $2.58M to renovate the UW soccer practice field for the 2026 World Cup.

UW Finance, Planning & Budgeting will post a comprehensive summary of the budgets on their briefs page in the next few days.

A session debrief will be scheduled in a few weeks so stay tuned for the details. In the meantime, contact the Office of State Relations with questions about the final budgets

Session News: UW Regents thank lawmakers for continued support of the UW

UW Regents Jay Cunningham, Leonor Fuller, and David Zeeck and former Regent Herb Simon traveled to Olympia today to thank legislators for the investments included for the University in the House and Senate operating and capital budget proposals and to encourage them to retain those investments in the final compromise budgets.

The House and Senate supported all of the UW’s top requests in their budget proposals. Their operating budget proposals appropriated funding for the School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, the Allen School Computer Science & Engineering Scholars (formerly Startup) Program, and UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center. On the capital side, funds were provided to design the modernization of Chemical Science and renovation of Bagley Hall, as well as for energy renewal and decarbonization projects on all three UW campuses – Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma – and UW Medical Center-Montlake and -Northwest.

The regents’ visit and message of thanks was well-timed since lawmakers from both chambers are actively negotiating the final budgets, which are likely to be released the week of March 4. The last day of session, known as Sine Die, is scheduled for March 7.

For questions about the budgets or legislative process, contact the Office of State Relations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures – Left: Regents Cunningham and Fuller, Rep. Darya Farivar, Regent Zeeck, former Regent Simon; Right: Regents with Rep. Mari Leavitt

 

Session News: House publishes operating and capital budget proposals

Following the release of the Senate budget proposals, the House unveiled their operating and capital budget proposals today with funding for the UW’s priorities.

Operating Budget

  • $2.5M (ongoing) to expand the School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, which trains dentists to serve the state’s rural and underserved populations.
  • $330,000 in FY25, $455,000 ongoing for the Allen School Scholars Program (formerly Startup), a one-year cohort-based program to support students who are first generation, low-income, and/or from underserved communities who are pursuing a degree in computer sciences or computer engineering.
  • $50M (one-time) for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center to support their critical and impactful safety net care and medical training missions for the state.
  • $20M (one-time) for the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning (formerly Behavioral Health Teaching Facility) at UW Medical Center-Northwest.

On these items, the House budget proposal almost mirrors the Senate proposal. The Senate provided additional support for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center. Like in the Senate, the House also funded various policy bills and studies.

Capital Budget

  • $5M for the modernization of Chemical Sciences and renovation of Bagley Hall.
  • $38.9M from the Climate Commitment Account for energy renewal and decarbonization projects, including centralized chilled water capacity improvements in Seattle, gas boiler replacements at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, HVAC systems renewal at UW Medical Center Montlake, and central utility planning at UW Medical Center Northwest.

The House and Senate budget proposals are identical on these projects.

Now that both chambers have released their budget proposals, budget writers will work to reconcile the proposals into one operating and one capital budget. The House and Senate must pass the budgets before the end of session on March 7.

A detailed overview of the House and Senate budget proposals can be found on the UW Office of Planning & Budgeting’s briefs page. For questions about the budgets, contact the Office of State Relations.

Session News: Senate operating budget proposal funds UW priorities

The Senate published their operating budget proposal this evening with the following investments for the UW:

  • $2.5M (ongoing) to expand the School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, which trains dentists to serve the state’s rural and underserved populations.
  • $330,000 in FY25, $455,000 ongoing for The Allen School Scholars Program (formerly Startup), a one-year cohort-based program to support students who are first generation, low-income, and/or from underserved communities who are pursuing a degree in computer sciences or computer engineering.
  • $65M (one-time) for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center to support their critical and impactful safety net care and medical training missions for the state.
  • $20M (one-time) for the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning (formerly Behavioral Health Teaching Facility) at UW Medical Center-Northwest.

Additionally, the proposal funds six policy bills, including codifying the Washington State elections database and extending the implementation timeline for 988 suicide prevention and mental health crisis system.

The House will release their operating and capital budget proposals tomorrow. The Senate has already unveiled their capital budget proposal, which funds the UW’s top priorities. Details about the Senate capital budget proposal can be found here.

After both chambers have released their proposals, budget writers will work to negotiate the final budgets. The budgets must be voted out of both the House and Senate by the last day of session, known as Sine Die, on March 7. They will then head to the Governor’s desk for consideration.

For questions about the budgets, please contact the Office of State Relations.