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News and Updates

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

  • $5 million 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.

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.

Session News: Senate releases capital budget with funding for UW Chemical Sciences and energy renewal projects

The Senate unveiled their capital budget proposal today with full funding for the UW’s top capital request: $5 million for the modernization of Chemical Sciences and renovation of Bagley Hall. The proposal also funded five UW energy renewal and decarbonization projects using Climate Commitment Act dollars, 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 proposal will be heard tonight in the Ways & Means Committee and Joe Dacca, Director of State Relations, will testify in support. The House will release their capital budget proposal in the next few days and it will be heard in the Capital Budget Committee this upcoming Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Regarding the operating budgets, the Senate plans to unveil their proposal this Sunday, Feb. 18 and the House will release theirs Monday afternoon. Both will be heard in their respective fiscal committees, Ways & Means and Appropriations, Monday evening. After the proposals are heard, budget writers from both chambers will work to reconcile them. Final budgets will be released and voted on before the end of legislative session on March 7.

For questions about the budget proposals or process, contact the Office of State Relations here.

Session News: Forecast shows state revenue growth, but its slowing

The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council published the state’s quarterly revenue forecast today; the first since the start of the 2024 legislative session. Since the last forecast in November, revenue is projected to increase by $122 million for 2023-25 with general fund revenue totaling $63.58 billion for the biennium, which is up $53.4 million. For the upcoming 2025-27 biennium, general fund revenue is forecasted at $68.06 million, an increase of $168.6 million from November.

The forecast of revenue dedicated to the Workforce Education Investment Account (WEIA), which funds many higher education priorities, is now estimated at $855.7 million for the 2023-25 biennium and $909.9 million for the 2025-27 biennium. Both are up slightly from the November forecast.

Washington job growth has been stronger than expected compared to November with an expected increase of 1.4% in employment this year. Additionally, the state’s unemployment rate remains low at 4.2%. However, Seattle-area consumer price inflation continues to outpace the national average and home prices are declining.

Overall, the forecast shows that while the economy is still growing, growth is starting to slow.

For questions, contact the Office of State Relations here.

Session News: Learn how a bill becomes a law as house of origin cutoff approaches

UW President Ana Mari Cauce & Sen. Javier Valdez

It’s day 36 of the 60-day legislative session. UW President Ana Mari Cauce and UW Medicine CEO Tim Dellit were in Olympia today championing the UW’s legislative requests before the House and Senate release their operating and capital budget proposals. The Senate will unveil their proposals first with the House following closely after.

Tomorrow is house of origin cutoff, meaning that bills that do not pass out of the chamber they were introduced in are considered dead unless necessary to implement the budget (NTIB). For those not familiar with Washington’s legislative process, the legislative cycle is two-years and in the first year of the biennium, odd-numbered years, the legislature meets for 105 calendar days to write and pass the state’s two-year operating, capital, and transportation budgets. In the second year of the biennium, even-numbered years, the legislature meets for a short, 60-day session, where they make edits to the budgets passed in the previous session.

In addition to budget work, bills are introduced, debated, and passed during session. The chamber, House of Representatives or Senate, a bill is introduced in is considered its “house of origin.” After a bill is introduced, it’s first referred to a policy, or subject-matter, committee for consideration. For example, legislation introduced in the Senate concerning higher education student support services will be sent to the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development committee. The policy committee will then hold a public hearing on the bill to get stakeholder input and decide whether or not to vote to move it out of committee. They may pass a bill out of committee as is or choose to amend it. They may also opt not to take any action on a bill.

After legislation moves out of its policy committee, it is referred to a fiscal committee if it impacts one or more of the state’s budgets. In the House, these committees are Appropriations, Capital Budget, Finance, and Transportation. In the Senate, they are Way & Means and Transportation. These committees are led by the state’s budget writers, but the process remains the same as in the policy committees. If a policy is not voted out of its house of origin policy or fiscal committees by specific cutoff dates, it is considered dead unless necessary to implement the budget (NTIB).

From this point, bills are sent to their house of origin Rules Committee, which decides which bills will be considered for floor debate. Members of the committee “pull” bills out of Rules and place them on the floor calendar for consideration by the entire chamber of the House or Senate. They may also choose not to take action on a bill. Essentially, committees act as a funnel; thinning and prioritizing what legislation will continue to move through the process toward becoming law.

Next up is floor action. The floor is where the entire chamber of the House or Senate hear a bill, debate on it, and take a vote. They may also amend legislation being considered. If no action is taken on policy in the Rules Committee or on the floor, the bill is moved to the X-File, where it is no longer eligible for consideration.

Once a bill has passed off the floor, it must go to the opposite chamber and repeat the process. House bills are heard in the Senate and vice versa. If the opposite chamber amends a bill, the house of origin must concur with the changes or work with the opposite chamber to reconcile the different versions of the bill. Ultimately, both chambers must pass the same version of the bill.

When both chambers pass a bill, it is signed by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate and sent to the Governor’s desk. The Governor then must decide to sign the bill into law or veto all or part of it. If a bill is signed into law, it becomes part of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

For questions about the legislative process of the UW’s legislative priorities, contact the Office of State Relations here.

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

 

Session News: Legislature hits first milestone with policy committee cutoff

Today is day 25 of the 60-day legislative session, and yesterday was policy committee cutoff. Bills are first referred to a policy, or subject matter, committee for consideration. Policy cutoff is a key milestone in the legislative calendar, determining which bills will continue progressing through the process. Proposed legislation that was not passed by the policy committee are now considered dead unless they’re necessary to implement the budget (NTIB).

After bills move out of policy committee, they are referred to a fiscal committee if they impact to the state’s operating, capital, or transportation budgets. Fiscal committee cutoff is on Monday, Feb. 5, meaning proposed legislation will be further filtered.

Several bills relevant to the higher education sector remain at play, including:

  • 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;
  • HB 2242, supporting sexual assault survivors at institutions of higher education;
  • HB 2309, establishing the Washington 13 free guarantee;
  • Senate Bill (SB) 5837, codifying the state election database at the UW to publish, evaluate, and analyze certain election data.

All of the these bills have a fiscal impact so must be heard and voted on in their appropriate fiscal committee. If they are passed in their fiscal committee, they will move to the Rules Committee and then to the floor for consideration by the entire body of the chamber the legislation was introduced in.

If you have questions about any of the bills being considered or the legislative process, please reach out to the Office of State Relations. More information about the legislative process and policy can also be found on the Washington State Legislature website.

Session News: President Cauce advocates for UW legislative agenda during Olympia visit

Yesterday, UW President Ana Mari Cauce came to Olympia for the first time this session to further the University’s legislative agenda. President Cauce met with a variety of lawmakers on the UW’s priorities, including expanding the School of Dentistry’s rural dental education program (RIDE) and providing permanent funding for the Startup Program in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. With capital budget leaders, she advocated for funding to design a new Chemical Sciences Building and modernize Bagley Hall and for Climate Commitment Account dollars to support decarbonization projects at all three of UW’s campuses.

She also emphasized the importance of funding UW Medical Center (UWMC) and Harborview Medical Center (HMC), which serve as the safety-net hospitals for the state. Serving the medical and behavioral health needs of Washington residents is more important than ever, especially for those who are most vulnerable. Additionally, UWMC and HMC train the next generation of health care workers, which must be prioritized to ensure the vitality of the state.

After her meetings, President Cauce met with the presidents of Washington’s other public four-year baccalaureate institutions and attended the Council of Presidents legislative reception, where she was able to connect further with elected officials, legislative and gubernatorial staff, and higher education stakeholders.

Thank you President Cauce for your tireless advocacy of the UW!

         

Pictures – Left: President Ana Mari Cauce, Smokey the Bear, and Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Chair T’wina Nobles; Right: President Cauce and House Health Care & Wellness Committee Chair Marcus Riccelli

Session News: Senate has a new higher education committee chair

Sen. T’wina Nobles is the new chair of the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee and today, presided over her first committee meeting as chair. Sen. Emily Randall previously served as chair of the committee.

Sen. Nobles represents the 28th legislative district, which includes the cities of Fircrest, Lakewood, Steilacoom, Dupont, University Place, Tacoma, Anderson Island, Ketron Island, McNiel Island, as well as Joint Base Lewis McChord. She is a former teacher at Stadium High School and Lincoln High School and since 2016, has served on the University Place School Board. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from University of Puget Sound after transferring from Tacoma Community College.

She has served on the Senate higher education committee since she was sworn into office in 2021. She is also the vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and sits on the Transportation Committee and the Behavioral Health Subcommittee.

To learn more about Sen. Nobles, visit her website here.