Bev Schaefer, Council President, and fellow East Valley EA member in Couer d'Alene for IEA rallyWe've hit the first cut-off date for the legislative session, which means that policy bills that didn't make it out of their respective origin point (the House or Senate) are considered "dead".  Some of the bills that failed:

*HB1025 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1025) was the bill that would have removed the requirement to provide PE in the elementary schools, which would have made it possible to eliminate PE programs.  It had a hearing but went no farther.

*SB5399 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5399&year=2011) would have linked layoff to evaluation and required that the principal approved of any transfer before it happened.  Every one of the professional organizations opposed the bill, and in the Senate it never received a hearing.

*HB1325 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1325&year=2011) was this year's attempt at school district consolidation.  It had a hearing before the House Education committee, but didn't go any farther.

Remember, though, that many of these bills are like that scene in The Princess Bride (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9tAKLTktY0), where the difference between mostly dead and all dead can change with the drop of an amendment.  If anything comes up, we'll let you know!

The Next Big Legislative Battle:  The Budget. There's another Revenue Forecast coming out on March 17th, and that will determine the number that the legislature has to work on for the 2011-2013 fiscal years.  The pieces that are under attack are the usual--levy equalization, gifted education funding, and the K-3 class size money--along with a potential "freeze" of the salary scale and discussion about how the national board stipends will work.

We've had a reasonable amount of success up to this point, but there's still innumerable battles ahead of us.  If you haven't done your WEA-PAC drive for the year yet, it would be a great time!

Lobbying: We have another one of our Eastern Region lobbying trips this week (look for a report on the website soon).  A big thank you to all of you who emailed the area Representatives about the PE bill mentioned above; your voice made a difference!

As always, if you have any political questions feel free to send them to me at ryanandpaula@juno.com, or call me on my cell phone: 951-1290.  If you'd like me to come out and speak to your members let me know--I'm more than happy to make the trip!

With thanks, and in solidarity,

--Ryan--