Jesse Young, 26th legislative district Republican, aims to reform the school assessment process so that the state’s educational focus is on learning rather than student performance on standardized tests.
HB 2670 is supported by the Washington Education Association, which reached out to Young to support the initiative.
His proposal would support “students’ rights to a quality education free from an overemphasis on standardized testing and promotes assessments directed by teachers in the classroom,” Young said in a news release sent from his office.
“This is how Olympia is supposed to work,” Young said. “It’s amazing how much common ground you can find when you’re just willing to listen. This bill would promote respect for the professional judgment of our teachers, who are trained and hired to assess our students on a daily business and who know our students’ strengths and weaknesses.”
Caldier introduces mental health communication bill
Rep. Michelle Caldier, 26th legislative district Republican, also has introduced a bill in the 2016 legislative session. Her legislation would streamline communication between jail operators and mental health centers in order to provide the necessary medication for incarcerated mentally ill individuals.
Caldier’s bill, HB 2501, centers on a software program that would enable jail operators to notify mental health centers when mentally ill patients are incarcerated. The program would provide efficient coordination to quickly get patients the medication they need, Caldier said. Her bill would require the state DSHS and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to establish a work group to adopt methods and procedures for the communication structure that would be created for jails.
According to a news release from Caldier’s office, a system already is in place in this state to relay information when mental health patients are checked into hospitals.
Four Democrats and two Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Also supporting the legislation are the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Legislature forwarding school funding plan
Meanwhile in Olympia, HB 2366 passed the House by a 64-34 vote and now moves on to the Senate. The bill directs the 2017 Legislature to change the state funding mechanism for public education. It is one resolution brought forth in response to the state Supreme Court decision holding the legislative body in contempt for not having a plan in place to sufficiently fund public education. The court justices ruled that the state’s current school funding plan did not adequately support public education. Since that decision in August, legislators are being fined $100,00 a day until they find a resolution.
Gov. Jay Inslee is optimistic the Legislature will reach an agreement suitable to both sides of the aisle. But while the bill has bipartisan support, there was skepticism expressed by some Republican members. Those voting no during the House vote were all Republicans.
Graduated income tax in our future? Probably not
No legislative session in Olympia would be complete without a proposed constitutional amendment calling for a graduated income tax in Washington state.
On Jan. 26, another measure — SJR 8214 — was introduced to amend the state Constitution to allow an income tax.
But based on past results, it stands little chance of advancing. Nine proposals have been advanced to voters, and nine times they’ve been soundly rejected. Just one vote, in 1934, recorded a yes vote tally that rose above 40 percent. In that year, HJR 12 received approval from 43 percent of voters to 57 percent who rejected it. Just two years later, voters soundly drubbed a similar measure by a 22-to-78-percent margin.
The most recent vote for a state income tax, Initiative I-1098, received only 36 percent approval from voters.In Olympia: Young introduces bill to change educational assessment emphasis; school funding lurches forward