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Time for Action

Rep. Timm Ormsby, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee,  announced at the beginning of this afternoon’s hearing the Committee would not be hearing any other bills not yet scheduled before the legislative cut-off.  If he holds to that SSB 5354 and many other bills with wide legislative support will die. These are bills that members want to hear and that are funded in the Senate budget, including SSB 5354  We need EVERYONE to put pressure on all Appropriations members.  We also need legislators to get to Rep. Ormsby to ask him for a hearing.

Suggested talking points:

  • Legislators have required school districts to ensure equitable access to highly capable services
  • There are currently too many artificial barriers to access
  • SSB 5354 HELPS schools utilize best practices to evaluate students.  It improves highly capable programs through professional development
  • SSB 5354 has received strong bipartisan support, including unanimous support on the Senate floor and in the House Education Committee
  • School districts need help and students need to have an appropriate education

We’ve previously received messages of support from these members on the House Appropriations Committee:

Rep. Steve Bergquist
Rep. Michelle Caldier
Rep. Laurie Dolan – Vice Chair on Education
Rep. Zack Hudgins
Rep. Vicki Kraft
Rep. Tana Senn
Rep. Mike Steele – Ranking Republican on Education
Rep. Pat Sullivan
Rep. Gael Tarleton

We need you to contact them all again RIGHT NOW and urge them to ask Rep. Ormsby for a hearing. Their email addresses follow:

steve.Bergquist@leg.wa.gov, michelle.Caldier@leg.wa.gov, laurie.Dolan@leg.wa.gov, zack.hudgins@leg.wa.gov, vicki.Kraft@leg.wa.gov, tana.Senn@leg.wa.gov, mike.Steele@leg.wa.gov, pat.sullivan@leg.wa.gov, gael.tarleton@leg.wa.gov

The members of the House Education Committee members should also be contacted and urged to ask Rep. Ormsby for a hearing. Their email addresses follow:

SharonTomiko.Santos@leg.wa.gov, laurie.Dolan@leg.wa.gov, dave.Paul@leg.wa.gov, mike.steele@leg.wa.gov, bob.McCaslin@leg.wa.gov, mike.Volz@leg.wa.gov, steve.Bergquist@leg.wa.gov, michelle.Caldier@leg.wa.gov, lisa.Callan@leg.wa.gov, chris.Corry@leg.wa.gov, paul.Harris@leg.wa.gov, christine.Kilduff@leg.wa.gov, vicki.Kraft@leg.wa.gov, lillian.Ortiz-Self@leg.wa.gov, skyler.Rude@leg.wa.gov, monica.Stonier@leg.wa.gov, My-Linh.Thai@leg.wa.gov, javier.Valdez@leg.wa.gov, alex.Ybarra@leg.wa.gov

It only takes a minute, but without your action RIGHT NOW, there will be no tomorrow for SSB 5354.

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We’re proud to announce that SSB 5354 passed the Senate unanimously, getting a 49-0 vote on the Senate Floor. It is now before the House, where it will receive a hearing in the House Education Committee Monday afternoon, March 25th, at 1:30pm. That will be followed by executive session in the House Education Committee, now scheduled for 8:00am on March 28th. Should it pass out of the House Education Committee, it will advance to the House Appropriations Committee. In other words, the same process we just went through in the Senate.

Recall that companion bill HB 1641 was heard in the House Education Committee and received a unanimous Do Pass Recommendation in February. However, it failed to receive a hearing in the House Appropriations committee, so died. SSB 5354 is very much alive!

SSB 5354 was amended while in the Senate so no longer is identical to HB 1641. We need to strongly support the substitute bill which passed the Senate as, in many ways, it is a much stronger bill than the original. A comparison of the two bills is linked here.

The deadline for the Appropriations Committee is April 9. The last date to pass the floor is April 17.

SO-two things to do.

1 – The House Education Committee

We urge you to contact the entire Education Committee right after reading this email to urge them to support SSB 5354. Just copy and paste the entire address block below and send an email to the committee in only one effort. Remind them that they voted unanimously for companion bill HB 1641; SSB 5354 has only a few changes that enhance the core idea of equity. Please also ask them to recommend to Rep. Ormsby that funding be provided in the budget.

SharonTomiko.Santos@leg.wa.gov, laurie.Dolan@leg.wa.gov, dave.Paul@leg.wa.gov, mike.steele@leg.wa.gov, bob.McCaslin@leg.wa.gov, mike.Volz@leg.wa.gov, steve.Bergquist@leg.wa.gov, michelle.Caldier@leg.wa.gov, lisa.Callan@leg.wa.gov, chris.Corry@leg.wa.gov, paul.Harris@leg.wa.gov, christine.Kilduff@leg.wa.gov, vicki.Kraft@leg.wa.gov, lillian.Ortiz-Self@leg.wa.gov, skyler.Rude@leg.wa.gov, monica.Stonier@leg.wa.gov, My-Linh.Thai@leg.wa.gov, javier.Valdez@leg.wa.gov, alex.Ybarra@leg.wa.gov

2 – Your Own Representatives

Contact your Representatives if they are not on the above list. If you already know who your two Representatives are and have their contact information, please contact them as soon as possible and ask them to support SSB 5354.

If you haven’t contacted your legislators before, just follow the steps in the linked PDF: Contacting Your Legislators.

Whichever path you follow, be sure to contact your Representatives as soon as possible.

Thank you for making this effort for our Highly Capable Students!

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SSB 5354 has passed out of the Senate Way & Means committee and has been sent on to the Rules Committee. Once received by the Rules committee, it is eligible for consideration. Since the bill received a unanimous vote in Ways & Means it is possible that it may be considered for the consent calendar as early as this week and sent to the floor for debate and a vote.

Please contact your Senator NOW and request his/her support for SSB 5354.

What do you want to say to your Senator? You could ask them to contact members of the Rules committee and request expeditious scheduling of SSB 5354. Or you could just express your support for SSB 5354 and ask for a yes vote on the floor. Or both. Or something else. Your choice.

There are a number of ways you can do this.

1. Use the comment on this bill option on the bill page and send only to your Senator. You don’t need to know who that is to use this as the system will tell you his/her name. Use the comment box to ask for support for SSB 5354.

2. Use the Legislative Hot Line. You need to know who your Senator is to do this. If you don’t, see 4 below. Prepare your message in advance and read it to the operator.

1-800-562-6000

From the Legislative web site:

Toll-Free Hotline
Do you want to send a message to your Senator? Call our HOTLINE at 1-800-562-6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 800.833.6388). Callers to the Hotline can leave a brief message for their district legislators on issues of concern or on questions they may have about bills or laws. These messages are forwarded electronically to the appropriate individuals. When leaving a message with the Hotline, please be prepared to give your name and street address. For non-English speaking callers we offer interpreter services for many languages.

During the Legislative session, the Hotline is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

3. If you already have your Senator in your email contact book, send an email with SSB 5354 in the subject line and ask for support.

4. Know who your Senator is but don’t have the email address? Use the Legislative web site to find your Senator and then click on Email to send one through this site.

Don’t know who your Senator is? Go to the District Finder and enter your information. A white message bubble will appear on the map. Click on your Senator’s name and it will take you to the Senate listing (see above paragraph) where you can send an email.

5. Although Legislators prefer email, you can also write a letter and mail it. Mail addresses can be found using the site in item 4 above.

6. If you have a close relationship with your Senator, you can always call his/her office directly. Phone numbers available at the Senate site in 4 above.

Whatever method you use, please contact your Senator as soon as possible. The deadline for getting this bill passed in the Senate and on to the House is March 13th.
It is imperative that contact with individual Senators be made as soon as possible.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

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SSB 5354 passed unanimously out of the Senate Ways & Means committee, with some amendments, and now goes to Rules for the next actions. The substitute bill is not yet posted but you can find it at the link above in a few days (so many bills were voted out of committees yesterday that it will take a while for the techs to catch up with their posting).

The procedures in Rules are somewhat arcane. Please read the following so you will know how it all works – or is supposed to work.

http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/RULE/Pages/RulesShorthandGuide.aspx

March 1 was the deadline for bills to advance from their chamber of origin. SHB 1641 was not heard in the House Appropriations committee and is effectively dead for this session. But if (when!!) SSB 5354 passes the Senate it goes to the House – where promising groundwork has already been laid in the public hearing and executive action in the Education committee on February 18. See http://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Bill2Law.aspx for the process.

Thank You to everyone who contacted legislators in support of this bill. We could not have done it without your active support.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

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We’ve attached our testimony to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Also testifying in favor of SB 5354 was Austina De Bonte, President of Northwest Gifted Child Association. Other supporters submitted written testimony directly to the Committee members.

WCGE SB5354 Ways and Means Testimony

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We’ve attached our testimony to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. Also testifying in favor of SB 5354 were Senator Ann Rivers, the Prime Sponsor of SB 5354; Jennifer Flo, Vice-President, Washington Association for the Education of the Talented and Gifted; Charlotte Akin, M.Ed., WCGE Executive Board, Past President WAETAG; Austina De Bonte, President, Northwest Gifted Child Association; Dr. Michelle Reid, Superintendent, Northshore School District.

WCGE SB5354 Testimony

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