Government Relations

Newsbeat

Legislature adjourns banner session for WSU

The State Legislature adjourned Friday, closing out a legislative session for the history books at WSU after reaching final agreement on operating and capital budgets for the next two years.

Operating budget appropriations fully fund a historic phased in tuition reduction of 15 percent for in-state undergraduate students at WSU by fall 2016. The budget also provides funding to support the development of a new community based medical school at WSU’s health sciences campus in Spokane, and funds new software engineering and data analytics programs at the Everett University Center. You can read more about the operating budget here.

The enacted capital budget funds WSU’s top priorities to build an Academic Building at the Everett University Center and to design the Plant Sciences Building on the Pullman campus. It also provides funding to renovate historic Troy Hall in Pullman and predesign funding for a new Academic Building at WSU Tri-Cities. Learn more about the capital budget here.

Receiving an uncommonly high number of bipartisan sponsors in both the House and the Senate for legislation to amend a nearly 100-year-old law that limited medical education to the University of Washington, the Legislature approved legislation authorizing WSU to establish, operate and maintain a separately accredited school of medicine. It was a truly historic event that the university and the state of Washington celebrated.

Other policy measures approved this session include legislation authorizing minors to taste but not consume alcohol for educational purposes, primarily in viticulture and enology programs. Also approved was legislation to establish a research collaborative that WSU will lead around rare earth materials, and legislation to study and implement best practices to address sexual assault and violence on college campuses.

By any measure, this was an extraordinary session – and year – for the university that celebrated its 125th birthday as well as the 25th anniversary of its branch campuses. After three special sessions, lawmakers passed budgets that demonstrate strong support for WSU and higher education, continuing what late President Dr. Elson Floyd proclaimed to be one of the best years in the history of the university.

Lawmakers and Gov. Inslee honored and recognized President Floyd’s leadership this session and throughout his lifetime, a legacy that the university will carry forward as it implements the outcomes of this banner year for WSU.

Capital budget funds WSU top priorities

A two-year construction budget agreement reached by the Legislature funds WSU’s top capital priorities to build an Academic Building at the Everett University Center and to design the Plant Sciences Building on the Pullman campus.

The agreement, embodied in House Bill 1115, passed the House with a vote of 96-2 and the Senate with a vote of 44-1.

The $54.6 million provided for the WSU Academic Building at the Everett University Center allows the university to begin construction of the facility and address the Center’s need to house current and projected degree programs by WSU and its partner institutions.

Full funding for WSU’s $6.6 million request to design the Plant Sciences Building on the Pullman campus will continue progress toward the research and education complex of interconnected facilities that support interdisciplinary collaboration among the institution’s leading scientists. The project also would provide modern lab space for university researchers in horticulture, plant pathology, plant biochemistry and crop and soil sciences.

The budget also provides $30.3 million to renovate historic Troy Hall in Pullman and $400,000 for predesign of a new Academic Building at WSU Tri-Cities.

The Legislature yesterday approved a compromise operating budget for the next two years. Gov. Inslee signed both budget bills late Tuesday night.

Budget funds tuition cut, med school

Legislative leaders today introduced and then swiftly passed a compromise operating budget for the next two years that will cut tuition at Washington State University while funding academic expansion at Everett and the medical school the university hopes to establish in Spokane.

The final agreement, embodied in Senate Bill 6052, was approved by the Senate 38-10 and then the House 90-8. You can find the agreement here.

It fully funds a historic tuition reduction of 5 percent for resident undergraduates this fall and an additional 10 percent in the fall of 2016 by replacing lost tuition revenue with new state appropriation.

It also funds WSU’s request for $2.5 million to support the development of a new community based medical school at its health sciences campus in Spokane and provides $2.4 million to bring software engineering and data analytics programs to the Everett University Center.

Funding also is provided to bring an electrical engineering program to Olympic College in Bremerton, where WSU already has a thriving mechanical engineering program.

An agreement on a two year capital budget is expected to be unveiled Tuesday.

WSU flag raised at state Capitol

WSU Cougar Flag Raising at the Capitol

By order of Gov. Jay Inslee, the WSU flag was raised at the flag circle on the state Capitol grounds Thursday afternoon to honor university President Elson S. Floyd, who died Saturday at the age of 59.

WSU Cougar Flag Raising at the Capitol

In addition, Gov. Inslee has ordered all flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday in Floyd’s memory.

In raising the Cougar flag, Inslee was joined by WSU Acting President Dan Bernardo, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, Sen. Linda Parlette – a Wenatchee Republican and WSU alum – and House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Monroe.

The tribute followed the passing of two resolutions earlier in the day during the House and Senate floor sessions.

Olympia_Flag_16

Both resolutions, HR 4645 and SR 8685, sought to honor the legacy and achievements President Floyd established during his time at WSU. Senators and Representatives hailed Dr. Floyd for his work as an advocate for higher education.

The family plans services for President Floyd at noon, Saturday, June 27, in Henderson, North Carolina. Because he was such a student-focused president, the official university celebration of life honoring him has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 26, after the students return for fall semester. It will be held in Beasley Coliseum on the Pullman campus.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to honor President Floyd be made to the Elson S. Floyd Founders Fund for the WSU College of Medicine.

WSU Cougar Flag Raising at the Capitol

As Gov. Inslee left, he stopped to take a photo of the Coug flag.

 

House and Senate honor President Floyd

Today the House and Senate honored the life and legacy of WSU President Elson Floyd, who passed away last Saturday after battling cancer. Resolution 4645 was passed through the House early this morning and a simiar resolution, SR 8685, passed through the Senate at noon.

Legislators spoke on behalf of the many great achievements Dr. Floyd accomplished during his time at the head of Washington State University and expressed their condolences over his loss.

TVW video coverage of the House floor debate on HR 4645 can be viewed here:

Coverage on the Senate floor debate for SR 8685 can be viewed below:

Washington Delegation Pays Respect to President Floyd

It has undoubtedly been a challenging week as the Cougar Community has been united in its grief over the passing of President Elson S Floyd.

Today Congressman Kilmer spoke on the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives  in honor of Dr. Floyd.

You can read other dignitary tributes to President Floyd here, and to read more on Dr. Floyd’s life and achievements, or to express your own condolences or stories, please visit our web page at http://president.wsu.edu/eflo.

Washington leaders pay tribute to President Floyd

3

All of Washington State University was united in its grief this week with the announcement that President Elson Floyd passed away early Saturday morning in Pullman due to complications from cancer. He was a respected leader, not just for the tremendous achievements he made for WSU, but also his personable and inspirational attitude towards the school, his peers, and, above all, his students.

The weekend was filled with an outpouring of condolences, support and memorable experiences shared by people from across the state and the nation. Dignitaries from all over Washington paid tribute to the incredible legacy President Floyd forged during his time as WSU President, highlighting his most recent endeavor in building a new generation of medical professionals through the establishment of a WSU School of Medicine.

You can read these dignitary tributes to President Floyd here, and to read more on Dr. Floyd’s life and achievements, or to express your own condolences or stories, please visit our web page at http://president.wsu.edu/eflo.

A Recap: The Week of June 8th

On the Hill:

Last week was a big week in DC. While the House considered a number of appropriation bills, the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS) passed the Senate’s FY16 CJS appropriations bill. While the House version of this bill contained language that would direct the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund four specific NSF office directorates within Congressional provided ranges,  the Senate left that decision to the NSF. This represented a small win for institutions such as Washington State University that compete for funds for basic scientific related research beyond the four directorates listed in the House version of the bill.

The Senate CJS Appropriations Bill would provide $7.3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $18.3 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and $893 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

See the status report of appropriations bills provided by McBee Strategic Consulting:

 

House Appropriations*:

Subcommittee

Legislation

Subcommittee Markup

Full Committee Markup

Considered on Floor

Status

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

 

 

 

 

 

Commerce, Justice, and Science

H.R. 2578

May 14

May 20

June 2

Passed, 242-183

Defense

H.R. 2685

May 20

June 2

June 10

Passed, 278-149

Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

H.R. 2028

April 15

April 22

April 29

Passed, 240-177

Financial Services and General Government

 

June 11

June 17

 

 

Homeland Security

 

 

 

 

 

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

 

June 10

June 16

 

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

 

June 17

 

 

 

Legislative Branch

H.R. 2250

April 23

April 30

May 19

Passed, 357-67

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

H.R. 2029

April 15

April 22

April 29

Passed, 255-163

State and Foreign Operations

 

June 3

June 11

 

 

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

H.R. 2577

April 29

May 13

June 4

Passed, 216-210

 

Senate Appropriations*:

Subcommittee

Legislation

Subcommittee Markup

Full Committee Markup

Considered on Floor

Status

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

 

 

 

 

 

Commerce, Justice, and Science

 

June 10

June 11

 

 

Defense

 

June 9

June 11

 

 

Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

 

May 19

May 21

 

 

Financial Services and General Government

 

 

 

 

 

Homeland Security

 

June 16

 

 

 

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

 

June 16

 

 

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Branch

 

 

June 11

 

 

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

 

May 19

May 21

 

 

State and Foreign Operations

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

 

 

 

 

 

*Graphs courtesy of McBee Strategic Consulting

This week the Senate is expected to continue consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Once business on the NDAA is completed, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has announced his intention to move shortly after to consideration of the defense appropriations bill.

 

Senate Democrats have stated their intention to block all appropriations bills on the Senate floor due to the use of money from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund to sidestep spending caps. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) described the Democrats’ motivations: “We will not vote to proceed to the Defense appropriations bill or any appropriations bills until Republicans have sat down at the table and figured out with us how we’re going to properly fund the Defense Department … and our families’ domestic needs.”

 

After a trying week for President Obama and Speaker Boehner on trade, the House will vote again on Trade Adjustment Assistance.  If the procedural motion passes, the House will hold a new vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance.

 

The House is expected to consider a number of healthcare and Medicare bills, including H.R. 160, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, H.R. 2507, the Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act, and H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. The House may also consider its State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill.

 

Additionally, today the House Rules Committee released a notice that  it will meet on  June 16 regarding H. Con. Res. 55, which directs the president to remove US Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on or after August 7, 2014, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. After the Committee meets, the House could consider this measure next week.

 

WSU in DC:

Visiting last week, Chancellor of WSU North Puget Sound at EverettBob Drewel and Dean Paul Pitre, had the opportunity to introduce themselves and  discuss the needs that the campus has been designed to meet. Bob_D

Dr. Guy Palmer, Director of the Paul G. Allen School of Global Animal Health, met with individuals from several key agencies, including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to discuss the importance of the institution’s research.

Additionally, WSU grid experts Dr. Anjan Bose and Dr. Chen Ching Liu, met with Washington delegation  staff to discuss the Grid Security project. This project could have large scale implications for how electric power services are delivered.

 

State House, Senate release updated budgets

Legislators in both the state House and Senate have released updated budget proposals over the past several days that, for WSU, largely reflect proposals they introduced previously. WSU testified in support of both the original House and Senate budgets.

A key change in the Senate’s new proposal is to escalate the full implementation of a 28 percent tuition reduction to this coming fiscal year and fully backfill the revenue loss with new state funding. It also authorizes larger compensation increases of 3 percent and 1.8 percent over the next two years — just like the House — but doesn’t fully fund them, leaving a funding gap of about $10 million.

Otherwise, the Senate plan continues to provide partial funding to establish four new academic programs at the Everett University Center, $4 million to increase enrollments in STEM disciplines and $2.5 million in one time funding to help establish a WSU medical school.

The new House budget is virtually unchanged from an earlier version as far as WSU is concerned. It fully funds compensation increases, leaves WSU with a net loss of $2.61 million after a funding transfer from WSU to the University of Washington to support UW’s medical education program is partially backfilled with new funding for a WSU medical school, fully funds the establishment of three new academic programs at Everett and provides $1 million to stand up an electrical engineering program at Olympic College in Bremerton.

Lawmakers are now in their second special session with the end of the current two year budget cycle looming June 30 and the start of the next one beginning July 1.

Revenue forecast provides timely bump

A new report released today indicates budget writers will have an additional $400 million over previous assumptions to help reconcile their proposed budgets during this year’s special legislative session. You can find the official press release from the state budget office here and TVW’s coverage here.

The new revenue forecast added $79 million for what’s left of the two-year budget cycle that ends June 30 and $327 million for the new one that begins July 1. The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council projects the state’s budget to total $37.45 billion for the 2015-17 biennium.

“The steady improvement in our economy is encouraging,” said David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management. “And while the added revenue from today’s forecast helps, we still have a lot of work to do in figuring out how to meet our needs and obligations in the next budget.”

Today marks day 20 of the 30-day 2015 special legislative session, scheduled to end on May 28 and convened by Governor Inslee on April 29 after the Legislature adjourned its regular session without a final budget compromise.

Colleen Kerr, Vice President for External Affairs and Government Relations. 901 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle, Washington 98164. 509-335-5756. Contact Us.