Government Relations


President Floyd outlines medical school plan

Washington State University President Elson Floyd presented the university’s vision for a community based school of medicine to the Senate Higher Education Committee this afternoon.

Bills to authorize WSU to pursue medicine as an academic discipline were introduced in the Legislature this week. Joining Dr. Floyd today was Ken Roberts, acting dean of WSU’s College of Medical Sciences. You can view the presentation below.

WSU medical school bills introduced

statewidesponsorshipRep. Marcus Riccelli and Sen. Michael Baumgartner introduced legislation today that authorizes the university to pursue the establishment of a medical school headquartered in Spokane.

President Floyd expressed his gratitude towards Sen. Baumgartner and Rep. Riccelli for their work in preparing House Bill 1559 and Senate Bill 5487. Both bills would change a 1917 statute that currently limits the delivery of medical education to the University of Washington.

You can check out the Spokesman-Review’s coverage here and an Associated Press report here.

WSU addresses benefits, shortcomings of Gov. Inslee’s Capital Budget plan

It was a packed House Capital Budget Committee meeting yesterday as the group convened to hear testimony regarding Gov. Inslee’s 2015-17 Capital Budget Proposal.

WSU expressed appreciation for the funding of two key projects: the Everett Academic Building and a renovation of Troy Hall in Pullman. However, the budget didn’t fully fund either request as the Everett building was shorted nearly $6.5 million and Troy Hall was underfunded by $4.3 million.

WSU highlighted the omission of  design funding for the much needed Plant Sciences Building in Pullman.

Video of WSU’s testimony at the hearing can be found below.

WSU backs measure to direct new revenue to higher education

WSU offered its support this week for a measure that would direct two-thirds of new revenue in future years to education, including early learning and higher education.

Senate Bill 5063 was heard in the Senate Ways & Means Committee earlier this week and you can view WSU’s testimony below. The bill would prioritize education funding except in cases involving new court rulings or extraordinary growth in demand for non-education services.

Bill would enhance enology, viticulture education

A measure that would align state laws affecting community college and university programs in enology, viticulture and wine business was among the first to be heard in committee this legislative session.

House Bill 1004 would authorize WSU to pursue a state license allowing underage students to taste but not consume wine as part of their instruction. Students at community colleges already have that opportunity.

Video of the entire committee hearing from earlier this week can be viewed below.

WSU to create a ‘gem in the community’

An article in the Herald Business Journal highlights WSU’s top capital budget priority for this year’s legislative session – $61.1 million to construct a new academic center at Everett University Center.

The 95,000 square foot project received $10 million in 2013 for design and land acquisition and will be ready for construction by July. It would house existing and new academic programs offered at the center, which WSU assumed management of last summer.

“I think the building we’re planning is really going to be a gem in the community,” said Paul Pitre, academic dean of WSU North Puget Sound.

Washington State University is asking for $61.1 million from the Legislature to build a new home for the University Center in north Everett.

State legislature convenes for 2015 session

Legislators are back on the hill today, having convened at noon to kick off the 105-day legislative session. Among the top priorities for this year’s session will be determining the two-year budget plan for the state.

Budget pressures have re-emerged due largely to legal requirements to increase state spending on K-12 education. Lawmakers in the House and Senate are expected to produce their versions of a solution in April before reconciling their differences.

For more information on WSU’s focus heading into the 2015 session, check out our Legislative Agenda.

Welcoming the 114th Congress

BreadCheeseOn Wednesday, January 6th the 114th Congress was sworn into office. Amid, enthusiasm and ecstatic greetings, Washington’s Congressional members welcomed visitors in their offices. To join in the occasion, Washington State University greeted the members of the Washington State delegation with some Cougar Gold and fresh baked bread from the WSU Mt. Vernon Research Extension.

New to the Washington State delegation is WSU alum, Congressman Dan Newhouse(R) who will be representing the 4th Congressional District including Yakima, Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, Prosser, Moses Lake and Omak.   WSU Alumni Senator Patty Murray paid a visit to the new Congressman’s office as well.  We now have two alumni in the Washington Congressional Delegation.

The 114th Congress will commence with a substantial Republican majority in the House (246 to 188) and a majority in the Senate where Republicans now maintain a 54-44 seat majority over Democrats.  Despite controlling the House and Senate, Republicans are still several votes shy, in both chambers, of being able to overturn a Presidential veto.  The sense on the Hill is that Republicans  in the first few weeks will look to hit the ground running  while championing  many vital pieces of legislation.

State legislative agenda highlights medical school, base funding, North Puget Sound

Washington State University’s 2015 state legislative agenda highlights priorities to establish the state’s second publicly funded medical school, continue reinvestment in higher education, and deliver high demand degrees in the underserved North Puget Sound.

The agenda, found here, was presented to WSU’s Board of Regents last week.

The university is requesting legislation authorizing the university to pursue medicine as an academic discipline and $2.5 million in the operating budget to support accreditation activities for a school of medicine.

It also is asking state legislators to continue the reinvestment in higher education that in 2013 paid for investments in faculty and staff and high demand academic programs that allowed tuition to be frozen for the past two academic years.

The university is also seeking $61.1 million in the capital budget to build a new Academic Building at the Everett University Center. WSU is requesting $4.5 million in the operating budget to add 10 new majors to the center in four academic disciplines.

WSU outlines state legislative priorities

WSU highlighted reinvestment in higher education, the establishment of a school of medicine and continued expansion of the Everett University Center as top state legislative priorities Friday before the House Higher Education Committee.

The 2015 legislative session begins Jan. 12 but lawmakers in the House of Representatives were meeting in Olympia last week to be briefed on key issues they’ll face next year.

Speaking to the committee, WSU Director of State Relations Chris Mulick pointed out that, even with last year’s higher education budgetary enhancement, the university’s state appropriation is roughly equal to what it was in 1999 in real dollars unadjusted for inflation. At the same time, enrollment and the costs to support additional students have been growing steadily.


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