The Legislature adjourned Sine Die this evening, concluding legislative business for the 2019-21 biennium.
Approved in the final days were operating and capital budgets that made new investments in housing and mental health and appropriated $200 million to fund the state’s COVID-19 response. With an eye toward a possible recession, the Legislature scaled back spending a bit from levels proposed last month.
Legislative victories for WSU include $4 million in the capital budget to design the Life Science Building at WSU Vancouver. The building will provide much needed teaching and research space.
Successfully funded in the operating budget was the Soil Health Initiative, a multi-agency research and extension initiative between WSU, the state Department of Agriculture and the state Conservation Commission. Legislation was passed in tandem with the funding in the operating budget that formally establishes the initiative to develop new strategies to improve soil across the state and get those strategies into the hands of growers.
WSU’s final priority was reauthorization of the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation. A bill passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor will extend its sunset date from 2020 to 2030. Established in 2012, JCATI was appropriated $3 million in the biennial budget to fund seed grants for research in the aerospace industry at state institutions of higher education. About $1.2 million of those funds, on average, have funded research projects at WSU.
The Legislature is not scheduled to convene again in a regular session until Jan. 11.