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WSU Government Relations Newsbeat

UPDATE: Senate budget funds WSU Energy Program, JCDREAM

Leadership in the state Senate on Monday introduced a supplemental budget proposal that funds both of WSU’s operating budget priorities for the 2018 session.

The rewrite of the two-year budget approved last year includes $1.272 million to correct an oversight and fund last year’s legislation to expand and transfer the state’s solar energy incentive program to the WSU Energy Program. It also funded WSU’s $500,000 request to hire a full-time director for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials. WSU leads the legislatively approved advanced materials research collaborative with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with participation from other state universities and community colleges. The request also includes funding to support a small competitive research grants program.

Both priorities were funded in the budget submitted in December by Gov. Jay Inslee. The House is expected to unveil its proposal tomorrow. Both the Senate plan and the House proposal are scheduled to be heard in budget committees tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE: Below, you can view WSU’s Tuesday testimony on the Senate budget in the Ways and Means Committee.

Aviation biofuels bill heard in the House

Legislation to reestablish the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Workgroup had its first hearing in the House during today’s meeting of the Technology & Economic Development Committee.

Washington State University testified in support of the bill along with sponsor Sen. Andy Billig and the Port of Seattle on SB 6563, which would require WSU’s Office of Clean Technology to convene the previously established workgroup of aviation biofuel stakeholders.

WSU issued support for the bill back in January when it was heard before the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee. Since then the bill passed unanimously off the Senate floor. It is currently scheduled to be voted on in the House committee next week in advance of its Feb. 23 deadline.

The full video of today’s public hearing on SB 6563 can be viewed below

WSU Everett students take their research to Olympia

Four mechanical engineering students from Washington State University Everett represented WSU Tuesday at Undergraduate Research Day in Olympia.

They joined delegations from the University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Central Washington University and the Evergreen State College to present their research projects and answer questions in the Capitol rotunda. Representing WSU were students Ryan Durkoop, Megan Stanavitch, Alex Reeves and Matthew Miller.

Their senior capstone project has attempted to test whether the recently opened academic building on the campus has been as energy and water efficient as hoped and recommend improvements.

Building efficiency amenities include a rooftop solar array, the utilization of rainwater for use in and around the building to reduce the amount of water drawn from the municipal water system and the utilization of excess heat from the data center to augment building heating systems.

The students are making use of hundreds of different data points to determine whether the building is performing as advertised. Early indications are positive.

“It matches very closely,” Durkoop said.

In addition, students are studying the merits of utilizing a neural network to incorporate a form of artificial intelligence to predict when energy use could be curtailed. For instance, a heated classroom may need to be cooled once it is filled with students. But if class time were anticipated heating and cooling costs could be mitigated.

“We’re basically trying to put Siri in the building,” Stanavitch said.

Students started their day with a welcome from Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib in the Senate Rules Room. They then took to the Senate gallery to watch the Senate take up Senate Resolution 8683 to recognize undergraduate research. You can view video of the proceeding below.

They then made a quick visit to the Senate wings where they were greeted by Sen. Kevin Ranker, the chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and resolution sponsor. From there they took their posts in the rotunda, answering questions about their research from legislators, lobbyists and other passers by.

Video of Senate Resolution 8683 can be viewed below.

WSU medical residency bill gets full support on the House floor

The House version of Washington State University’s medical school residency bill cleared a giant hurdle today as it passed unanimously out of the House during today’s floor debate with a vote of 98-0.

House Bill 2443 adds the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network as a third co-chair alongside University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. The bill previously passed out of the House Health Care & Wellness committee late last month and will now journey into the Senate to start the process over again.

Meanwhile, HB 2443’s companion bill SB 6093 passed out of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce committee last week and is currently sitting in Senate Rules waiting for a floor vote.

Video from today’s floor session on HB 2443 can be viewed below:

Senate supports aviation biofuels legislation

Legislation that would reestablish the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Workgroup passed through the Senate with unanimous support during yesterday evening’s Senate floor session.

Senate Bill 6563 would require WSU’s Office of Clean Technology to convene the previously established workgroup of aviation biofuel stakeholders in order to facilitate communication and further develop the sustainable aviation fuel industry. The University testified in support on this legislation during last week’s Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee.

Having passed the Senate with a vote of 48-0, the bill will now proceed through the same process on the House side. You can view the Senate’s comments on Senate Bill 6563 below.

Senate version of medicine residency bill beats policy deadline

The Senate version of legislation to add the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network passed out of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee tonight.

The vote comes just in time, with all bills needing to be moved out of their policy committees by Friday. This evening’s meeting of the committee was its last before that deadline.

The House version also has cleared its policy committee and both bills await floor votes in their respective chambers. The measures would add WSU as a third co-chair to the Family Medical Education Advisory Board along with UW Medicine and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. Both have supported the bill.

The network was established in 1975 to support family medicine residencies in the state and encourage the development of new ones. State law was updated in 2015 and funding provided to incentivize hospitals and clinics to expand such programs and develop new ones. The advisory board also was established to make recommendations on the selection of areas where affiliated residency programs will exist.

Support voiced in the Senate for medical school residency bill

Washington State University and University of Washington Medicine voiced support this morning on legislation that would add the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network during today’s Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee. Testimony on Senate Bill 6093 from both institutions can be viewed below.

You can also view previous coverage on this bill’s companion legislation in the House here and here.  The bill needs to be moved out of the committee by Friday’s cutoff deadline.

Also testifying was the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver.

WSU supports reestablishment of aviation biofuels workgroup

Washington State University testified in support of legislation that would continue the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Workgroup during today’s Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee.

The workgroup was previously established in 2012 to further develop the sustainable aviation fuel industry by facilitating communication among aviation biofuel stakeholders, but the group expired in July of last year. Senate Bill 6563 would reestablish the group through December 2023.

Michael Wolcott, Director for the Office of Clean Technology at WSU, spoke on behalf of the University to issue support for bringing back this workgroup. Video of his testimony can be viewed below.

Medical school residency bill clears first hurdle in the House

Legislation that would add the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network passed unanimously out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee this morning. You can view video of the committee action below and check out our previous coverage of the measure here.

House Bill 2443 would include WSU as a third co-chair to the Family Medicine Residency Advisory Board, joining current co-chairs the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. Both institutions supported WSU’s proposal during public hearing last week. The bill now goes to the House Rules Committee for consideration to receive a vote on the House floor.

It’s companion legislation, Senate Bill 6093, is scheduled for public hearing next week in the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.

WSU supports measure to provide loan repayment relief for rural doctors

Washington State University testified this morning before the State House Higher Education Committee in support of proposed legislationHouse Bill 2598sponsored by Representative Marcus Riccelli of Spokane, which would establish a matched student loan repayment program for doctors to increase the rural physician workforce.

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine has a holistic admissions process to identify students well positioned to practice in underserved areas of Washington upon completion of their training at the community-based medical school. Members of the diverse inaugural class of 60 students and the second class of 60 students currently in recruitment, for which almost 1,200 applications were received, could benefit from the proposed program.

You can view WSU Director of State Relations Chris Mulick’s testimony below: