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WSU Government Relations Newsbeat

Students across the WSU system participate in Coug Day at the Capitol

Just shy of 100 WSU students gathered in Olympia today for their annual Coug Day at the Capitol event, with all six university campuses represented.

The day of advocacy is organized by the Associated Students of Washington State University and allows an opportunity for students to meet with state lawmakers and discuss higher education priorities.

Follow the day’s events on Twitter with the hashtag #CougDay2018.

A group of participating students take a moment for a “Go Cougs!” photo opportunity during a morning briefing.

Legislature approves 2017-19 capital budget

The Legislature tonight passed the 2017-19 biennial capital budget with a vote of 95-1 in the House and a vote of 49-0 in the Senate. Budget writers reached an agreement last year but lawmakers had not yet voted to approve it without having yet reached agreement on high profile water policy legislation. The budget still requires the governor’s signature.

The capital budget provides funding for two priority construction projects in Pullman critical to the future of plant and animal agriculture in Washington. Lawmakers approved $52 million in funding to construct the Plant Sciences Building, which will replace half-century old facilities to facilitate modern plant research and develop new varieties that enhance competiveness and ward off disease. The Global Animal Health Phase II project received $23 million in construction funding and would be the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which accreditors have repeatedly warned needs a new facility to continue the crucial monitoring for animal diseases for the region.
The budget provides $3 million in design funding for the Academic Building in the Tri-Cities and $500,000 in predesign funding for the Life Sciences Building in Vancouver. Both projects will help support students pursuing STEM disciplines.

Also approved by lawmakers is $22.3 million to support facility preservation efforts, $10.1 million for preventative maintenance, and $2 million for additional equipment purchases for the JCDREAM materials science research collaborative.

WSU led residency bill gets push from UW, PNWU

Legislation to add the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network was supported in the House Health Care Committee today by the state’s two other medical schools — University of Washington Medicine and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.

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 Family Medicine Education Advisory Board also was established to make recommendations on the selection of areas where affiliated residency programs will exist. UW Medicine and PNWU co-chair the board.

House Bill 2443 adds WSU as a third co-chair. The measure was heard in the Health Care Committee today. You can view testimony below.

WSU medical school bill to be heard this week

Legislation introduced last week in the form of Senate Bill 6093 and House Bill 2443 would add the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network. The House version is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the Health Care Committee.

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 Family Medicine Education Advisory Board also was established to make recommendations on the selection of areas where affiliated residency programs will exist. University of Washington Medicine and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences co-chair the board.

The bills in the Legislature would update the law further to call out WSU as an accredited medical school and naming it as a third co-chair to the board. This would establish clarity about WSU’s standing with the Network and aid the university in its efforts to promote the development of family medicine residencies.

WSU voices support for compromise capital budget

The university registered support yesterday evening on the 2017-19 biennial capital budget agreement reached by the Legislature last session but that has not yet been voted on. The Senate Ways & Means Committee held the public hearing to receive testimony on the compromise budget, as well as the Governor’s proposed 2018 supplemental capital budget.

Both budgets are identical in their funding for WSU. Both fund the following priorities:

• $52 million to construct the Plant Sciences Building in Pullman
• $23 million to start construction of the Global Animal Health Phase II project in Pullman
• $3 million to design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities
• $22.3 million to support facility preservation efforts
• $1 million to support STEM teaching lab renovation in Pullman
• $500,000 for the pre-design of a new Life Sciences Building at WSU Vancouver
• $10.1 million for preventative maintenance
• $2 million for additional JCDREAM equipment purchases

You can view WSU’s testimony below.

WSU testifies on Governor’s budget proposal

WSU testified in support of the governor’s supplemental operating budget proposal this week in front of the House Appropriations and the Senate Ways and Means committees.

The proposal funds the university’s top operating budget priorities. It most notably provided $1.272 million to fund administration of the state’s new solar energy incentive program, currently being built and administered by the WSU Energy Program at the Legislature’s direction.

The governor’s budget also provided $500,000 to allow WSU to hire a full-time director, support staff and competitive research grant program for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials (JCDREAM). The university leads the advanced materials research collaborative with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Lab.

The House and Senate are expected to produce their own budget proposals next month before sending a negotiated agreement to the governor in March.

You can find more detail here on what the Governor’s budget means for WSU and you can view Director of State Relations Chris Mulick’s testimony before the Senate Ways & Means Committee below.

WSU unveils 2018 legislative agenda

Washington State University’s legislative agenda for the 2018 legislative session highlights the university’s top budget priorities and legislation to support the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. You can find the WSU 2018 legislative agenda here.

This year’s session begins Monday and is scheduled to run through March 11.

The four point agenda leads off with support for the capital budget agreement reached but not approved by legislators last year. That agreement funded construction of the Plant Sciences Building and partial construction of the Global Animal Health Phase II project, both in Pullman. It also funded design of a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities and the predesign of a new Life Sciences Building at WSU Vancouver, among other priorities.

This year’s legislative agenda also includes WSU’s operating budget requests for $1.272 million to fund the implementation of Senate Bill 5939 – known as the solar bill – from last year to correct an oversight and $500,000 to hire a full-time director for the JCDREAM advanced materials research collaborative. The request would also fund support staff and a small competitive research grants program for the collaborative with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Both priorities were funded in the governor’s operating budget proposal introduced last month.

Finally, WSU is pursuing legislation to add a representative from the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Family Medicine Residency Network advisory board. Still to be formally introduced in the coming week, the measure would add WSU as a co-chair with University of Washington Medicine and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. The network supports family medicine residencies in Washington and encourages the development of new ones. The bill would establish clarity with the newly accredited medical school’s standing with the Network and help the college promote the development of family medicine residencies.

Governor’s operating budget proposal funds top WSU priorities

Governor Jay Inslee released his 2017-19 supplemental operating budget proposal today, providing funding for WSU priorities going into the 2018 legislative session.

Notably, the proposal provides the $1.272 million necessary for the WSU Energy Program to administer a new renewable energy incentive program. Legislation directing the administration of the incentive program was approved late in the 2017 session but was not funded.

The governor’s proposal also includes $500,000 for WSU to hire a full-time director and support staff for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials (JCDREAM). This appropriation would also support a competitive research grant program for the center, which is a collaboration with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

You can learn more about WSU’s budget requests here.

The unveiling of the governor’s budget proposal sets the budget writing process in motion. The 60-day supplemental legislative session convenes on January 8, at which time the House and Senate will begin crafting their supplemental proposals.

 

WSU focuses budget requests on capital construction, solar program fix, JCDREAM

Washington State University’s budget requests for the 2018 legislative session include the passage of a negotiated capital budget agreement and two operating budget priorities.

The supplemental operating budget request includes a $1.272 million maintenance level adjustment to implement Senate Bill 5939, which was approved June 30 before the Legislature adjourned its 2017 session. The measure, known commonly as the solar bill, directed the WSU Energy Program to launch and administer a new renewable energy incentive program. Due to an oversight, the bill was not funded in the operating budget that already had been approved.

WSU’s operating budget request also includes $500,000 to hire a full-time director for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, known as JCDREAM. The center was established by the Legislature as a WSU-led advanced materials research initiative in collaboration with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In 2015, the state capital budget appropriated $2 million, which was leveraged to secure an extra $1.6 million in extramural funds. But no operating funds have been appropriated to run the center and coordinate research. It is currently being managed by an interim director working at 20 percent time.

The JCDREAM request would not only allow the hiring of a full-time director and support staff to maintain a research portfolio and pursue extramural funds, it also includes a $100,000 competitive grant program mirrored after a similar grant program to bolster research supporting the aerospace industry.

The capital budget agreement reached but not voted on by the Legislature includes funding for the following projects.

  • $52 million to construct the Plant Sciences Building in Pullman
  • $23 million to start construction of the Global Animal Health Phase II project in Pullman
  • $3 million to design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities
  • $22.3 million to support facility preservation efforts
  • $1 million to support STEM teaching lab renovation in Pullman
  • $500,000 for the pre-design of a new Life Sciences Building at WSU Vancouver
  • $10.1 million for preventative maintenance
  • $2 million for additional JCDREAM equipment purchases

WSU medical students and policy-makers meet, share journeys and hopes

WSU medical school students met with regional policy-makers in Vancouver and Everett last week for an opportunity to get to know one another and talk about how the inaugural class of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM) is doing as students near the completion of their first semester of studies.

Policy-makers had the opportunity to learn about some of the journeys that brought the diverse inaugural class to the ESFCOM and ask questions about their experiences with the community-based medical school thus far, as well as their hopes for the future as doctors practicing in Washington State. It also allowed the students to engage some of the elected leaders, and their staff, that made it possible for the university to pursue accreditation and that provided necessary funding to support 60 first year and 60 second year medical students at WSU.

Students expressed repeated appreciation to legislators for the opportunity they are being afforded. Referring to the culture of the college, one student said, “It’s like a family. I’m really grateful every day to be a part of that.” Others spoke to how they were attracted by the college’s mission to increase access to health care in challenging health care environments. “It just aligned so well with all the things I was so passionate about. I’m so grateful,” shared another student.

The event took place during the college’s second intersession. As part of their first two years of studies, medical students spend three week-long intersessions per year at their assigned clinical campuses in Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver to become integrated in those regional health care and greater communities. These established WSU campuses provide the necessary infrastructure and services to support the 15 inaugural medical students assigned to each location. In their third and fourth years of medical school, the students will study full time at their clinical campus and train in regional affiliate clinics and hospitals.

The university plans to hold similar events in Spokane and Tri-Cities during the next intersession, scheduled for spring, to allow policy-makers and medical students in those regions a similar opportunity.