State’s quarterly revenue forecast released

On Tuesday the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released quarterly projections for state revenues, showing an increase of $432 million in the state’s near general fund for the 2019-21 biennium, which begins on July 1st. According to the Forecast Council, legislation passed during the 2019 legislative session accounts for most of the forecasted increase in the 2019-21 biennium.

Steve Lerch, Executive Director & Chief Economist of the Forecast Council, summarized the forecast, saying “not a lot of big changes” have occurred since the March forecast.  He also noted that economic trends continue show “slowing growth as we go forward, but no recession.”

The Forecast Council voted yesterday to start including a forecast of the newly created Workforce Education Investment Account beginning in the next quarterly forecast in September.  The Account is a new separate fund for state higher education investments that was created as a result of the passage of the Workforce Education Investment Act (ESHB 2158) during the 2019 legislative session. Click here to read more about the Workforce Education Investment Act.

Click here to read yesterday’s full revenue review.

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 11:02am

Western Legislative Review WWU presents to Legislature on pre-healthcare degree pathways

Dr. Brad Johnson, Dean of WWU’s College and Science and Engineering, and Anna Tognazzini, WWU’s Graduate and Pre-Professional Programs Advisor, presented to the committee on Western’s pre-healthcare degree pathways, which include but are not limited to: pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-nursing, pre-physician assistant, etc.

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 8:23am

WWU football’s end, Carver remodel were key moments under Bruce Shepard

Bruce Shepard, Western Washington University’s president for the last eight years, will step down at the end of the day Thursday, June 30.

Shepard’s last day comes nearly eight years since he took the helm and just more than a year after he announced his retirement.

“I think you want to retire when a university is strong,” Shepard said at the time, adding that the seven- to nine-year mark was just about the right amount of time to serve.

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 10:20am

Tuition at WWU will drop about $1,000 next year for most students

Tuition at Western Washington University will be 15 percent cheaper for most students — but slightly more expensive for others — beginning next year, the university said.

The reduction, which applies only to resident undergraduates, comes after a mandate from the state Legislature that public universities lower tuition for those students. WWU’s Board of Trustees approved the reduction Thursday when it approved the university’s 2016-17 operating budget.

Western had already approved a 5 percent reduction for resident undergrads for the 2015-16 school year.

Monday, June 13, 2016 - 10:43am

Comments solicited on current budget proposals

Western Washington University faculty, staff and students are invited to provide feedback on the various operating budget proposals currently in play.

Comments on the "Budget Forum" website will be moderated, and responses will be quick.

For additional information on all things budget, visit the Budget Office website.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 8:41am

Inslee orders special session, vetoes 27 bills to spur action

Lawmakers this legislative session had two fundamental responsibilities: Come up with a full plan for K-12 education funding and pass a supplemental budget.

But as legislators and lobbyists filtered out of the Capitol building Thursday night — the last day of the 60-day session — there was no budget agreement in sight and lawmakers weeks ago had decided to largely defer action on the education money problem.

Friday, March 11, 2016 - 10:30am

WWU’s Bruce, Cyndie Shepard honored by Legislature

Citing their service to the state of Washington and public higher education, the Washington State Senate and Washington State House each has approved resolutions honoring Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard and wife Cyndie Shepard.

Bruce Shepard, who is finishing his eighth year as president at Western, will be retiring in June. Cyndie Shepard will be retiring as director of Western’s nationally recognized, award-winning mentorship program Compass 2 Campus.

“Thanks to their outstanding efforts and hard work, the foundation laid by Bruce and Cyndie has positioned Western Washington University to continue as a world-class institution and a source of great pride to its alumni and our state,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement released today.

The Western Legislative Review also wrote about the resolutions honoring the Shepards.

The resolutions by the Legislature say that: “Under President Shepard’s leadership, Western Washington University has been recognized as a regional and national leader for academic success.” President Shepard has prioritized Western’s role as a publicly-purposed university; effectively led Western through the Great Recession, managing the university’s finances while protecting Western’s distinctive academic excellence; and, through his leadership, has consistently challenged Western and the entire state “to consider tough questions around racial privilege, equity and social justice, and worked to ensure that quality higher education is accessible to students of all backgrounds and demographics…”

Cyndie Shepard has excelled as Western’s first lady and resolutions laud her creation and leadership of Western’s innovative Compass 2 Campus program, which places Western students in local school districts to serve as mentors and encourage students to graduate from high school and to pursue higher education. The highly successful program, which provides Western student mentors in school districts throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties, last year was transported to Central Washington University.

Senate Resolutions for Bruce Shepard and for Cyndie Shepard were approved today; similar resolutions for Bruce Shepard and for Cyndie Shepard were approved earlier this month by the state House. Local legislators were among those sponsoring the resolutions.

In his statement, Gov. Inslee said that: “I am grateful for Bruce’s leadership in creating the innovative Clean Energy Program that will develop students’ knowledge and expertise on efficient and renewable energy. Bruce and his team expanded outreach efforts to new student communities throughout the state and helped create a Western Washington University Center at Olympic College in Poulsbo.

“Cyndie’s significant contributions to Western will continue through the award-winning Compass 2 Campus program, which pairs Western student mentors with grade school students to increase access to higher education for underrepresented groups.” 

Monday, March 7, 2016 - 3:49pm

Thanks to students, Viking Lobby Day a huge success for Western

Western Washington University students visited Olympia en masse Monday for Viking Lobby Day, students' annual trip to the state capitol to stump for issues of importance to Western.

A total of 79 students held 120 meetings with Washington state legislators or their staff members, said Patrick Eckroth, Western's Associated Students vice president for governmental affairs. And that's not counting the meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee in which roughly 20 students from legislative districts throughout the state shared their experiences at WWU as they relate to the students' legislative priorities. The students are focusing on several priorities this legislative session: student success, support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, civil education in public K-12, voter rights and access, and new and dedicated revenue for higher education. More information on the students' legislative agenda is online here.

"Students were able to meet with a lot of their own representatives and share their experiences at WWU, and the majority of the legislators noted the meetings with WWU students as a positive experience," Eckroth said via email. "Our priority issue, student success, was supported by many of the legislators students met with, and most of the legislators were actually quite surprised that WWU did not receive the funding for these services last year, when CWU, EWU, and Evergreen did in the operating budget. Legislators have also been commenting on the success of the event and the students’ lobbying efforts, noting how prepared and educated on the issues the students were."

Students prepared for lobby day by participating in sessions covering each legislative agenda item, an overview of basic lobbying techniques and advice, and a panel with Rep. Gerry Pollet, a Democrat from the 46th District, and Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, a Republican from the 25th District.

"I've heard great feedback from legislators and other folks in Olympia about how incredible the Western students that come down for lobby day are," said Josie Ellison, the WWU Associated Students legislative advocacy coordinator, via email. "We consistently hear about how involved and interested WWU students are, and our Lobby Day plays a critical role in passing the legislation on both the student and administrative agendas."

Every student who attended the lobby day had a story to share about how at least one of the issues on agenda had affected them personally, Eckroth added.

"The fact that almost 80 WWU students were willing to use their day off from school and work to advocate for issues of concern to WWU students shows how dedicated and hardworking they are as well as how real these issues are at WWU."

For more, check out this story in The Western Front.

And finally, a look at a few tweets from the weekend:

.@WWU_AS prepares for annual Viking Lobby Day in Olympia http://www.westernfrontonline.com/2016/01/07/viking-lobby-day/?utm_content=buffere3cf7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer #SGAchat

— SG Resource Center (@StuGovResources) January 8, 2016

After three years of planning Viking Lobby Day it's surreal thinking this will be my last one.

— Josie Ellison (@Josie_Ellison) January 17, 2016

It's Viking Lobby Day! @WWU students are in #Olympia talking to legislators about funding #student #success and voter access!

— Hannah Bouscher-Gage (@Hannah_Bouscher) January 18, 2016

Touring capitol building with ASWWU legislative liaison Josie Ellison #vikinglobbyday #wwu pic.twitter.com/ReWuI2daFP

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 17, 2016

Proud of all the #WWU folks using #MLKDay to make a difference. 115+ here in Olympia for #VikingLobbyDay. #ActiveMindsChangingLives

— Bruce Shepard (@PresBruce) January 18, 2016

@PresBruce working at the Capitol on a Happy MLK day for #Viking Lobby Day for #WWU - @wwu_music meeting reps too! pic.twitter.com/0FwVpnBw0u

— Living Documents (@livingdocuments) January 18, 2016

Q&A session w/ Rep. Pollet, Rep. Stambaugh. #wwu #vikinglobbyday @thefrontonline pic.twitter.com/bi8kCkuAPf

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 18, 2016

#WWU Director and Assistant of Government Affairs discuss lobbying for more student support services #vikinglobbyday pic.twitter.com/8CugM6Pc2z

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 18, 2016

#WWU students start meeting legislators @ 9am . Student success, civic edu for K-12, dedicated higher edu funding top issues #vikinglobbyday

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 18, 2016

Update on what student representatives are doing in Olympia for #vikinglobbyday by reporter @OfficialRobbyB http://www.westernfrontonline.com/2016/01/18/students-represent-western-in-olympia/

— The Western Front (@TheFrontOnline) January 18, 2016

#WWU students meet with Gov. Inslee! lobbying for supplement budget 4 student support @ western #vikinglobbyday pic.twitter.com/CJHK1tfAfW

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 18, 2016

Gov. Inslee on student issues @ #WWU: "I would love to help on this." Also, brainstorms w/ students on motor-voter pic.twitter.com/SkFzZDZFDb

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 18, 2016

Great turnout of #WWU students in Olympia for Viking Lobby Day! #waleg #waedu https://twitter.com/OfficialRobbyB/status/689156983945965568

— WWU Gov. Relations (@WWUGOV) January 18, 2016

#WWU students saying goodbye to capitol! #vikinglobbyday a huge success! pic.twitter.com/CVBYUMHxoK

— Robert Johnson (@OfficialRobbyB) January 19, 2016

So long, Viking Lobby Day. It's been a good 3 years. #VLD16 pic.twitter.com/tKz0srha2k

— Danny Edgel (@DannyEdgel) January 19, 2016
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 1:23pm

2016 Legislative session begins

[ Editor's note: This blog post was first published on Western Legislative Review. Please visit http://wp.wwu.edu/wlr/ for more updates from Olympia. If you wish, you may subscribe there to receive these posts via email. ]

The 2016 legislative session is underway in Olympia!

The Washington State Legislature convened today to kick-off the 2016 session that is scheduled to last sixty days, concluding on March 10th.

Legislative sessions in Washington are defined by the two-year period in which bills are considered, known as the biennium. The first year of the biennium occurs in odd-numbered years and lasts 105 calendar days, while the “short” or “supplemental” session takes place in even-numbered years and lasts 60 calendar days.

Over the next two months, legislators will consider various policy issues and approve a supplemental budget with adjustments to the 2015-17 state operating, capital and transportation budgets passed during the previous legislative session. As reported in a recent WLR post, Governor Inslee released his supplemental budget proposal last month, creating a starting point for this year’s budgetary process.

Listed below are Western’s priorities for the 2016 legislative session, which are largely budget requests that were not funded in 2015. These proposals aim to build upon Western’s strengths as a publically-purposed university while serving the needs of the State:

  • Ensuring Student Success – Western requests $2.4 million to fund services that help students graduate. These services, such as student advising and academic tutoring, help students successfully navigate college and are especially critical to the success of first generation students and students that are traditionally underserved in the higher education system.
  • Wireless Network Upgrades – Western requests $4 million to upgrade its aging data network and wireless infrastructure on campus. This funding would provide an ongoing source for improving and maintaining the university’s IT foundation to ensure a world class education for students, to support a workplace of choice for faculty and staff, and to provide seamless wireless connectivity for emergency responders.
  • Campus Security Upgrades – Western requests $4.8 million in capital funding to improve its emergency response and ensure campus safety. This investment will expand Western’s electronic access control system to enable immediate lockdown of university facilities during emergency scenarios and allow for all buildings on campus to be equipped with the same safety standards.

Additional information about these proposals can be found here.

Western’s Office of Government Relations will update this blog throughout the session to help keep the WWU campus and community informed about legislative issues impacting Western and higher education around the state. You can subscribe to this blog by entering your email address and clicking the green button in the upper right of the WLR homepage to receive email notifications when new entries are posted. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 11:11am

Whatcom lawmakers had wins, losses in record session

Whatcom County won some and lost some during the longest-ever year for the Washington state Legislature.

With Democrats in charge of the House and governor’s office, and Republicans controlling the Senate, the three Democrats and three Republicans who represent the county agreed the outcome after 176 days and four separate sessions was a mixed bag. What counted as a win, and what was a loss, often depended on which side you asked.

Monday, July 20, 2015 - 10:19am
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