K-12 education had many major wins as the 2021 Washington Legislative Session concluded on April 25, 2021. Everything takes money, and education came out ahead on the budgets, including operating and capital budgets and COVID-19 related funding. A major win was more school counselors! One bill that JHS PTSA members felt strongly about was E2SHB 1139 – addressing lead in drinking water in schools. The state appropriated $3.6 million for lead remediation to replace fixtures.

For WSPTA resolution regarding dismantling systemic racism, there were 15 bills about police reform and diversity, equity and inclusion that passed. For Graduation Requirements, Dual Credit, Career & College Readiness, eight bills passed. General education had many bills pass, including EHB 1342 – eliminating lunch copays for students who qualify for reduced-price lunches (Chapter 74, Laws of 2021) and ESHB 1273 – requiring menstrual products in middle and high schools. Regarding WSPTA's issue addressing climate change, WSPTA signed a letter with a coalition of organizations in support of the Climate Commitment Act, the cap-and-invest bill designed to limit carbon. That bill passed! https://www.wastatepta.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Climate-Commitment-Act-Coalition-Letter.pdf


Contact your legislators and thank them for their hard virtual work to support our teachers and youth! https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder


Read WSPTA's blog post about the end of session report. You'll find information about the budgets, bills that WSPTA tracked, and a link to the full report. https://wastatepta.org/2021-focus-on-advocacy-april-26-report/ 


To look up the status of a bill, visit the Legislature's bill search page. https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=&Initiative=false&Year=2021


By Susan Baird-Joshi, JHS PTSA Advocacy Chair, 2020-2021