Education was mentioned frequently by lawmakers during the legislative preview the week before the 2023 session began in January. They're concerned about learning loss during the pandemic and how to make sure all Washington students have an opportunity to continue their education and workforce training after high school. These issues and others are the subject of bills before lawmakers this year.

For more insights, read these Crosscut stories:

Why you should pay attention to the 2023 Washington Legislature

WA HB 1002: Increasing the hazing penalty

House Bill 1002 would make hazing a class C felony, include hazing in the legal definition of “harassment,” as well as including a categorization of felony hazing for prosecuting standards. Hazing can also be punished alongside any other crime that is committed during the act. This bill, also known as the Sam Martinez stop hazing law, is named for a WSU student who died while pledging a fraternity. 

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9


WA HB 1003: Expanding dual credit programs

House Bill 1003 aims to make it easier for low income high school students to access college-level classes. If a student’s family qualifies for in-state college financial aid, they would also be eligible for subsidized fees related to dual credit classes in high school. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, public four-year institutions of higher education and the Student Achievement Council would be responsible for creating an income qualification form for this program, if the bill passes.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9


WA HB 1013: Establishing regional apprenticeship programs

House Bill 1013 seeks to establish a regional apprenticeship pilot program with two sites: one west of the Cascades and one east of the mountains. This program would coordinate with local school districts, community colleges, labor unions and industry groups, to determine what areas of work are best suited for the apprenticeships. Additionally, the bill calls for reports on the efficacy of the programs from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction by the end of 2026 and 2028, including information on the participating students, and recommendations for the future. 

Status: Introduced in the House Jan. 9


WA SB 5020: Age of mandatory education 

Senate Bill 5020 would lower the age at which children are required to begin schooling. In a majority of other states, that age is set at five or six, while in Washington, it is currently eight. This bill seeks to lower the age requirement to six through an amendment of the compulsory attendance laws.

Status: Introduced in the Senate Jan. 9


WA HB 1146: Notifying high school students and their families about available dual credit 

House Bill 1146 builds off of House Bill 1003, which aims to expand access to dual credit programs before college. House Bill 1146 would promote the programs to students, parents and guardians and provide information about costs and possible financial assistance. These notifications would come primarily in the form of emails, and would be translated into the primary language of the parent or guardian.

Status: Introduced in the House Jan. 9


WA HB 1050: Expanding apprenticeship utilization requirements

House Bill 1050 gives more opportunities for apprenticeship work in Washington. All public works contracts costing more than $1,000,000 and all subcontracts worth more than $200,000 would require at least 15% of the work to be performed by apprentices. This includes work contracted by the state, municipalities, local school districts and four-year institutions of higher education.   

Status: Introduced in the House Jan. 9


WA SB 5072 Advancing equity in highly capable programs

Senate Bill 5072 would prioritize identification of high capable low income students. Nomination of said students would be made through screening procedures or referrals from teachers, parents, or other community members. Schools would be required to look at two of the following areas for consideration: assessments in the classroom, in performance or cognition, or overall academic achievement. A multidisciplinary selection committee will be responsible for final placement decisions. Once the bill takes effect, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must publish an annual list of students in the highly capable program and their demographics. 


Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the Senate Jan. 9


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