House Democrats finally pass unfunded education bill

2017 legislative session • February 24, 2017 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Letter from Leadership 

The Current 2017-18

Dear Friend: 

Today is fiscal committee cutoff. This means all bills that have fiscal impacts must pass out of their respective fiscal committee or they are considered dead for the legislative session. The exceptions are bills necessary to implement the state budgets. As you can imagine, it has been a busy week for the House Appropriations, Capital Budget, Finance and Transportation committees.

The days ahead

Our next legislative deadline, house of origin cutoff, is March 8. The next 12 days we will see a lot of floor action as the state House sends bills over to the state Senate for consideration. The House calendar has us on the floor every day of next week, including the possibility of working on the weekend.

House Democrats finally pass unfunded education bill

After 45 days, House Democrats finally passed their unfunded education bill off the House floor on Wednesday. The measure, which would cost around $11.3 billion once fully implemented, unfortunately has no funding source. It passed on a narrow, party-line vote of 50-47. You can watch the floor debate here. We also put together a compilation of all our floor speeches in this YouTube video

The arguments we made on the House floor are the ones we will continue to make to constituents, stakeholders, taxpayers, the media, and others in various communications such as this one: the House Democrats' bill has no funding source, no meaningful reforms and no protections to prevent future lawsuits. It would simply add more funding to our state’s failed and regressive education-funding system and not address the core McCleary problem.

We offered seven amendments to improve House Bill 1843 that focused on levy reform, K-3 class sizes, career and technical education, accountability and improving failing schools. You can learn more about these solutions and what happened to them in the section below.

Next steps

While we are disappointed with the House Democrats' bill, we are still optimistic. The good news is that both chambers have passed their respective education-funding proposals. Real negotiations can now begin.

Our role as the minority party is to provide solutions and facilitate collaboration. We have been working on this issue since last summer and have several concepts that we are beginning to share with our fellow state lawmakers and stakeholders. Stay tuned.

Honoring Gina Grant Bull

Sometimes it is important to pause from our work in the Legislature and acknowledge that life is happening all around us. We did that on Wednesday when we honored former House employee Gina Grant Bull, who passed away in October. She served as a legislative assistant and page supervisor, and was loved by many people on both sides of the political aisle. Gina's family was on hand to hear the floor speeches, which made the moment even more special.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin published a story on the House Resolution and a bill that would create the Gina Bull Memorial Legislative Page Scholarship program.

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
39th District
(360) 786-7967


We offered seven amendments to House Bill 1843. Only one was adopted. You can find all the amendments, including their effect statements, below.  

Amendment 30 | Rep. J.T. Wilcox 
Effect: The act is null and void unless the Legislature specifically enacts new revenues to fully fund it by June 30, 2017. 

Amendment 31 | Rep. Drew MacEwen  
Effect: Requires health benefits be provided to classified school employees through the state employees’ Public Employees’ Benefits Board (PEBB) beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Amendment 27 | Rep. Matt Manweller
Effect: Implements various restrictions on the use of enrichment dollars, including ongoing audit requirements and specific penalties for any misuse of local levy or LEA funds.  

Amendment 29 | Rep. Drew Stokesbary
Effect: Reduces the percentage of the levy base school districts may levy to 10 percent, rather than 24 percent, and makes a corresponding change to local effort assistance.

Amendment 28 | Rep. Matt Manweller | *ADOPTED
Effect: Provide K-3 class-size funding in proportion to actual class size (as in 2015-17 operating budget), but allow school districts with capital constraints to instead provide classroom staff to meet ratios.

Amendment 26 | Rep. Mark Hargrove
Effect: Increases revenue to MSOC rates for CTE students while maintaining current investments in guidance counselors/parent involvement coordinators.

Amendment 33 | Rep. Melanie Stambaugh
Effect: In addition to requiring school districts to report the percentage of students meeting various standards (as provided in the bill), districts must also demonstrate measurable improvements or they will be subject to additional oversight.

Rep. Mike Steele

Rep. Mike Steele brings business background to Legislature  

Rep. Mike Steele is one of ten new members to join our caucus this year. However, it is not the first time the 12th District Republican has been a part of our team. Mike was a session aide for our Leadership office during the 2006 legislative session.

Born and raised in Lake Chelan, Mike went on to graduate from Pacific Lutheran University where he studied political science and business administration. He has always gravitated toward economic development issues and has served as executive director of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce the last ten years. Mike has also been active with several community and business organizations. 

Mike serves on the House Capital Budget, Education, and Technology and Economic Development committees. You can watch his legislative videos and listen to his radio appearances on his new website.

Dead or alive?

Each year around fiscal committee cutoff, we create a "Dead or Alive" list. This is a compilation of bills and where they stand in the legislative process. State lawmakers must consider hundreds of measures each legislative session. This list is just a sampling of bills you might find interesting. We will update this list in the upcoming weeks, but this link will remain the same.  

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