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Cherry Blossom Tree on Washington Capitol CampusTrees anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Cherry Blossoms
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


A shoutout to Julie Pederson, Executive Director of The Foundation for Healthy Generations, for this week’s trivia content.

Which former legislator from Spokane was known for leading sing-alongs on the House Floor to add levity to late night sessions?

Revenue Forecast

On Monday, the State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council met to receive an updated revenue forecast from the State’s Economist Dr. Steven Lerch. Dr. Lerch reported that the proposed revenue for the next two biennia is $1.024 billion below what was forecasted in November. This breaks down as $483 million lower than projected for 2023-25 and $541 million lower for 2025-27.

Total state revenues for the 2023-25 biennium are projected at $65.7 billion. In comparison, total state revenues for the 2021-23 biennium were $64.1 billion. Put another way, the state’s revenues are only expected to grow by 2.4% between the 2021-23 and 2023-25 biennia. In contrast, state revenue grew by 20.7% from the 2019-21 biennium to the 2021-23 biennium (largely aided by federal COVID-19 relief funds).

The forecast estimates the Capital Gains tax will generate $942 million in 2023–25 and $1.069 billion in 2025–27.

During press availability following the revenue forecast, Senate Ways and Means Chair Christine Rolfes acknowledged that fewer resources will be available than were expected when the Governor’s budget came out in December. She went on to say that this forecast was not unexpected, and while it makes budget writers cautious, it does not require a change in their game plan.

Major reasons for the slowing forecast include lower Real Estate Excise Tax collections than forecasted, slightly lower personal income growth and higher interest rates.

Senate Budget Detail and Next Steps

Earlier this week, the Senate released its proposed 2023-25 Capital Budget. After a public hearing on the proposed Capital Budget on Monday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the proposal on Wednesday evening. It is expected to receive a vote by the full Senate on March 24.

On Thursday, the Senate released its proposed 2023-25 Operating Budget. The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed operating budget beginning at 2 p.m. on March 24. The operating budget will be voted on by the Ways and Means Committee on March 27 and by the full Senate likely later that week.

On March 27, the House is expected to release both its proposed operating and capital budgets with public hearings shortly thereafter, followed by votes by the full House. All current and proposed budget proposals can be found on the Washington State Fiscal Information webpage.

Start Early Washington has prepared a chart summarizing and comparing how the various budgets addressed early learning related issues. Be sure to bookmark our resource page to access the chart and the House version following its release on Monday.

The next step in the budget process following votes by the bodies on their respective proposals is conference committees. Legislators from each body will be appointed to work through areas of differences and arrive at a single budget proposal that will go before both bodies prior to Sine Die (adjournment) on April 23.

With One Month Left, Early Learning Bills Keep Moving

Several bills related to early learning continue to move through the legislative process ahead of the March 29 policy committee cutoff, when all bills must be passed out of the policy committees of the opposite chamber.

  • House Bill 1199, which prohibits “common interest communities” such as a homeowners association from banning or limiting a licensed child care center or family home, passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee and is likely headed to the Senate Rules Committee next.
  • House Bill 1525, which provides qualifying applicants and consumers of state registered apprenticeship programs eligibility for Working Connections Child Care subsidy, was amended to move up implementation to 90 days after session ends, awaits a vote in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
  • Senate Bill 5225, which increases access to child care by providing subsidy eligibility to families involved in therapeutic court, bans limiting eligibility based on immigration status and authorizes child care subsidy eligibility for dependents of child care employees, awaits a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.
  • Senate Bill 5252, which updates state regulations regarding background checks to meet federal regulations, and Senate Bill 5316, which eliminates the requirement for applicants of child care and foster care entities to pay state and federal background check fees and licensing fees, are both scheduled for a vote in the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee on March 24.
  • Senate Bill 5580, which authorizes a post-delivery and transitional care program and updates the Maternity Support Services (MSS) program, has a vote scheduled on March 24 in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee. The fiscal note is almost $8M, which could make the final passage challenging given the tight budget conditions.

A striking amendment (or striker) for House Bill 1550, which would convert the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program to a Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) program, was heard this week in the Senate Early Learning and K12 Committee starting at 29 minutes. As you may recall from the Feb. 19 “Notes From Olympia,” a “striker” amends everything previously included in the bill, replacing it with new content on the same subject matter. The HB 1550 striker heard on Wednesday would:

  • Change the name “Transitional Kindergarten” to Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) and place the program in statute (law).
  • Specify a funding formula for TTK using certain portions of the existing prototypical school funding model. Districts would consider TTK students as kindergarteners for funding purposes but would be required to report the TTK students separately.
  • Focus eligibility for children determined to benefit from an additional year of preparation before entry into kindergarten and require children entering the program to be at least 4 years old by Aug. 31 in the year of entry into TTK.
  • Ban school districts from charging tuition or excluding children with disabilities
  • Provide enrolled TTK students with a student identifier number for data tracking, and districts would be required to administer WAKids unless parents ask for an exemption.
  • Require the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to administer and adopt rules for TTK.
  • Require OSPI to design a process for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to conduct site visits to provide feedback on early learning best practices and curriculum, as well as professional development opportunities. The striker language clarifies that these site visits do not provide DCYF with licensing or other regulatory or program authority.
  • Require participating school districts to conduct a local child care and early learning needs assessment before starting or expanding TTK. This assessment must consider the existing availability and affordability of other early learning programs in the service area.

The striking amendment differed greatly from the bill that passed out of the House. The committee heard opposition to the striking amendment, mainly from early learning providers, who cited the lack of TTK program requirements, quality standards and the need for collaboration with school districts to keep existing early learning programs in operation. Supporters of the striking amendment, mainly school districts, spoke to the access of care children receive through TK and the positive student outcomes TK fosters in many areas.

The bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee on March 27.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

 Former Representative/Senator Margaret Hurley (1909-2015)

Former Representative/Senator Margaret Hurley (1909-2015)
(Photo credit: Washington State Legislature)

Julie’s suggestion to look at this week’s trivia came from Capitol lore that the late Margaret Hurley would channel her Irish roots and play Irish music on an organ during St. Patrick’s Day. I was not able to verify this story, but I learned a lot about Hurley, including her propensity during late night legislative activity for directing security to roll out the piano kept in the Women’s Lounge onto the House Floor. She would then play music, urging lawmakers and folks in the gallery to sing along.

Hurley represented Spokane’s 3rd legislative district for 32 years, serving in the House of Representatives from 1953-1979 and in the Washington State Senate from 1979-1984. She succeeded her husband Joseph E. Hurley when he decided not to run for another term in the House (there’s a story there, too, which we will get to).

Hurley was the last of eight children born to Margaret and David Morse. Her family relocated from Minnesota to Spokane when Hurley was 2 after her father went to a fair in Spokane and fell in love with the city. The Morse family ended up moving to a farm in the Methow Valley. During her childhood, Hurley experienced severe poverty and lost a number of family members and close friends to illnesses. When she was 11, a kerosene lamp fell and the ensuing fire destroyed their family home and farm. The family ended up moving back to Spokane when Hurley was 13 where she attended the Catholic girl’s school Holy Names Academy (Hurley remained a devout Catholic throughout her life).

Hurley eventually became a teacher and married Joseph E. Hurley while he was attending law school. During this time, married women were not allowed to teach as conventional wisdom was husbands should financially support their families. (This was not noted in the article I read, but I believe this may have been during the Great Depression?) During the early years of their marriage, Hurley’s husband was in law school and they needed the money from her teaching salary, so they kept their marital status a secret and she went by her maiden name of Morse while she taught first and second grade in Mead, north of Spokane (Go Panthers!). Someone spilled the beans that she was married, and she was busted when she answered a phone call asking for Mrs. Hurley (rather than Miss Morse) and the caller turned out to be the Mead School Board President. Oops! The district let her finish out the school year.

Hurley’s husband initially ran for the Washington State House of Representatives in 1939. She took on the unofficial role of campaign manager and was known for creating detailed daily doorbelling routes on district maps. He won and continued to win but found it too challenging to manage both a law practice and legislative activities, deciding not to run again in 1952.

By this time, the Hurley’s had five children. Her husband suggested she run for his seat, noting that she knew the legislative work and thrived at campaigning. The problem was, he suggested to his sister, Loretta Little, that she ALSO run. (Awkward.)

Hurley kept with it and adopted a platform that displayed the fiscal conservatism that remained her tagline throughout her public service of “a balanced budget without additional taxation.” Unlike her sister-in-law, Hurley focused on doorbelling with a strategy to garner at least the female vote in every household. She also benefited by her identification on the ballot as “Mrs. Joseph E. Hurley” which helped with name recognition. In the end, she edged out her sister-in-law during the primary election and after a tough general election, eked out a win with a 600-vote margin. She learned of her victory at 3 a.m. while doing the dishes following the election night spaghetti feed she had hosted at her home.

When Hurley arrived at the House of Representatives, she was told freshman are to “sit still and keep your mouth shut.” (I’m guessing this instruction was amplified for female lawmakers.) Spoiler alert – Hurley did not sit still, nor did she keep her mouth shut.

During Hurley’s time in the House, she moved her family to Olympia during legislative sessions. On one of the moves in 1954, a car crossed over the median near Cle Elum, striking the car driven by her husband head on. Fortunately, no one in her family was killed, but they were injured and required hospitalization. Hurley broke her foot in the accident and while her family continued to recuperate, she was wheeled into the House chamber to cast a deciding vote to elect John L. O’Brien Speaker of the House. (O’Brien said he owed Hurley his “undying gratitude.”) Following that vote, Hurley returned to care for her family and became an early proponent of mandatory automobile insurance (an idea that would take years/decades(?) to come to fruition).

Hurley became not only a deciding vote for O’Brien ascending to the Speakership, but also for him being ousted. Frustrated by O’Brien’s refusal to bring one of her bills to a vote and his overall leadership style, Hurley joined with Spokane Democrat William S. Day and the House Republican Caucus for a secret meeting in Portland (away from prying eyes and ears in Olympia) to plan a coup. On the first day of the 1963 legislative session, O’Brien and a Republican were nominated for the role of Speaker. Hurley then rose and nominated Day for Speaker, confusing many in the body. Ultimately, the Republicans voted for Day and eight Democrats joined to remove O’Brien from his post. According to Hurley herself, O’ Brien looked at her and said “’For God’s sake, Maggie, what do you think you are doing?’ And I said very sweetly, ‘We’re voting you out, John O’Brien.’”

Hurley moved to the Washington State Senate in 1979, serving until 1984. She was passionate about a number of issues, but I want to note her particular ire with the proposed North-South Freeway in Spokane that remains under construction these many years later. In another area where Hurley may have been ahead of her time, she was vehemently opposed to the freeway, expressing concern that the freeway would ruin neighborhoods, particularly by splitting the Black community in East Central. Many would argue she was not wrong.

When Hurley decided not to run again in 1984, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a headline “Good Old Boys Can Relax Now, Maggie’s Leaving.” She lived to be two weeks shy of 106 years of age.

Thank you for the suggestion, Julie.

Sources: HistoryLink.org and Washington State Legislature

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A rainy start to week ten
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


The Irv Newhouse Building on the Capitol Campus could be demolished as early as today to make way for a new Senate office building. What was the Newhouse building’s original name?

Legislative Lowdown

State revenue forecasts. Programs, services and institutions supported by the state government are funded by revenue from state taxes and fees as well as a few other sources, such as the federal government. As you may recall from a previous story, the Legislature must adopt four-year balanced budgets based on anticipated revenue.

Since 1984, the state has generated nonpartisan economic and revenue forecasts, which are overseen and approved by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (Council). The approved forecasts serve as the basis for state budgeting. The Council currently includes four bipartisan legislators, the leaders of the state Department of Revenue and the Office of Financial Management, as well as the State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. In addition, the agency has five staff including its Executive Director Dr. Steven Lerch, Ph.D. — the state’s Chief Economist.

Forecasts are developed four times a year, with the November revenue forecast serving as the basis of the Governor’s Proposed Budget, released annually each December. The revenue forecast released in February (even-numbered years) or March (odd-numbered years) provides the latest revenue estimates for legislative budget writers.

The economic forecasts consider a variety of factors that could impact the state’s economic condition, including overall economic growth (GDP), employment data, inflationary data, consumer spending habits, interstate and international trade, strength of the dollar, major global events impacting trade (ex., War in Ukraine), among other key factors. See the March 2023 Economic Review as an example of the complexities of these analyses. The revenue forecast will include an official projection of revenues as well as optimistic and pessimistic forecasts.

Here is the methodology and detailed information on calculated costs, revenues and caseload forecasts related to the Governor’s Proposed Budget for the 2023-25 legislative biennium, as an example. Revenue and cost drivers include revenues and fees coming into the state coffers, caseload assumptions for major programs (ex., state-funded health care, prisons, etc.), increased costs of doing business, costs of tentative union collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), cost-of-living adjustments for the state pension and retirement programs, debt service and new gubernatorial policy and related funding priorities for the upcoming session.

The March 2023 revenue forecast will be released at 2 p.m. on March 20 and can be viewed on TVW. We expect both the Senate and House will release their respective Operating, Capital and Transportation budgets shortly after the revenue forecast.

Following the release of the budgets, the Senate and House fiscal committees will hold public hearings for groups and individuals to provide feedback about what is (and, more importantly, is not) included. As of this writing, the Senate Ways and Means Committee has a 4 p.m. public hearing on March 20 for the proposed Capital Budget as well as a 2 p.m. public hearing on March 24 for their proposed Operating Budget. House budgets are expected the week of March 27.

After the release of the respective budget proposals, the Senate and House will each appoint a “conference committee.” These conference committee members will work to resolve differences between the two bodies’ approaches prior to the release of finalized 2023-25 budgets that will be considered by both chambers prior to adjournment of the 2023 legislative session.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

Highway Building/Irv Newhouse Building/“INB”
(Photo Credit: the kind construction worker who accepted my phone over the fence to snap a closer photo)

The Irv Newhouse Building, formally known as the Highway Building, was built in 1934 as a “temporary” structure. For 89 years, it housed many Senate Republicans and their caucus staff. Given that the building was intended to be temporary, it is not surprising to learn it is in disarray with many structural and safety hazards, including stormwater infiltration and the potential of falling bricks.

The Legislature has approved a multi-year and multi-building broader campus modernization plan (learn more in this video overview) that includes funding for construction for a replacement building for Newhouse (also referred to as the “INB”). According to this article providing an overview of construction plans, the new Newhouse Building will house Senate security, the joint legislative Page School and auxiliary page room, meeting and training rooms, several legislative operations office and space for senators and caucus offices. Additional parking will also be built next to the building.

The new building will include four stories and will be partially built from wood from salvaged timber (including some from the original Newhouse building), it will be environmentally responsible and will match the neoclassical style of the campus with a northwest flare. Additionally, the landscape surrounding the building will include ample amounts of greenery to match the neighborhood surrounding the South Capitol Campus neighborhood as well as a garden of native flora. The anticipated completion date is November 2024.

Overseen by the Department of Enterprise Services, the project also includes the demolition of two houses that formerly held the Capitol press corps as well as the old Visitor Center. As proof that humans are creatures of habit, there was quite a bit of grumbling when the construction fencing went up around the perimeter of the project, cutting off access to a walkway folks had traversed for decades.

Late Senator Irv Newhouse
(Photo Credit: Washington State Legislature, pg. 42)

Who was Irv Newhouse? Irving (Irv) Ralph Newhouse (October 16, 1920 – March 29, 2001) was a state legislator who represented the Yakima Valley for almost 35 years. He was born in Sunnyside, graduated from Washington State College (now Washington State University) and served in the Navy in World War II. Senator Newhouse and his wife Ruth were married for 55 years and had six children, one of whom is U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse, who is currently serving Washington’s 4th congressional district in central Washington and a former member of the Washington State Legislature himself.

Senator Irv Newhouse was a member of the Washington House of Representatives from 1965 to 1980 and the State Senate from 1980 to 1999. During his time in the Legislature, he served as the Senate Republican Floor Leader, Senate President Pro Tempore as well as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was well regarded by both parties as a strong negotiator, parliamentarian and legal scholar, even though he did not hold a law degree. In 1998, state lawmakers honored Sen. Newhouse by naming the Senate Republican office building after him. If you want to step back in time, the dedication ceremony is on TVW.

Many of us did not know the original name of the building because the engraved “Highway Building” name was for years covered by a sign signifying it as the “Irv Newhouse Building.” In mid-February, that sign was presented to Senator Newhouse’s family (including Congressman Dan Newhouse) as a keepsake.

Dorothy Hibbard Newhouse, Congressman Dan Newhouse, Senator Judy Warnick, Senator John Braun and Secretary of the Senate Sarah Bannister, 2/16/23
(Photo Credit: Columbia Basin Herald)

Congressman Dan Newhouse views the sign in honor of his father, 2/16/23
(Photo Credit: Columbia Basin Herald)

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(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


Republican Jeannette Hayner was the first female to serve in legislative leadership. Throughout her political career, how many elections did she lose?

Legislative Activity

Floor activity “5 o’clock bills.” Time seems to suspend during intense periods of floor activity. Each day bleeds into the next. It is hard to plan because you never know when votes will occur or what time the legislative bodies will knock off for the night (or early morning!). So far this year, the Senate wins the prize for adjourning at more humane hours while the House has frequently extended into the early morning.

The House of Origin cutoff (which hit Wednesday at 5 p.m.) is yet another point in the legislative process where bills stop advancing. Bills can be held in the Rules Committee or left to languish on the Floor calendar without action. Reasons for bills not moving forward are not always apparent, and it is frustrating to watch time run out on a bill you care about. There are situations where the minority party attaches a slew of amendments to bills on the Floor, simply to “run out the clock.”

Typically, both legislative bodies will select a controversial bill where debate is expected to run long to be their “5 o’clock bill” on the House of Origin deadline. They tend to start debate on the “5 o’clock bill” just prior to the magic hour to allow ample time for discussion. This year’s 5 o’clock bills revolved around firearms/assault weapons in the House and broadband in the Senate. On brand for the week, the Senate wrapped up by 5:15 p.m. and the House took their final vote at 8:20 p.m. (my bet was on them concluding at 11 p.m.).

Once the House of Origin deadline passed, the process quickly reverted back to policy committee meetings, with hearings beginning bright and early at 8 a.m. Thursday morning (coffee, please!). At this stage, policy committees will hear bills passed out of the opposite chamber. Sometimes, the opposite body has already heard the content of the bill if there was a “companion” bill on a similar subject. And, unlike the start of session, this policy committee review period is more abbreviated as they should (theoretically) have fewer bills to review.

The opposite chamber policy committee cutoff date is March 29 and the opposite chamber fiscal committee cutoff is quickly thereafter on April 4.

Active bills. Several early learning bills have moved on to the opposite chamber and need to have a hearing and be voted out of policy committees on or before March 29. These include:

  • House Bill 1199 prohibits “common interest communities,” such as a private communities with a Home Owners Association, from banning or limiting the use of a home, building or space for a licensed child care center or family home. This bill passed the House without any amendments and has a hearing on March 9 in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
  • Second Substitute House Bill 1525 provides qualifying applicants and consumers of state registered apprenticeship programs eligibility for Working Connections Child Care subsidy. The bill was amended to ensure an individual in a state approved apprenticeship program may receive child care subsidy for the first 12 months of enrollment in a state registered apprenticeship as long as the income requirements are met. The bill will be heard in the Senate Early Learning and K12 Committee on March 13.
  • Second Substitute House Bill 1550 converts the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program to a Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) program with new standards and changes the funding source and flow. There were no amendments to the bill during the House Floor debate and vote, which can be seen on TVW starting at the 26:00 mark. The bill awaits a hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K12 Committee.
  • Second Substitute Senate Bill 5225 increases access to child care by authorizing care for families involved in therapeutic court, bans immigration status discrimination for eligibility and authorizes child care subsidy eligibility for dependents of child care employees. The bill was amended to prohibit DCYF from considering immigration status when determining child care eligibility. An amendment was also added to direct DCYF to establish policies to allow child care subsidy eligibility for families with children who, in the last six months, have a parent or guardian listed as a victim in a case in a specialty or therapeutic court (learn more about therapeutic courts on TVW). The bill is scheduled for a hearing March 14 in the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee.
  • Senate Bill 5252 updates state regulations regarding background checks to meet federal regulations. These checks are for applicants and employees of entities that work with vulnerable populations, such as child care workers. The bill was not amended in the Senate and will have a hearing in the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee on March 15.
  • Senate Bill 5316 eliminates the requirement for applicants of child care and foster care entities to pay state and federal background check fees and licensing fees. The bill was not amended in the Senate and awaits a hearing in the House.
  • Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5580 authorizes a post-delivery and transitional care program and updates the Maternity Support Services (MSS) program. Several changes were made to the bill by the Senate, including extending implementation deadlines by a year to Jan. 1, 2025; clarification that qualifying new mothers can stay in the transitional care program for up to five days; and makes the modifications to the MSS program subject to appropriations (funding). It awaits a hearing in the House.

Legislative Lowdown

What is a budget proviso? We are at the stage in the legislative process where the terms “proviso” or “budget proviso” are frequently used. Budget provisos are clauses in state budget documents that set out specific conditions or limitations on the use of funding appropriated in the budget.

The following is an example of a budget proviso from 2021 related to voluntary home visiting:

(20)(a) $2,771,000 of the home visiting account—state appropriation for fiscal year 2022, $5,299,000 of the home visiting account—state appropriation for fiscal year 2023, and $3,000,000 of the general fund—federal appropriation (ARPA) are provided to expand home visiting services, enhance data collection, and support the local implementing agencies providing home visiting services. The department shall: (i) Contract with local implementing agencies to expand home visiting services by October 1, 2021; and (ii) Provide semiannual updates to the home visiting advisory committee established in RCW 43.216.130 that includes an updated number of families served in home visiting programs and a status of the home visiting services account balance.

Through budget provisos, the Legislature directs state agencies on how to use state funding. Provisos represent legislative budgetary priorities during the biennial or supplemental budget period that relate to a range of issues. For example, the Legislature may direct the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to create a workgroup on maternal health or develop a pilot project related to a new service need.

Budget provisos also function as a strategy to keep an issue or policy moving when a policy bill hits a roadblock. Legislators, lobbyists and advocates all use this tool for piloting issues or for funding a policy goal when a bill related to the issue was not introduced or did not pass through the normal policy bill process.

Unlike policy bills, budget provisos are more difficult to track during session. Essentially, any person or entity advocating for a proviso must wait until a budget proposal is released to see if it is included, rather than a policy bill that can be tracked throughout session.

Another major distinction between a budget proviso and passage of a bill is that budget provisos only “live” through the timing of the budget whereas enacted bills become a part of law in perpetuity (unless the statute expires or is subsequently changed).

To learn more about the state budget, here is a guide to the budget process from the University of Washington as well as a Budget and Policy Highlights overview for Governor Inslee’s 2023-25 biennial proposed budget.

Finnish President Visits the Capitol

(Photo Credit: TVW Screen Shot)

The week began with a Capitol visit from the president of Finland, President Sauli Niinistö. Following an address to a Joint Session of the Legislature, the Finnish President joined Governor Jay Inslee for a press conference.

According to Governor Inslee’s office, this joint legislative address is the first from a foreign head of state. President Niinistö discussed Washington state and Finland’s shared interests in trade, clean energy and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

Picture of late Senator Jeannette Hayner in the Senate Republican Office Building, 1919-2010
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)

Zero! From her first foray into office as a write-in candidate for the Walla Walla School Board, to her election to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1972 and the State Senate (beginning in 1976), Hayner never lost an election and, upon her retirement in 1993 at the age of 73, served longer in caucus leadership than anyone in state history.

Born Jeannette Hafner, Senator Hayner was the only child of a creamery owner. She attended the University of Oregon as an undergraduate as well as for law school (Sco Ducks!) where she met her future husband “Dutch” Hahner (note the different spelling of their last name at the time).

Senator Hayner was one of only two women to earn a law degree in her graduation year and when attempted to find a job at a law firm in Portland, no one would hire her because she was a woman. Instead, she worked as an attorney for the Bonneville Power Administration. Her family ultimately settled in Walla Walla after her husband cold-called law firms seeking employment throughout Eastern Washington towns.

Once in Eastern Washington, Hayner left law and became extremely involved in community affairs. Upon her return from a family trip, she learned of an existing effort to get her elected to the Walla Walla School Board as a write-in candidate. She won and became the first woman to serve on that school board.

In 1972, Hayner ran for an open House of Representatives seat in the 16th legislative district. It was a hard-fought race, particularly in the primary, and she ultimately defeated three prominent male candidates. Around this time, Representative Hayner and Dutch decided to change the spelling of their last name from Hahner to the more phonetically appropriate Hayner because people had trouble finding their phone number in the phone book (that is a blast from the past!). When Hayner got to the House of Representatives, she was one of only 8 women in that body and the Senate had no female Senators. Representative Hayner worked from a desk in the hallway and shared an assistant with two other legislators.

In 1976, Representative Hayner opted to run for a vacant State Senate seat, countering the prevailing attitude that the Senate was inappropriate for women. After winning a tight contest, Senator Hayner joined 18 Republican colleagues to make up a 19-30 minority in that body.

Years of languishing in the minority led to secret meetings among Senate Republicans looking to push out the then-Minority Leader Senator Jim Matson of Selah for his complacency and inability to add more Republican members. Identifying an alternative for Matson proved difficult and Senator Hayner emerged as the consensus candidate. A week before the end of session, Senate Republicans surprised Matson during a caucus meeting, ultimately ousting him on a 10-9 vote, making Senator Hayner the first female to serve in legislative leadership from either party. According to then Senator Lois North, there was “stunned silence on the Floor of the Senate when it became apparent that a woman was about to become the leader of her caucus.”

Senator Hayner’s tenure in legislative leadership was defined by her reputation as a hard worker who put in long hours and was committed to ensuring effective government. She moved from Minority to Majority Leader after convincing Senator Peter von Reichbauer of Vashon to flip from the Democratic to the Republican Party, providing Republicans a majority in the Senate for the first time in 26 years.

She was also known for the discipline she imposed upon her caucus. Often compared to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, she was referred to as “the Senate’s Iron Lady.” Senator Hayner initiated what was known as the “rule of 13.” Her caucus voted on every bill and those bills that received a simple majority of 13 votes (out of the 25 in their caucus) meant that every member of the Republican caucus committed to taking an identical vote on the Floor.

Following Senator Hayner’s retirement from the Legislature, she was recruited to serve as the first Board Chair of TVW. TVW founder (and current Washington State Lt. Governor) Denny Heck sought for TVW to be non-partisan and he approached Senator Hayner because of her long-standing support for open government and transparency. TVW named its new building in Senator Hayner’s honor.

Late Senator Hayner speaking on the Senate Floor
(Photo Credit: Washington State Legislative Website)

Sources: Washington State Legislative Website, HistoryLink.org, and Wikipedia

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Frigid winter weather hits the Du Pen Fountain in front of the Joel Pritchard Building.
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


For this week’s trivia, let’s play a game. What jumps out to you from this “class picture” from 1889?

State Tax Collections Update

The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council is meeting at 8 a.m. on March 3 to receive an economic review. Meeting materials provide a preview of the topics of discussion. With regard to revenue, tax collections are $89 million (or 1.1%) over November 2022 projections. Consumer spending was also stronger than expected, but questions remain about whether the nation is headed toward a recession in 2023.

The next full revenue report will be released on March 20.

Floor Activity

This week’s legislative activity was squarely focused in the Legislative Building with both the Senate and House deliberating bills that passed their respective policy and fiscal committees. This action is expected to continue over the weekend as the 5 p.m., March 8 “House of Origin” deadline looms.

During Floor activity, lobbyists congregate on the third floor of the Legislative Building in clusters reminiscent of a high school quad, waiting to track down lawmakers with a nudge or question about a bill. This week also serves as a painful reminder that hours standing on marble floors wear on one’s feet and back.

The Transitional Kindergarten bill passed the Appropriations Committee with amendments. The House Appropriations Committee passed House Bill 1550 on Feb. 24. A discussion on the bill can be seen on TVW at the 2:01 mark and the vote at the 3:24 mark. As a reminder, this bill would convert the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program to a new Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) program with new standards and would remove basic education as the funding source. The committee made several amendments to the bill including:

  • Conversion of TK programs run by public school districts during the 2023- 24 school year to the new TTK program if they meet new program standards with intent to continue funding
  • Requires the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to develop a process for public school districts to apply to operate or expand a TTK program by Dec. 31, 2023
  • Requires TTK instructors with an early elementary education endorsement to have 24 college credits or 60 clock hours in early childhood education within five years of assignment to the program
  • Changes the TTK funding formula from the estimated statewide allocation per kindergarten student (currently about $12,773/child) to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) average rate (currently about $12,621/child) adjusted for the school district’s regionalization factor
  • Provides TTK eligibility to children who lack access to an early learning program or have been referred by a licensed early learning provider
  • Adds a null and void clause to the bill meaning that if the Legislature does not allocate funds for this purpose, the legislation is not enacted

An amendment to add charter schools and state-tribal education compact schools failed. Currently, charter schools have 288 students in existing TK programs and state-tribal compact schools do not currently operate TK programs. The bill is now in the House Rules Committee.

Legislative Lowdown

Committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives play key roles during this period of intense Floor activity. Before a bill that has passed out of a Policy and/or Fiscal Committee can be moved to the Floor, it must first pass through the Rules Committee, whose members determine which bills will move forward and in what order. In short, the Rules Committees have the power to decide if and when legislation will go to the Floor for debate and a vote. The Rules Committees provide legislative leadership with an additional tool to manage and oversee the bills heading to the full chambers.

In both the Senate and House, the Rules Committee are made up of members from both parties. The House Rules Committee is led (or Chaired) by the House Speaker, currently Rep. Laurie Jinkins, and has 24 members, including 15 Democrats and 9 Republicans, this session. The Senate Rules Committee is chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, currently Lt. Gov Denny Heck, and has 16 legislators comprised of 10 Democrats and 6 Republicans. Rules Committee meetings can be scheduled or held “on the fly.” For example, the Senate Rules Committee issued a notification earlier this week of a Wednesday meeting “following adjournment or during the dinner break.”

The vernacular used to describe the process of a bill moving from the Rules Committee to the Floor is called a “Rules pull.” There are a variety of ways bills can be “pulled.” Individual Rules Committee members can be provided a specific number of “pulls” where they request bills move to the Floor for debate and consideration. Here’s an example of the results of some of these individual member pulls during the March 1 Senate Rules Committee meeting tracking which members requested specific bills move to the Floor. Note Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig used one of his “pulls” to move SB 5225 relating to Working Connections Child Care eligibility to the Floor.

Another way is a “package pull” (seen below, again from the March 1 Senate Rules Committee meeting). Package pulls are when a package of bills is voted on by the Rules committee all at once. This can happen before a cutoff, at the end of the legislative session, or when a body is going to address a topic with several bills.

The final way is called a “consent package bill.” This represents a consent list containing bills that have faced little to no opposition thus far in the process. Here is an example of a consent pull:

There are any number of reasons why a committee member may choose a bill to move out of the Rules Committee and onto the Floor including choosing a bill important to them or their constituents, or per a request by a legislator or stakeholder group, among other reasons. The Rules Committee hearings can now be seen on TVW throughout the legislative session. This coverage began during the pandemic and has continued, making these hearings much more accessible.

I already geeked out enough, so won’t describe the meaning behind the “green” sheet or “white” sheet, but check out the description provided on the legislative website if you want to learn more.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

Senate Class of 1889
(Photo Credit: Washington State Legislature)

This photo caught my eye for several reasons, but the most obvious observation for me was the misspelling of our state’s name – “Wasington” instead of Washington. Other observations include the overuse of periods (…..) and that the picture is from 1889 – the year Washington officially became a state!

“Class pictures” stretching back more than a century fill the halls of the Senate and House offices in the Legislative Building. When I am waiting for legislative appointments, I often find myself viewing these class pictures. They are most definitely a window into the hair and glasses styles of different eras. There are some examples of very high beehive hair-dos on the few female lawmakers during the late 1960s – early 1970s, including the picture below featuring 6 of 82 women lawmakers elected to legislative positions between 1912 and 1982.

(Photo Credit: Humanities Washington)

Moving from older photos to more recent classes, you can see modest steps toward better representation amongst our elected officials. The picture in our trivia question clearly shows that 124 years ago, the Senate was fully comprised of white men.

When women began to enter the Legislature, it was not uncommon to see them listed in the class pictures under their husband’s names. For example, in 1923, Mabel Ingersoll Miller was elected to represent the 48th legislative district from Snohomish County, but she was listed as Mrs. Harry John Miller in official legislative materials. Representative Miller’s legislative committee assignments were restricted to the “women’s committees” of Public Morals and Playgrounds and Parks.

Today, our Legislature is more representative of our state’s population with robust and growing Members of Color Caucuses in both the Senate and the House as well as representation in the highest levels of legislative leadership. And, our elected leaders are identified by their own names and are not limited in their committee assignments.

Washington State House of Representatives Members of Color Caucus, 2023-2024 – Not pictured: Rep. Cindy Ryu
(Photo Credit: Washington State House of Representatives Members of Color Caucus)

Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus, 2023-2024
(Photo Credit: Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus)

Have a trivia idea? We’d love to hear suggestions or questions you might have. Feel free to send me an email at ehallock@startearly.org with your trivia suggestions.

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(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


When Washington state legalized marriage equality in 2012, it joined how many other states in recognizing same-sex marriages?

Potato Day!

The excitement was palpable as the Washington Potato Commission held the first in-person “Potato Day” since 2020. Lines of potato fans stretched around the third floor of the Legislative Building well before the lunch hour as the common refrain of “did you get your potato yet?” rang throughout campus.

All joking aside, it is fiscal cutoff this week (see more information below about fiscal cutoff) and folks are tired/stressed/irritable. Friendly faces offering free comfort food is sometimes just what’s needed to put a pep back in your step! Potatoes are unifying.

The Washington Potato Commission brings comfort food to campus

(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)

Cutoff Time – Again

This week, legislative focus – when not on potatoes – was on fiscal committees as they held marathon meetings to work through public hearings, amendments and votes on hundreds of bills prior to today’s fiscal cutoff deadline. After today, bills with a financial impact that have not been approved by the fiscal committee in its house of origin are considered “dead.” Frequently, bills heard in fiscal committees are amended to include two clauses – “null and void” or “subject to appropriation.” These clauses allow bills to proceed through the process but provide “escape hatches” if the policies put forward in the bill are not funded in the final adopted budget. Put another way, inclusion of these clauses makes implementation of the bill contingent upon budget funding.

Now, there are always exceptions to the rules, particularly in the legislative process, and the reality is no bill or idea is dead until the Legislature adjourns April 23. One exemption is that bills deemed “Necessary to Implement the Budget” (or NTIB) are not subject to cutoff dates. Further, concepts surfaced in bills can be amended into other bills or reflected in the budget.

Starting next week, action will turn to the respective Senate and House floors as those bodies work through all of the bills approved by the fiscal and policy committees. The next legislative cutoff is Wednesday, March 8 at 5 p.m. with the deadline for bills to be voted out of their house of origin (e.g., House bills must be approved by the House, and Senate bills approved by the Senate). We are at the time of session where you need to grab sleep when you can – kind of like living with a newborn. It is not unusual for one of the bodies (typically the House) to pull an all-nighter during this period.

Bill Hearings

SHB 1550. The House Appropriations Committee held a public hearing on Substitute House Bill 1550 Tuesday, which can be seen on TVW starting at the 34:45 minute mark. As a reminder, this bill would sunset Transitional Kindergarten (TK), replacing it with a new Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) program to be administered by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) with a role for the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The Appropriations Committee hearing began with a panel that included State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter and Maddy Thompson, Governor Jay Inslee’s Senior Policy Advisor on Education and College Access. The opening panel spoke in opposition to the bill, stressing the importance of maximizing preschool access as well as the positive outcomes children are receiving from existing TK programs. Following that panel, several school district and education stakeholders reiterated the positive developmental outcomes from TK program participants as well as concerns that removing basic education as the funding source for TK could eliminate current programs as well as other supports for families such as school bus transportation.

Several early learning providers spoke in favor of the bill, focusing on the importance of the quality of services available in existing early learning programs. Additionally, early learning advocates stressed the importance of strong collaboration between school districts and community-based early learning providers so as not to negatively impact early learning programs.

As of this publication, SHB 1550 is on the possible executive session (vote) list for the Friday, Feb. 24 hearing.

Updates on additional early learning related bills include:

  • Senate Bill 5225, which would increase eligibility for subsidized child care such as eligibility for dependents of child care employees and children regardless of immigration status, was passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Wednesday.
  • Senate Bill 5580, which would create a post-delivery and transitional care program and update the current Maternity Support Services (MSS) program, has a vote scheduled Feb. 23.
  • One bill that did not receive a hearing is House Bill 1511, which would remove certain forms of income, such as Social Security benefits and child support, from income considerations related to child care subsidy and ECEAP. However, there are other avenues for priorities to move forward without a bill, including amendments onto other bills or as a proviso in the operating budget.

Legislative Lowdown

What is the state’s four-year balanced budget requirement? While much of the budgeting focus is on the upcoming two-year biennial budget cycle, 2012 legislation required the Legislature to pass four-year balanced budgets beginning in 2013. This means that our current budget writers must ensure both the 2023-25 and 2025-27 biennial budgets are balanced with a positive ending fund balance.

The Budget Outlook Workgroup holds a key role in this process by preparing an official state budget outlook for state revenues and expenditures. This outlook must include costs forecasted in the upcoming four years for continuing existing programs, projecting for future growth as well as implementation costs of various laws. The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council then approves this budget outlook and the Legislature uses this information to craft and pass a budget ensuring the state’s expenditures do not exceed projected revenues for the following four years.

Proponents of the bill establishing the four-year balanced budget requirement argued that a four-year balanced budget would move the state from reactionary, short-term budgeting to a more long-term view, resulting in more sustainable budgets that reduce out-year expenditure commitments that cannot be supported with existing revenues.

The requirement for a balanced four-year budget means that budget writers are keeping both a keen eye on the state’s recent and projected revenues (what they will have to spend) and its current spending commitments to ensure the final budget is balanced not just for the 2023-25 biennium, but also for 2025-27. As a result, it is not uncommon to see the strategy of “pushing a cost outside of the four-year” to mitigate projected costs. This can result in extending implementation dates for expanding services, so the law is on the books, but the costs do not hit the four-year budget.

To learn more about the budget process and related terminology, check out this helpful guide from the Office of Financial Management at the Governor’s Office which is updated annually.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

In 2012, Washington became the seventh state in the nation to legally recognize marriage equality.

On Feb. 14, 2023, the Washington Secretary of State unveiled an exhibit in its office celebrating the anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in our state. The exhibit, Love, =qually, the Journey to Marriage Equality, is a project of Legacy Washington and contains profiles of prominent LGBTQ+ Washingtonians, a history of the marriage equality movement and amazing pictures and stories of individuals who played a role in achieving this milestone. TVW covered the exhibit opening that included remarks and personal memories from the key players in the movement, including former Governor Gregoire.

(Photo Credit: Washington Secretary of State)

The exhibit describes the “brick by brick” strategy proponents undertook to achieve the ultimate goal of marriage equality. The 2012 legalization represented a culmination of decades of work from countless advocates, including passing domestic partnerships in three phases and enacting an “everything but marriage” law.

During the 2012 legislative session, the Legislature passed SB 6239 which had the title “Relating to providing equal protection for all families in Washington by creating equality in civil marriage and changing the domestic partnership laws, while protecting religious freedom.” The measure passed the Senate on a 28-21 vote and the House on a 55-43 vote. I understand it was a nail biter securing sufficient votes for passage. I have shared this before, but I believe former Representative Maureen Walsh’s floor speech advocating for the bill’s passage is always worth a rewatch. (Spoiler alert: she did throw her daughter a wedding and the exhibit includes moving pictures of the joyful day).

Surrounded by bill supporters, former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signs legislation establishing full legal rights for same-sex couples to marry on Feb. 13, 2012

(Photo Credit: Washington State Secretary of State)

Following the Governor’s signature of the bill, opponents secured a referendum on the November 2012 ballot, putting the question of marriage equality before the Washington voters. Voters approved Referendum 74 with a 54% approval and the new law took effect Dec. 6 with the first marriages performed on Dec. 9. You may recall from last week’s “Notes From Olympia” that an original “Capsule Keeper” Jennifer Estroff placed her pro Referendum 74 lapel pin in the 2014 time capsule. I also saw a few of the pins on campus Valentine’s Day as folks were in town celebrating the exhibit opening at the Secretary of State’s Office.

Displays include photos and personal stories

(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)

Two sitting lawmakers feature prominently in the exhibit, Washington’s first openly lesbian Speaker of the House, Speaker Laurie Jinkins and State Senate Floor Leader Sen. Jamie Pedersen. This short video includes Speaker Jinkins and Senator Pedersen discussing the impact of marriage equality for them and their families.

(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)

The “Love, Equally” book containing more great stories and pictures is available for purchase from the Secretary of State for $30 (email info@sos.wa.gov).

You now have at least two reasons to visit the Capitol campus: to see this inspiring exhibit and view the time capsule. Throw in some cinnamon bread from Wagner’s Bakery just down the street and you have a perfect day!

Sources: Secretary of State/Legacy Washington Love, =qually project and observations of the author’s visit to the exhibit.

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Washington state capitol buildingThe Legislative Building from the north side on Super Bowl Sunday.
Note the third flagpole is not flying the Seahawks flag. There’s always next year …
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


How old were the “Keepers of the Capsule” who, during Washington state’s Centennial celebration in 1989, pledged to preserve the time capsule designed to commemorate the Centennial and to enlist future generations to update the capsule contents and continue the tradition?

Cutoff Time

Policy Cutoff. The first cutoff is today (Friday, Feb. 17), with a deadline for bills to pass out of policy committees. After this cutoff, we will have a better idea of what is still in play. It is not uncommon for bills to be amended (sometimes substantially) to keep the issue alive. We are at the stage in the legislative process where bills can change on a dime, so it’s wise to keep the legislative website handy and check it frequently for bills you care about.

Fiscal Cutoff. Next week will be filled with marathon (likely late night) meetings in the fiscal committees as the Feb. 24 fiscal cutoff looms. As of this writing, the Senate Ways and Means Committee has a Saturday Feb. 18 meeting scheduled.

Testimony in fiscal committees differs from policy committees in that fiscal chairs request testifiers to speak to the fiscal aspects of the bill, rather than make a policy case. Short and sweet and a minimal number of testifiers is advised!

Bill Hearings

The Transitional Kindergarten bill passed Education Committee with amendments. The House Education Committee passed a Substitute House Bill 1550 Tuesday, which can be seen on TVW starting at the 42:30 minute mark. This bill would codify (make official in law) the Transitional Kindergarten program and convert it to a new Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) program with distinct roles for both the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

Changes made to the bill as compared to the original version include:

  • Clarification that school districts can play a vital role in providing services to young children, particularly in early learning deserts
  • Legislative intent to convert existing Transitional Kindergarten programs to TTK if the program standards outlined in the bill are met
  • A requirement that school districts applying to operate or expand a TTK program must consider the availability of existing early learning providers and enact a memoranda of understanding between the district and other early learning providers and the development of a model memorandum of understanding by OSPI and DCYF
  • TTK sites must implement the following elements in alignment with Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) performance standards: classroom environment, pedagogical approach and safety measures
  • Direction that OSPI and DCYF consider existing availability of ECEAPs, Head Start and licensed child care when coordinating authorization of school districts to offer a TTK program, approval of TTK program sites, and capping of eligible child enrollment
  • The elimination of the requirement for full school day and full school year programs and instead directs OSPI to prorate funding for partial day and partial year

Education Committee members stressed that their goal is to ensure school districts and other early learning providers work together to expand access to high quality opportunities for young children. The bill now moves to the House Appropriations Committee and awaits a hearing.

The Senate Committee amended and approved the “Improving Maternal Health Outcomes” bill. The Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee passed Senate Bill 5580, which can be seen on TVW beginning at the 1:40:30 minute mark. This bill would create a post-delivery and transitional care program and allow five additional days of hospitalization after birth for women with a substance use disorder. The bill would also update the current Maternity Support Services (MSS) program to address perinatal outcomes and increase equity and healthier birth outcomes. The committee amended the bill to extend the deadline for implementing the post delivery and transition care program and changes to the Material Support Services (MSS) program from Jan. 1, 2024, to no later than Jan. 1, 2025. The bill now awaits a hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Caseload Forecasts Released

On Feb. 10, the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council met to receive updated caseload forecasts. These caseload forecasts inform the writing of the budgets by providing insight into expected costs for forecasted programs like K-12 education, nursing home usage and foster care.

Following are caseload forecasts for early learning related programs. Two items of note: 1) the changes reflect projected increases or decreases from the November 2022 forecasts and 2) Transitional Kindergarten is not separately forecasted.

Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT)

  • State Fiscal Year 2023 projected caseload: 11,012 (+16/+.1%)
  • State Fiscal Year 2024 projected caseload: 11,649 (+78/+.7%)
  •  State Fiscal Year 2025 projected caseload: 12,226 (+167/+1.4%)

Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP)

  • State Fiscal Year 2023 projected caseload: 11,962 (-697/-5.5%)
  • State Fiscal Year 2024 projected caseload: 14,168 (-269/-1.9%)
  • State Fiscal Year 2025 projected caseload: 14,490 (-415/-2.8%)

Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)

  • State Fiscal Year 2023 projected caseload: 24,079 (-221/-.9%)
  • State Fiscal Year 2024 projected caseload: 26,520 (-872/-3.2%)
  • State Fiscal Year 2025 projected caseload: 28,368 (+233/+.8%)

In the forecast narrative, risks to the ECEAP forecast include a tight labor market and potential competition from other early learning programs. For Working Connections Child Care, the narrative notes that while provider availability has not restricted caseload growth so far, there could be a risk to the caseload associated with supply limits.

Striker and Substitute Bills

What’s the difference between a striker and a substitute bill? The process for a bill to become a law is a lot more complicated than Schoolhouse Rock led us to believe. Like other governmental bodies, the Washington State Legislature deploys many different processes and avenues to add or make changes to law.

At this point in the legislative session, you may hear references to “substitute bills” or “striking amendments” on legislation you are following. A “substitute bill” is a new version of an existing bill substituting the original bill with new content. Substitute bills can only be offered by a committee in the bill’s house of origin during a committee hearing or executive session (voting session). A “striker amendment” or “striker bill” removes – or strikes – everything after the title of the bill and inserts new language, usually major changes to the underlying bill.

The main difference between the two is where the change to the bill happens: “substitutes” can only happen in committee in the house of origin and “strikers” happen on the floor or in the opposite chamber. If you’re interested in learning more about the legislative process, the legislature has a host of information including a detailed guide to reading bills. The University of Washington Office of Budget and Planning also provides a great overview.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

“Keepers of the Capsule” were 10-year-old Washington state children with birthdays on or near the state’s Centennial of Nov. 11, 1989. These original Capsule Keepers were volunteers who pledged to preserve the Washington State Centennial Time Capsule and enlist a new generation every 25 years. The project continues to be supported by the Office of the Secretary of State.

Former Washington State Secretary of State Ralph Munro (Former Washington State Secretary of State Ralph Munro (in top hat) and former Governor Booth Gardner with original “Capsule Keepers” at the Nov. 11, 1989 celebration at the Capitol.
(If you remember the trivia a couple of weeks ago about the Centennial celebration, I am guessing Secretary of State Munro still had on his “period fashion show” clothing.)

(Photo Credit: Keepers of the Capsule)

I recently interviewed one of these original “Keepers of the Capsule,” Jennifer Estroff. In 1989, Jennifer was a fourth-grade student at Harbor Heights Elementary in Gig Harbor (Go Orcas!) when she brought home a letter advertising this project. Her parents agreed this could be fun and they mailed in the form. Little did they know that some 34 years later, Jennifer would remain extremely active and committed to this effort.

Washington state time capsuleOriginal “Keeper of the Capsule” Jennifer Estroff (in red holding a capsule) alongside former Secretary of State Kim Wyman (far right), Time Capsule Organizer Knute Berger (far left) and other 1989 Capsule Keepers on February 2015
(Photo Credit: Washington State Secretary of State)

Jennifer provided a wealth of information about the origin and evolution of the project. She shared that in 1988, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro and Washington Centennial Commission Executive Secretary Putnam Barber wanted to identify a project to engage youth.

The Centennial Commission hired journalist Knute Berger to develop a time capsule concept that would engage the public. Berger had researched why time capsules often failed (largely because they get buried, forgotten and lost) and came up with the idea of a visible, updateable time capsule. (Berger wrote a great Crosscut piece back in 2014 anticipating the first 25-year update.)

Back to 1989, the roughly 300 “Capsule Keepers” were given t-shirts and were sworn in, making a commitment to oversee the capsule as well as to recruit new keepers. Science fiction author Greg Bear wrote the Keepers of the Capsule oath:

“We hereby swear to ensure the continuity of these capsules, to watch and ward over the past, present, and future heritage of the State of Washington contained herein, and to pass our responsibility on to the next generation of Keepers of the Capsule.”

Washington state time capsuleFormer Secretary of State Kim Wyman swears in a new batch of “Capsule Keepers” in 2015
(Photo Credit: Washington State Keepers of the Capsule)

The capsule itself was constructed by the Westinghouse Hanford Company. It weighs 3,000 pounds and holds a series of 16 stainless steel individual time capsules. The idea is that each of the 16 individual time capsules would be filled with new items every 25 years. All of the capsules are expected to be opened in 2389, the state’s 500th birthday. The capsule is located at the southern end of the Legislative Building. Some of the items added to the inaugural 1989 capsule include a Nordstrom catalog, a silver Boeing 747 pin and a license plate dated “2389” – the year of the state’s 500th birthday.

Washington state time capsuleKnute Berger oversees the closing of the capsule in 1989
(Photo Credit: capsulekeepers.org )

The Capsule is checked every two years to make sure moisture or other elements do not damage the capsule contents. A second individual capsule was filled in 2014 at the first 25-year marker. Jennifer reported that she added her lapel pin commemorating the passage of Referendum 74, creating marriage equality and Amazon added a Kindle containing books by every Washington author. Jennifer made a good point that any item included in the time capsule operated by technology must be accompanied by directions so that future openers of the capsules can fully experience their inclusion. (Think VHS tapes).

The original 1989 group is now in their 40s and they are looking to diversify and pass this legacy to the next generation.

Jennifer noted that if you are on a tour of the Capitol, make sure the tour guide stops and explains the time capsule. Too many people (including me!) walk right past it and do not pause to think about its story.

Thank you to Jennifer for sharing your memories and experience!

Sources: Washington State Keepers of the Capsule website and Keepers of the Capsule Facebook page

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Washington State Capitol

Rainstorms usher in Week Five
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


In 1932, John H. Ryan became the first Black man elected to the Washington State Senate. Ryan served nearly 20 years in both the State Senate and House of Representatives. He was elected representing how many different political parties?

Legislative Session Temperature Check

On Sunday, we will officially be one-third through the 2023 legislative session and it feels like a good time to check in on where things stand. Some things top of mind for me include:

  • The hybrid approach works. Thanks to great prep work from TVW and legislative staff, the hybrid nature of testimony that allows for a mix of in-person and virtual, is going very well. The campus feels markedly quieter on many days as many people appear to be taking advantage of virtual opportunities to testify and meet with legislators. As a result, the anticipated fears of a parking shortage have not materialized. However, the lines for food at the Dome Deli are still long, with the Pritchard Cafeteria only open intermittently.
  • Policy Cutoff is coming. The legislative process is structured to reduce the number of issues under consideration as the session progresses via “cutoff deadlines” for action on bills. That first cutoff is rapidly approaching with a Feb. 17 deadline for policy committees to take action. The fiscal committee “cutoff” is just one week later on Feb. 24. These cutoff dates serve as a natural filter as it is not feasible for lawmakers to partake in mindful debate on the approximately 1,600 bills introduced to date. As a result, many bills fall victim to timing rather than concerns over merit. It can be very frustrating when a bill you care about does not make it through these filters, but there is always next year. (At least that’s what we tell ourselves).
  • The budget is starting to take shape. Budget writers continue to receive briefings on the various aspects of the operating, capital and transportation budgets. Major items with large price tags that continue to be in play include housing (impacting both the operating and capital budgets), workforce needs and special education funding. At the end of the day, budget writers need to secure sufficient votes to pass the budgets and we will see trade-offs as these negotiations intensify.

Collective Bargaining Agreements and the State Budget

Prior to the start of each legislative biennium, the Office of Financial Management (on behalf of the Governor) negotiates with respective labor unions to create tentative collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that address wages, hours and working conditions.

Following negotiations, these tentative CBAs are submitted to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) by October. After the state’s Revenue Report is released in November, OFM determines the financial viability of the various agreements. After that step, the Legislature approves the agreements during its legislative session through a yes or no vote without any amendments allowed. If the Legislature does not approve any of these agreements, the state must go back to the bargaining table. Check out the Office of Financial Management for more information on the process of collective bargaining.

For the upcoming 2023-25 biennium, OFM negotiated a total of 32 separate agreements, with general government employees representing the highest number of employee count (54,656) and total agreements (11). The cumulative cost for the negotiated agreements for the 2023-25 biennium totals $1.33 billion. The largest portion of this expense can be found in the agreements for general government employees.

According to an OFM presentation to the Joint Committee on Employment Relations in October 2022, major common bargaining themes include staff recruitment and retention, investments to employees who provide direct services, modernizing language related to hybrid work conditions and wage increases. General government employees are slated to receive a wage increase, lump-sum COVID-19 booster incentives and recognition and retention bonuses, among other increases.

Related to early learning, family child care providers are unionized through the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 925. The tentative negotiated agreement heading into the 2023-25 state budget cycle includes an increase in the hourly rate of care provided by family, friends and neighbors (FFNs) from $3.00 to $3.85 that would go into effect July 1, 2023 and an increase to $4.00 on July 1, 2024. The agreement also increases the base subsidy rates for licensed family child care providers to the 85th percentile of the 2021 market rate survey, increases the cost-of-care subsidy base rate enhancement from $2,000 to $2,100 per month per licensed provider and eliminates background check and fingerprinting fees on behalf of licensed family child care providers. Budgeted cost for the Family Child Care agreement totals $217 million.

Why am I including this information in the newsletter? As the legislative session progresses, budget writers must balance available revenue and priority expenses. These collective bargaining agreements represent a significant budget expense that will factor into the availability of funding for other state priorities.

Maternal Health

On Feb. 7, the Senate Health Care Committee held a work session on maternal health followed by public hearings on a number of maternal health related bills. Senator Yasmin Trudeau, the prime sponsor of SB 5470 related to lactation consultants, testified with her infant daughter. The visual of Senator Trudeau and her baby reminded me of the importance of representation!

Senator Yasmin Trudeau and her effective assistantSenator Yasmin Trudeau and her effective assistant
(Photo Credit: TVW hearing screenshot)

One of the bills heard in the Senate Health Care Committee that day was SB 5580 (Muzzall). SB 5580 would create a post-delivery and transitional care program at the Washington State Health Care Authority for birthing people experiencing substance use disorder. The program would provide five additional days of hospitalization after birth and provide the birthing parent access to a number of parental, behavioral health and other supports. The bill would also update the current Maternity Support Services (MSS) program to address perinatal outcomes and increase equity and healthier birth outcomes.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

John H. Ryan (Photo Credit: BlackPast)

Over the course of 20 years, John H. Ryan was elected to the Legislature representing THREE different political parties – The Farm Labor Party, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.


Farmer-Labor Party LogoFarmer-Labor Party Logo
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Ryan was born in Ohio and moved to Spokane with his wife Ella in 1889. There, he worked as a practicing attorney and his wife operated a salon. The couple then moved to Tacoma in 1903 where together they published two newspapers, the Weekly (the first Black-owned newspaper in Washington) and the Forum, which largely focused on politics.

John H. Ryan was first elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1920 as a Farm Labor candidate representing the 28th legislative district. Ryan was only the second nonwhite member of the State Legislature after William Owen Bush who joined the House of Representatives in 1889. In 1921, Ryan joined with the NAACP to successfully defeat legislation that would have banned interracial marriage. While Ryan served in the Legislature, his wife Ella oversaw the publication of the newspapers.

In 1938, Ryan legally changed his name to “Senator J.H. Ryan.” His rationale in making the change was that people routinely called him Senator, so he made it official.

Ryan passed away in 1943.

Sources: HistoryLink.org and Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus

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wahington capitolA Gorgeous Sunny Sunday in Olympia
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


What was the capstone event of Washington state’s yearlong centennial celebration in 1989?

Bill Hearings

House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee held a hearing on a variety of early learning focused bills:

  • The hearing on House Bill 1451, a child care workforce pipeline bill that would create a Child Care Worker Pilot Program for high school students interested in the field of child care, begins at the 46 minute mark. The bill also looks to increase the child care substitute pool and provide additional assistance to those interested in continuing to pursue a child care career.
  • The hearing on House Bill 1525, which would provide child care subsidy for parents in state-approved apprenticeship programs and, according to Committee Chair Tana Senn, may have the most legislative co-sponsors for any piece of legislation this session, begins at the 25 second mark.

Both HB 1451 and HB 1525 are scheduled for Executive Session in the House Human Services, Youth and Early Learning Committee Tuesday, Feb. 7.

  • Finally, the hearing on House Bill 1511, which aims to increase access to affordable child care by exempting social security benefits, social-security income and child support from being considered “income” when determining child care subsidy eligibility, begins at the 1:11 minute mark. This bill particularly supports low-income working families, single parents, parents with disabilities, grandparents and other seniors caring for children. It is slated for Executive Session in the House policy committee Friday, Feb. 10.

House Education Committee

  • The House Education Committee hearing on House Bill 1550 Tuesday, Jan. 31, begins at the 42:30 minute mark. HB 1550 would create the “Transition to Kindergarten” program to be administered jointly by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The bill analysis summarizes the bill’s key components, including outlining state agency, school district and program rules and requirements and plans to convert existing “Transitional Kindergarten” programs to the proposed new program.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tana Senn, began the hearing by framing the bill as an opportunity to codify the new Transition to Kindergarten program as the current Transitional Kindergarten program is not explicitly authorized in law; to require coordination between school and community-based early learning programs; and to ensure the state is on track for meeting the existing ECEAP entitlement by the 2026-27 year.

Supporters of the bill, largely community-based early learning stakeholders, discussed the need for coordination between school districts and early learning providers to ensure child and family needs are met and expressed concerns that the current approach with Transitional Kindergarten may negatively impact early learning providers and may not provide developmentally appropriate education statewide. Groups that signed in with a position of “con” or “other,” mainly K12 system stakeholders, expressed concerns that certain provisions of the bill, in particular the loss of the current funding source for Transitional Kindergarten (Basic Education funding), could lead to fewer pre-K options for children and families, particularly in communities with fewer options for families.

HB 1550 is scheduled for an Executive Session in the House Education Committee Thursday, Feb. 9.

New Legislation Introduced This Week

HB 1676 (Senn). HB 1676 would modify the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers Program (ESIT) by increasing the funding allocation multiplier for the program. The bill would also require monthly reporting of children utilizing the program to occur at the end of each month for services provided within that month.

HB 1697 (Walsh). HB 1697 would eliminate requirements for child care and other learning providers participating in the Early Achievers Quality Rating Improvement System. It would also bar linking the Core Competencies for Early Care and Education to licensing standards.

HB 1716 (Rule). HB 1716 would create a tax credit for employers supporting employee child care needs. The bill would require the Department of Revenue to report details on the tax credit and provide an opening to extend the tax credit if proven successful in increasing access to child care for families.

HB 1739 (Dent). HB 1739 would require the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to create an instructional handbook for child care providers. A child care provider would be exempt from obtaining an early childhood certificate if they signed an attestation indicating the handbook had been read.

Caseload Forecast Update

On Friday, Feb. 10, the Washington state Caseload Forecast Council will meet to receive updated caseload numbers for entitlement programs such as ECEAP, Working Connections Child Care, Early Support for Infants and Toddlers, K-12 enrollment and Corrections (prisons). These caseload numbers will inform the biennial budget that is currently under development. Increases in caseloads will drive further state investment and decreases in caseloads will do the opposite.

The final “revenue report” that informs how much the state will have to spend on these entitlement programs, as well as Collective Bargaining Agreements with represented labor groups and other state investments will be released March 20.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

A yearlong celebration of Washington state’s 100 years of statehood culminated in a day-long bash at the State Capitol Nov. 11, 1989. Hundreds of Washingtonians made the trek to Olympia to partake in the festivities.

The day included a fashion show featuring state dignitaries dressed in the height of 1889 fashion and the Enter Act Theatre performing the Washington statehood song (yes, that is a link to a YouTube video of the group rehearsing prior to their performance).

Of course, no party is complete without cake, and KING 5 out of Seattle reported that local bakeries created cakes in the shape of the Legislative Building for guests to enjoy. (Check out the late 1980s hairstyles and the iconic Joyce Taylor).

Cake excitement!
“I want a piece of the dome! I want one of the big doors.”
(Photo Credit: Image from KING 5 segment)

Other highlights included the dedication of a “time capsule,” involving selected 10-year-old “capsule keepers.” (I know one of these “capsule keepers” and hope to interview them for an upcoming trivia item about the time capsule that sits at the southern portion of the Legislative Building). The final celebratory event was fireworks and a laser display.

People unable to visit the Capitol were encouraged to turn on their porch lights to “light the way to the next 100 years.” The state even issued commemorative license plates. I found this one on-sale on eBay for $9.99:

(Photo Credit: eBay)

Finally, not all of the yearlong activities were focused in Olympia. During the time of the centennial, Congressman Tom Foley of Spokane served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Given Foley’s leadership role, it is not a surprise that a flagship event was held in Foley’s hometown with a visit from then-President George H.W. Bush to Spokane’s Riverfront Park, the site of the 1974 World’s Fair. I came upon a copy of President Bush’s remarks and wanted to share a couple of excerpts that jumped out to me.

Given the acrimony in the nation’s capital today (and politics in general), it can be hard to remember there was a time not that long ago of respect (and friendship) amongst elected officials, even those from the opposite party. Following are President Bush’s opening comments to the group gathered in Spokane:

“Let me say at the very beginning that Washington State is very lucky to have a friend like Tom Foley in the Nation’s Capital. He is a man of integrity, decency, fair play, and — okay, he’s a Democrat, but — [laughter] — he’s a man I’m very proud and honored to work with. And you should be very fortunate to have him as your Congressman, just as I am to have him as the Nation’s Speaker.”

I found it interesting that President Bush’s speech focused largely on environmental challenges facing our country. I pulled out a few portions and they read like something you might hear today:

“And I may be going out on a limb here, but I think most of America thinks of you as the real Washington. Yours is a land of rich resources and resourceful people. Salmon, gold, timber in abundance brought us here, as the promise of the Pacific brought the railroads west. There has always been, and will always be, a sense that the future is being decided here in this gateway to the Pacific.

I took this trip out West because I’m concerned — as I think we all are — about the future of the planet we share. You see, it won’t be enough to restore our balance of trade if we throw off the balance of nature.”

I think we can all agree that we ARE the real Washington.

Do any of you have memories of the centennial celebration you would like to share? Seems like it was a lot of fun!

Bonus Trivia

The longtime Spokesman Review Olympia-based reporter Jim Camden is largely retired, but he continues to pen a weekly column where he takes a deep dive into questions from the Naturalization Test people must pass to become citizens of the United States.

In this week’s column, Camden took a more nuanced look at the basic question of “What is your state’s capital?” Camden notes that while many states changed their capital city over the years, Washington’s has always been Olympia. His column provides very interesting background, some of which we have covered in previous editions of trivia. For those readers that grew up in Washington state, perhaps this background is familiar to what you learned when you studied the history of our state in school. An interesting read!

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Washington State Capitol Building
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)


In 1954, the Washington State Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of a group of Olympia businesspeople who sued the state for what reason?

Highlights of the Week

Capital Gains Tax Oral Arguments Commence. On Jan. 26, Crosscut published a thorough review of the capital gains tax background and issues, including a bit about the expected timeline of the Supreme Court’s actions.

Unexpected Free Food Giveaway. One of the best ways to turn a Monday frown upside down is the offer of free, warm cinnamon rolls. People throughout the Capitol campus were downright giddy to learn the Washington Association of Wheat Growers was on campus with smiles and offers of warm cinnamon rolls. The rolls, coupled with Wednesday’s Dairy Day giveaway, helped many a Capitol dweller through another long week.

Cinnamon Roll Station
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)

Of course, Dairy Day did not disappoint. Along with the expected ice cream, they offered chocolate milk and selfie-inviting cut-out cows!

Dairy Day Selfie Station
(Photo Credit: Erica Hallock)

New Legislation Introduced this Week

As we near the end of week three and approach the Feb. 17 policy cutoff, the introduction of new bills has slowed a bit and committees are squarely focused on bill hearings and executive sessions (a fancy term for votes on bills).

Please check out Start Early Washington’s bill tracker on our State Policy Resources page for a more complete listing of early learning-related legislation and their status. Below is a summary of some bills in play. Inclusion is not meant to indicate Start Early Washington’s position, but instead meant to provide a flavor of issues under consideration.

HB 1451 (Senn). HB 1451 directs OSPI to create the Child Care Worker Pilot Program that will provide high school students credit for working in and exploring pathways in early childhood education programs. The bill also creates a grant program to support technical assistance for new child care providers, directs DCYF to create a web-based manual for youth caring for younger siblings when parents are not home, and calls for the expansion of the substitute pool.

HB 1511 (Reeves). HB 1511 ends the use of social security benefits, social-security income, and child care support as income for families applying for child care subsidy or ECEAP. This bill supports low-income families that may have limited work capacities such as parents with disabilities and single parents.

HB 1550 (Santos). HB 1550 creates the “Transition to Kindergarten” program administered jointly by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The bill outlines state agency, school district, and program rules and requirements as well as plans to convert existing “Transitional Kindergarten” programs to this new program.

Following are some key components:


  • Removes basic education funds as the primary funding source for the program and designates the source as State General Fund. Also explicitly removes the ability to fund the program with basic education dollars.
  • Requires the program to be free of charge to eligible children.
  • State funding for the program must be based per enrolled eligible child and must not be higher than the amount per child allocated by the legislature for ECEAP.


  • Program eligibility must be coordinated with existing early learning providers. Eligibility requirements include:
    • Children on an ECEAP waitlist, but not yet enrolled in an ECEAP program.
    • Children screened as needing additional preparation before entering kindergarten (screening process must be submitted to the state).
    • Children that have not participated in a formal early learning program.
    • Children with families earning up to 100% of the State Median Income adjusted for family size.

Program Administration

  • The “Transition to Kindergarten” program would be jointly administered by OSPI and DCYF.
  • Programs would be authorized by school districts and program sites would be limited to common schools.
  • Districts applying for the funds must:
    • Describe the process to determine if a child needs support from the “Transition to Kindergarten” program.
    • Outline recruitment and enrollment plans with early learning providers in the school catchment area.
    • Wait one year between application submission and the program’s start date.
    • Describe the assessment tools used to screen children for program eligibility.
    • Outline a plan for coordination with existing early learning providers.
    • Not deny entry to the program based on a student’s disability.
  •  Provides OSPI administrative responsibility for parts of the program, including:
    • Providing eligibility and enrollment data.
    • For the 2024-25 school year, prioritizing program funding to districts currently offering “Transitional Kindergarten.” These program dollars are subject to the availability of funding appropriated for this specific purpose.
    • Requiring OSPI to work with DCYF on program monitoring, quality and teacher certification.
    • Directing school districts to work with the existing early learning provider ecosystems in their catchment area.
  • School districts must have their programs reauthorized every five years and districts must notify the state if any program discontinues one year before closure.
  • Clarifies DCYF has monitoring and rule-making authority.
  • Requires OSPI and DCYF to develop a plan to convert existing “Transitional Kindergarten” programs to the new “Transition to Kindergarten” program outlined in this bill.

Program Standards

  • Requires school districts with the “Transition to Kindergarten” program to participate in Early Achievers.
  • Requires alignment of the “Transition to Kindergarten” program licensing standards to child care and ECEAP licensing standards and the use of developmentally appropriate curricula.
  • Requires each program to be staffed with a teacher holding a valid Washington teacher certificate with either an early childhood education endorsement or an early childhood special education endorsement.

Senate hearing on Working Connections Child Care Bills. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Senate Early Learning and K12 Committee held public hearings on several child care and early learning-focused bills. The committee heard SB 5225, which would: 1) increase access to child care by authorizing care for families involved in therapeutic court; 2) prohibit the Department of Children, Youth and Families from considering the immigration status of a full-time student parent enrolled in certain education programs applying for Working Connections Child Care; and 3) authorizes child care subsidy eligibility for dependents of child care employees with incomes up to 85% of State Median Income. Senators heard from parents directly impacted by the current policies, including a parent who had to leave her job at a preschool due to the cost of child care for her own child.

The committee also heard SB 5316, which eliminates the requirement for applicants of child care and foster care entities to pay state and federal background check fees.

Finally, the committee heard SB 5423, which provides qualifying applicants and consumers of state registered apprenticeship programs eligible for the Working Connections Child Care subsidy. A parent and ironworker apprentice described how trade apprenticeships are a great pathway to family financial stability and how unreliable and unaffordable child care can be a barrier.

Bill Tracker: Key Early Learning Bills

As the legislative session progresses, our resource page will update with a weekly bill tracker. Please note that legislation changes quickly, so the version on our website may not represent a bill’s latest version as it is published the Thursday of each week.

Trivia Answer

Given the level of construction on the campus this year, much of the trivia will revolve around buildings, including this week.

In 1954, the Washington State Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in favor of Olympia businesspeople that state agency headquarters must be based in Olympia.

Shortly after the designation of Olympia as the State Capitol in 1853, a number of state agencies settled outside of the capital city, largely in Seattle. This re-location of state agencies intensified following World War II and by the mid-1950s, 13 state agencies were housed in Seattle.

In its decision, the majority wrote, “We feel certain it was the intention of the framers of our state constitution and the people … that the whole of the executive department should be located in the seat of government.” However, in their written dissent, four justices countered this question as one for the Washington State Legislature, rather than the court.

As Olympia began to run out of office space (a topic for a future trivia item), state agencies began to expand into neighboring Tumwater and Lacey. So far, we have not seen any legal challenges from 21st century businesspeople in Olympia that this violates the spirit of the Washington State Supreme Court precedent.

Post-COVID, the question of how much office space state agencies need is timely as many state agency staff continue to work remotely. (This is also a question with budget implications as state real estate is not an inconsequential expense). Additionally, we are seeing state agencies build their footprints with offices located throughout the state to help ensure their staff lives in and knows their community.

Source: History Link

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Home visiting is about finding strengths in human connection, building trusting relationships – and all the messy stuff in between.

After a remarkable three decades of shaping the home visiting landscape, Quen Zorrah – Lead Facilitator and Co-Developer of NEAR@Home – is retiring.

Quen Zorrah headshot

Start Early Washington shares our collective love, respect and appreciation for Quen Zorrah and her lifetime of work supporting human connection and relationship building between children and their caregivers. Her expertise in supporting families has shaped how programs work with families to promote strong relationships.

Raising the Bar

Prior to her time with Start Early Washington, Quen was a public health nurse and one of the first nurses in the nation to provide home visiting services to families through Nurse-Family Partnership. Her work has integrated infant mental health and Neuroscience, Epigenetics, ACEs, and Resilience (NEAR) science into home visiting through teaching, coaching and reflective supervision. As the Lead Facilitator and Co-Developer of NEAR@Home, Quen has developed trauma-informed practices for building resilience and uniquely positions home visitors to safely and effectively talk with families during a critical period of development – the earliest years of a child’s life.

“I was fortunate enough to work with Quen for 20 years, as a teacher, supervisor, consultant, co-author and an esteemed colleague. I’ve never known anyone who got what reflective listening was, or who was freer of professional pretense, than Quen. She is so unpretentious that it would be easy to underestimate her real genius for this work.” — Dr. Marian Birch, DMH, Psychologist

The Journey

Like many staff on Start Early Washington’s home visiting team, Quen’s firsthand experiences as a mother led her to pursue a lifelong career devoted to children and their families.

At the age of 19, Quen distinctly remembers the first day she met a home visitor. “My child was only two days old when a woman from King County Public Health knocked on my door. She was so humble and respectful, but as persistent as a boot wedged in my doorway! Somehow, she knew how much I needed to hear words of compassion.” Seemingly, Quen’s home visitor intuitively knew that Quen was in need of positive reinforcement and support as a young, first-time parent.

Quen admired the compassion and hopefulness home visitors brought to her life, but she was still apprehensive at the thought of home visiting with her second child. “I wasn’t as put together and I was worried about what they would think of me, my mess and my reality.” Unsurprisingly, her home visitors lauded her efforts and bolstered her confidence, helping her tackle the many challenges of parenting. With each visit, Quen’s self-talk started to shift substantially, “College is achievable!” “My voice matters!” “I can do this!”

Quen’s home visitors changed the course of her life. “Not only my life but my kids’ lives as well. We take for granted the power of finding strengths and being human with each other.” After witnessing the power of home visiting support, Quen was determined to make a difference to others just as her home visitors did for her; she was determined to be a catalyst for change.

Quen completed her GED and carried her remarkable determination and fortitude as a young parent with her to nursing school at Seattle Central Community College. Upon graduation, Quen worked as a nurse for renowned medical centers and rural based community hospitals in remote mountain towns, before joining Nurse-Family Partnership, where she flourished for the next 20 years, supporting families with young children, pregnant women, grandparents, foster parents and fathers as primary caregivers.

Quen’s passion and perseverance to provide comfort, compassion and support led her to the creation of the highly successful, nationally acclaimed NEAR@Home toolkit, a tool providing home visitors with information and skills to talk about trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) during home visits, while building trust and hope.

“Quen reminds me that I do not always have to fix things; my presence alone can bring value to any given situation.” — Amy Houser, Consultant 

Finding Balancing

Home visitors often face their own challenges with trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These lived experiences bring motivation and strengths to the field of home visiting, but they also add another level of strain. The exposure to challenges and trauma of others can contribute to burnout and poor mental and physical well-being. Quen notes gardening as her antidote to secondary traumatic stress or “compassion fatigue” inherent to those supporting families directly.

Quen appreciates the balance that gardening brings to the intensity of her work. Influenced by her great-grandmother, Quen cherishes time outside to slowly walk around her garden and admire each of her plants. “Gardening is a wonderful balance to all seriousness. It’s creative and offers exercise and most importantly, if I mess something up in my garden, I just compost it. But of course, it’s not that simple with humans. With plants, the worst that will happen is a compost pile.”

Quen and her 2-year-old granddaughter, Lydia, in the garden (2022)

“Quen’s thoughtfulness, reflectiveness, kind, calm and peaceful way of being, is something I strive to incorporate into my work and personal life.” — Amanda Costello, Director of National Home Visiting, Start Early

Home visiting stories of success and triumph were also a grounding element for Quen. She recalled all the knowledge accumulated over the years: “That’s what kept me going for so long. When working long hours or flustered with bureaucracy, budgets and funding, I’d think about the stories we accumulated. My hope for home visitors is that they will share stories for inspiration and as a guide to move past challenges together.”

A Career to Remember

“Quen has shown me how to focus on people and building relationships before focusing on the work.” — Valisa Smith, Executive Director, Start Early Washington

While Quen may no longer be part of the thick of home visiting life, her profound impact has left a lasting legacy, disrupting the way we interact with each other by offering tools that will transform how we build and foster relationships for generations to come.

I’m hoping some of our systems are at a pivot point and we reach a balance where we can value community voice, recognizing that parents know exactly what they need, as much as we value data.

— Quen Zorrah
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Start Early Washington is proud to be part of Quen Zorrah’s story. Her ability to reach parents and children at an intrinsic human level is immeasurable. We are honored to continue to share NEAR@Home with the world – a toolkit designed to allow users to rediscover hope and strive toward healing, fostering strong and healthy relationships.

We thank Quen for her incredible contribution to the field, honor her on all she has accomplished in her professional and personal life, and congratulate her on retirement and her future endeavors.