Legislative Session Begins Next Month
by School's Out Washington | | Posted under
This state legislative session is shaping up to be a lively one. SOWA will be working to secure funding for the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Quality Initiative once again and we are working with partners to educate legislators about the youth development field (including mentoring and case management) as well as the impact ELOs play in career exploration and awareness.
Unfortunately Initiative 976 passed last month. The court has stayed the initiative, so it is inactive pending future court rulings. Immediate impact is not predicted to be too much trouble for the budget or transportation projects this next session as only those projects that are shovel-ready or in-progress will likely proceed in the state transportation budget. Depending on what the courts end up ruling, if left intact, Initiative 976 will result in the upheaval of many transportation projects and cuts in the operation budget to pay for emergency transportation items.
In the transportation budget is the Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA), which is paid for by fees collected on Sound Transit project construction. The fund can be used to support services and infrastructure to advance education outcomes for youth furthest from opportunity. PSTAA will be moving forward this year, but could see a minor cut according to state transportation leaders. All three counties continue to plan for usage of the funds with our partners at the Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC) leading efforts in King County for ELOs and other youth development programming and SOWA aiding with strategy efforts with stakeholders in Pierce and Snohomish counties. SOWA will join other children’s advocates in protecting PSTAA funds at the state level for children and youth.
On January 21st, join advocates from expanded learning, mentoring, and youth-serving organizations for Youth Development Advocacy Day in Olympia! Have your voice heard by legislators on the importance of youth development programming such as expanded learning, mentoring, and case management. Youth development is critical in helping our children and youth succeed in school and life. Advocacy training, materials, lunch, and a continental breakfast will be provided. Youth encouraged to attend! Last year we had over 140 attendees, together we can top that this year. This year we have many sponsors including SOWA, YDEKC, SOAR, Kids Co., Communities in Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington State, and Washington State Alliance of YMCAs. Make sure to follow SOWA, YDEKC, SOAR on social media for real time updates. Email David Beard with questions or thoughts.
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