Democrats reject Fund Education First amendment to House rules

The Washington State House of Representatives adopted its rules for the 2017 legislative session today. Republicans proposed one amendment to the House rules that would have established their Fund Education First solution. The amendment read:

“After the first sentence of Rule 12, insert the following: '(A) FUND EDUCATION FIRST. Education funding for the fiscal biennium, appropriations for the purposes of basic education, as defined by the Legislature, and other K-12 education purposes must be enacted into law before it is in order for the house to take a final passage vote on omnibus operating or transportation appropriations legislation.'”

During House floor debate, Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, spoke in favor of the amendment.

“We can work together right now for the children of Washington state. It is in our ability to make this truly the priority and make these hard decisions first. There are plenty of education reform bills out there we can take up now as part of the plan,” said Shea. “Let's take the politics out of education funding by making it a priority right now. We need to vote 'yes' on this amendment!”

Democrats rejected the amendment on a party-line, 50-48 vote.

Fund Education First has been supported by House Republicans since 2006. It would change the state's budget process and require the Legislature to pass a separate K-12 education budget before any other appropriations. This approach would elevate K-12 education to the highest priority in the budgeting process.

House Bill 1021, sponsored by Rep. Drew MacEwen, is this year's version of the Fund Education First solution. It has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

The 105-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 23.


Washington State House Republican Communications