Legislative Advocacy

Keep in the Know

Stillwater PTSA Advocacy Chair

Amy McHenry

Riverview PTSA Council 2.16   (Facebook page)
Riverview Council Legislative Chair - Kim Lisk, kimlisk@comcast.net
WA State PTA
Region 2 Service Delivery Team rlc2@wastatepta.org
Washington State Legislative Director - Nancy Chamberlain, ptalegdir@wastatepta.org
National PTA

June Advocacy Update

June 16, 2021

On June 8, 2021 I attended the All About Advocacy: 2021 Session Wrap Up meeting with the Washington State PTA. The 2021 Session was 105 days long (January 11 – April 25) and the legislature adopted two-year spending plans and tweaked the current fiscal year where needed. There were a lot of new legislators from…


2020 WSPTA Legislative Assembly

November 17, 2020

The Washington State PTA’s (WSPTA) 2020 Legislative Assembly happened virtually this year due to COVID-19. While it was very different than attending an in-person assembly, I was grateful to still participate as many other state PTA’s just cancelled this year. What is Legislative Assembly? It’s an event where representatives and advocates from school districts in…


July Advocacy Update

July 28, 2019

I hope everyone is having a great summer! I wanted to share some notes from the 2019 Legislative Session. Here is a link to the FULL report. It’s an easy read and very well organized, outlining legislature that passed as well as did not pass including links to every bill. https://www.wastatepta.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Legislative-Session-End-of-Session-WSPTA-Final.pdf There is also a…


Advocacy May Update

April 23, 2019

The legislative session will wrap up at the end of April.  The bills associated with school construction and changing bond voting from a super majority to a simple majority have died for this year (e.g., SB 5853 https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5853&Initiative=false&Year=2019 ).  Two bills addressing the teacher shortage are making better progress.  SHB 1621, which would allow the…


March Advocacy Update

March 1, 2019

The February snowstorms not only shut down schools, it also shut down a number of events and business Washington State Legislature, including Focus Day 2019.  WSPTA Focus Day was supposed to be when PTA Advocacy representatives from around the state were to meet with their legislators and talk about the PTA Legislative platform issues.  (Thank…


PTSA Advocacy Update

November 28, 2018

With the 2018 election over, it’s a good time to update and review lawmakers who represent residents living within Stillwater Elementary School boundaries, and thus influence education policies and funding for our school.  Stillwater draws students from the city of Duvall as well as unincorporated Carnation and Duvall, which comprise the fifth and forty-fifth Washington…


Legislative Assembly Update

October 29, 2018

Written by Roslyn Reeps, please send any questions to advocate@stillwaterptsa.org Washington State PTA has been a leading voice for children in Washington for more than 112 years, advocating for the health, safety, well-being and education for every child.  I was able to join with over 230 other members from around the state to continue this…


Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation

September 18, 2018

Last legislative session, the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation unanimously approved a report to the Supreme Court describing the 2018 session’s accomplishments towards meeting the McCleary lawsuit. Two major elements of the 16-page report include expediting educator salaries to the 2018-19 school year and establishing a $105 million “penalty account,” which is the…


Education Funding Changes Signed into Law

September 18, 2018

In March of last year, Governor Inslee signed E2SSB 6362, the “fixes” to last session’s EHB 2242 on education funding.  This law: Moves salaries to the 2018-19 school year for CIS, CLS, and CAS, as defined in the budget. (Section 202; For 2018-19 school year, the budget would increase the statewide minimum salary allocation to…


2017-2018 Legislative Session Update

September 17, 2018

Here’s updates on the 2018 WSPTA legislative priorities: • Social and Emotional Learning–HB1377 passed the Legislature this year, and was signed by Governor Inslee on March 22, 2018 (http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/1377-S2.SL.pdf#page=1). The bill defines certain school employee positions, such as social workers and psychologists, and directs districts with more than 2,000 students to set aside at least…


November Advocacy Update

Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly 2019

Last month I attended my first legislative assembly representing Stillwater Elementary PTSA. I was joined by Kim Lisk from the Riverview Council PTSA and Paige Kasai from Cherry Valley PTSA.  Between the six general sessions were panels, caucuses, Q&A sessions, amendment writing labs, interactive classes and workshops. We decided to split up to cover more educational opportunities and meet back at the general sessions to discuss what we learned.

If you were to attend a general session you would see a large assembly hall full of people, microphone stations and a stage. Each resolution is given a time limit to be discussed and voting members can speak at the pro, con or point of clarification microphones. There were many resolutions up for discussion and the body voted on some to be pulled for individual discussion and others to be approved through a batch vote. It’s important to remember that we are not writing legislation, but rather resolutions describing the PTA’s stance and priority on certain issues. By having a comprehensive legislative platform, the PTA can make a positive impact on the lives of children and families through advocating with legislators. The resolutions are difficult to summarize without losing context, so I do encourage you to read through them. This is a link to the complete packet of Board Positions and Resolutions, if you want to skip through to items amended or new this year, see below: https://www.wastatepta.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Board-Positions-and-Resolutions-October-2019-FINAL.pdf

List of new or amended resolutions at this year’s legislative assembly:

1.8 Substance Use Disorder Education and Prevention *amended

1.10 Adolescent Marijuana Use Prevention *amended

2.1 Safe Travel Routes and Parking Lots *amended

2.2 Child Identification Program *amended

2.9 Emergency Preparedness *amended

2.13 Youth Suicide Prevention *amended

2.14 Child Abuse Prevention Supports *amended

2.22 Digital and Internet Safety *amended

2.23 Gun Violence Prevention and Safety – Students and School Staff *new

4.12 Family and Community Engagement in Education *amended

4.14 Vital Impact of Membership on PTA’s Sustainability *new

4.15 Mission-Focused Fundraising *new

11.1 Juvenile Diabetes *amended

11.11 Indoor Air Standards *amended

11.22 Allergies and Asthma *amended

18.11 Common School/Construction Funding *amended

18.25 Rights and Services for Undocumented Children and Youth *amended

18.37 Arts in Education *amended

18.38 Equitable Education Opportunities to Close Gaps Across the Achievement Spectrum *new

I listened to a Mental Health Panel with Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45), Representative Carolyn Eslick (R-39), Representative Noel Frame (D-36) and Senator Judy Warnick (R-13). This is a post worthy topic on its own, so I’ll delve into this in a future update, but in summary there is bipartisan collaboration on improving access to mental health services in every community. Two of the biggest struggles are funding for important bills that have passed and a shortage of people working in this field.

In the ‘Armed with Data’ class I learned about the Washington Healthy Youth Survey. Since 2002, the Healthy Youth Survey has been administered to students in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grade, every two years. This survey is voluntary and anonymous and is usually administered in the Fall with results following in March. Survey topics include abuse, bullying/harassment, community risk and protective factors, demographics, family risk and protective factors, lifetime and current substance use, mental health, nutrition, peer-individual risk and protective factors, physical activity, safety, fighting, gangs and gambling, school climate, school support, and sexual behavior. Questions are derived from four established surveys used in the U.S.: Communities that Care, Monitoring the Future, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and Global Youth Tobacco Survey. This survey pulls results from over 900 schools in 228 school districts in 39 counties. Across all grades, more youth are reporting depressive symptoms as well as high levels of anxiety and having considered suicide in the past year. You can access the data here: www.askhys.net  One additional note, that it is up to individual school districts if they want to share the results specific to their school district, but you can definitely view the state wide results.

A caucus did not form for 2.13 Youth Suicide due to a high level of consensus for the proposed resolution amendment, so instead I sat in on the 14.4 Digital and Internet Safety caucus. A PTA member from Mercer Island is forming a group to advocate for research on the effects of increased screen time in school for students. If you are interested, please let me know and I can add you to the contact list. I attended caucuses for Parent and Family Engagement as well as Gun Violence. The last class of the weekend was on advocating for change which produced a lot of great action items and ideas that we can use in the future for our school.

I plan on organizing some round table discussion times for parents and teachers who are interested in these topics. As your Advocacy chair, it’s important for me to hear from you!

Did you know that any PTA member can submit an issue that addresses concerns related to children on a state-wide level? If you are interested, please email me and I can point you to the information! Resolution submittal forms for new or amended resolutions to be considered at the next Legislative assembly will be available in March.

Two upcoming dates to mark in your calendar if you’re interested, are January 20, 2020 in Olympia for Focus Day and the WSPTA Annual Convention May 15-17, 2020 in Lynnwood.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Amy McHenry

SWPTSA Advocacy Chair

September Advocacy Update


I (Amy McHenry) received an email via the Washington State PTA’s Action Network Group and wanted to share.

The comment period ENDS Monday, September 23, 2019.

The letter and comment template provided by the WSPTA below outlines their position on this proposed rule change and you can read the USDA’s statement on this proposed rule, as well as find the press release and fact sheet here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fr-072419

If you are interested in receiving action alerts from the WSPTA, sign up here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/subscribe-to-wsptas-action-network-group

"Dear Washington State PTA member,

PTA members know that nutrition is essential to children’s health and well-being, and that hungry children can’t focus on learning. The USDA is currently taking public comments on a proposed rule change that threatens to leave tens of thousands of Washington State students without access to the free school meals they previously qualified for. Washington State PTA is asking you to take action by submitting a public comment asking the USDA to withdraw the proposed Revision of the Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Please feel free to customize the prewritten comment below, and go to https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FNS-2018-0037-0001
to leave your comment. (Note that under category you may select Association-Local if commenting on behalf of your PTA. Otherwise, Individual is appropriate.)

Thank you for taking action to support our children!

Nancy Chamberlain
Federal Legislative Chair"

Comment to USDA:
I am a parent and a proud PTA member. PTA recognizes that good nutrition is essential to children’s health and well-being. Federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school meals are vital to ensuring that all children can learn and thrive in school and at home. I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making on a Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed rule would cause serious harm to Washington state students and families and should be withdrawn.

Under current guidelines, states have the option to eliminate asset tests and use a higher income threshold to determine SNAP eligibility for working families with significant housing and childcare expenses. This current policy option is known as Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE). The proposed rule would greatly limit states’ ability to use BBCE, thereby eliminating SNAP benefits for 1.7 million households nationwide.

While the proposed rule failed to include the rule’s impact on the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program in its Regulatory Impact Analysis, reports indicate that the rule would jeopardize automatic access to free school meals for more than 500,000 students nationwide. Students whose households participate in SNAP are directly certified to receive free school meals. This rule change would mean at least 17,000 Washington state students could lose their school meals.

In Washington state, when about two-thirds of the student body is automatically enrolled in free meals, the Community Eligibility Provision allows that school to offer free meals to every student without collecting meal applications. If those eligibility numbers drop below the two-thirds threshold as a result of students losing SNAP, the school will lose the ability to provide free meals to everyone. This means the number of students at risk of losing free meals in the state has the potential to be much greater than 17,000.

SNAP plays a critical role in addressing hunger and food insecurity in our state and communities. By limiting families’ access to SNAP and jeopardizing children’s participation in school meal programs, the proposed rule would lead to poor health outcomes and diminished academic results among children and contribute to food insecurity in households in Washington and across the country.

SNAP is an investment in the future, as receipt of SNAP in early childhood leads to improved high school graduation rates, adult earnings, and adult health. The Federal Government should continue this investment in the future of our nation’s children, and withdraw the proposed rule change.