On Dec. 11, the AS Board of Directors approved the first section of the AS Legislative Agenda, a document illustrating student interests pertaining to the state government, which will be presented to the state legislature later this month.
“The AS Legislative Agenda is a document that tries to bring together priorities that students feel are most pertinent,” said AS Vice President for Governmental Affairs Kaylee Galloway. “The objective this year was not just to reach out to students for support, but also to really listen to hear what issues students want to have discussed.”
The agenda is composed of three parts, including a legislative priorities agenda, legislative interests and endorsements. It’s an outline of the student body’s interests to be discussed throughout the state legislative session. The document was drafted by the Associated Students Legislative Affairs Council and discussed by the Board of Directors in two separate work sessions.
AS Legislative Liaison Matthew Bobbink will represent the Associated Students in Olympia for most of the legislative session to lobby on the student interests highlighted in the agenda.
The three topics addressed in the first section are “Dedicating revenue to higher-education,” “Advocating for the DREAM Act” and “Securing funding for the safety renovation project for the Carver Academic Facilty,” as stated in the document.
While K-12 education is constitutionally guaranteed, higher education isn’t. Therefore, agenda presses for some form of support for dedicated revenue for secondary education, Galloway said.
The second priority highlights the importance of making the State Need Grant available to students who are undocumented. Lastly, the agenda also notes the importance of the renovation of the Carver Academic Complex.
“We will be pressing the Carver item since conditions there have not and are not conducive to a learning environment,” said AS President Carly Roberts.
The agenda asks for $5 million for the building’s renovation project. Currently, the building has poor ventilation systems, damaged heating pipes and raw sewage seepage, according to the agenda.
Roberts said the damage in the building isn’t so dire that students shouldn’t take classes in Carver, but that in the event of seismic activity, the building is at risk for failure.
One of the oldest parts of the building includes the 1959 main gym, where graduation ceremonies and basketball games take place. The second section of the agenda, legislative interests, will concern issues that students have invested interest in, but aren’t necessarily key items to be discussed during Viking Lobby Day in Olympia on Jan. 20.
Besides Viking Lobby Day, specialized lobby trips are also held throughout legislative session, where notes in the second section are often discussed.
The final section of the agenda is the endorsements section which allows for members of the Legislative Affairs Council and Board of Directors to express opinion in regards to bills or measures during session.
Galloway said the type of lobbying students take part in on Viking Lobby Day is important for legislators in part of the decision process. Roberts said 115 students registered for the trip by the Dec. 9 deadline.
“It’s really cool to see a connection between student involvement and success in the legislature,” said Galloway, noting that while legislators can see facts and figures on a daily basis, it’s the stories of the students that they really crave when making a decision.