Political Beat

Amendment to education bill leads to its bipartisan support

By Lucas Wiseman
The Columbian/Murrow News Service

OLYMPIA — Sometimes one amendment can make all the difference when it comes to the success or failure of a legislator’s proposal.

Take House Bill 1252, for example, which passed the House of Representatives last week with a vote of 92-5.

Proposed by state Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, the bill creates an online internet database for teachers and students to use to help supplement their experience in the classroom. Stonier, in an interview before the vote was taken, expressed concerns that the bill might not receive enough support in the House, which has a Democratic majority.

Stonier’s seatmate in the 17th District, Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, initially agreed with her assessment, citing Republican concerns about vague language in the bill that might allow teachers to count time spent on the new website as hours worked.

However, an amendment proposed by Rep. Brad Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee, changed the minds of nearly every Republican in the House, leading to the bill passing. Hawkins’ amendment clarified the language of the bill concerning hours worked and added that a test must be given at the end of each learning module on the website.

“This amendment has completely changed my vote,” Harris said. It swayed most of his party in favor of the bill as well, he added.

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