Reps. Jim Walsh and Joel McEntire switch from ‘nay’ to ‘yeah’ after Senate increases K-12 special education funding

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, and Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, changed their votes on an important special education funding bill after it received a boost in funding in the Senate. Walsh and McEntire initially voted “no” on House Bill 1436, arguing the measure fell short of what it was supposed to accomplish.

The 19th District representatives issued the following statement after voting favor of the bill when it returned to the House.

“When House Bill 1436 first came to the floor of the state House of Representatives, it did not come close to fully funding K-12 special education in this state. Our commitment to the administrators, teachers and—most importantly—the families of southwest Washington was to fully fund special education. So, we voted ‘no’ on the bill. During the negotiations that followed that vote, especially when the bill moved over to the state Senate, it got better. It adds more money, sooner to special education programs and students all around Washington. It adjusts funding formulas in a positive way. And, it actually delivers more resources instead of just promising to do so at some later date.

“These are all significant improvements. They deserved our ‘yes’ votes.

“Is K-12 special education fully funded? Not quite. But it’s closer to that standard than it has been in a long time. This is a good thing. The pressure of our initial ‘no’ votes may have just been a small part of a large process. But we’re glad to have done our small part to push House Bill 1436 to a better place. This is the legislative process at work.”

The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.


Washington State House Republican Communications