Politics & Government

Bill to provide more information about special education services dies in House committee

A Senate bill that gained bipartisan support to help families with special education students failed to advance in the House by a key deadline.

Tuesday was the deadline for bills to gain approval from the opposite chamber’s fiscal committee. SB 5532 did not get out of the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill directed the state Office of Ombuds to provide information to special education students and their parents about services and accommodations for students with disabilities. Also, the measure required school districts to include training for general education teachers on how best to help special ed students succeed.

“This is a bill that provides advocacy during the development of the individual learning plan,” said the lead sponsor, Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia. “It provides some help in placing these children as they transition from high school to graduation. These are relatively straightforward and simple policies that are not particularly expensive.”

The Senate and the House Education Committee approved the bill unanimously, but the House Appropriations Committee “chose to sit on it,” Braun said at a press conference Tuesday.

A House Democratic aide did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Democrats have majorities in both the Senate and House.

Braun said he hopes that the text of his bill is added to another one by the end of the regular session on April 28. He said SB 5091, which provides additional funding for special education in the two-year state operating budget and is sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, would be a logical choice.