The Washington State House Higher Education Committee held a hearing today to learn about House Bill 1559, which would – among other things – allow WSU to operate a medical school. WSU President Elson Floyd was among those testifying in support of the bill.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), calls for a policy change and has no funding attached to it. A companion bill in the Senate – introduced by Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), mirrors the House bill.
In addition to this policy change, WSU is seeking $2.5 million in startup operating funds to begin the process of accreditation for a medical school in Spokane.
The House bill, which has 65 co-sponsors so far, is set to get a hearing Tuesday morning bright and early at 8:00 a.m. in the House Higher Education Committee. You can watch it online at TVW.org.
For a refresher on how these bills become a law, allow Schoolhouse Rock to explain (this video focuses on the federal government, but the process at the state level still applies):
The hearing is a chance for committee members to get any questions answered before acting on the bill. These bills are just one step in our pursuit of a medical school in Spokane. The 1917 law needs to be changed, and we are also asking the legislature to provide $2.5 million in startup funds for the next two years. With that funding, we will be able to hire a Founding Dean, begin to recruit faculty and develop curriculum.
Washington State University’s pursuit of a medical school took a big step forward today when two bills – one in the Senate and one in the House – were introduced today and would allow WSU to operate a public medical school. A law that dates back to 1917 currently mandates that only the University of Washington can operate a public medical school in Washington.
Senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) introduced the bill in the Senate, while Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) introduced the bill in the House.
If you haven’t heard yet, there is growing support for a WSU medical school headquartered in Spokane.
On Tuesday, State Senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) and State Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) announced bipartisan support for a WSU medical school. The two legislators announced they would introduce bills in their respective chambers to amend a law that is nearly a century old that mandates that only the University of Washington can operate a publicly funded medical school in the state.