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Senate Medical School Bill Scheduled for Hearing

Senate Bill 5487 has been scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Commitee on Higher Education on Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m.

The bill, introduced by Senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) and a companion to House Bill 1559 (which we wrote about here), would allow WSU to operate a medical school, among other things.

The hearing can be seen on TVW and online at TVW.org.

We’ve talked about the need for a WSU medical school in a number of places. Allow two local physicians – a father-son duo – to share why they think WSU needs a medical school:

Washington State House Higher Education Committee Hears Medical School Bill

Elson Floyd

Elson Floyd

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.

Fast forward to the 1:05:35 mark in this video to watch the hearing.

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Medical School Bill Gets a Hearing

WSU medical school

WSU medical school

House Bill 1559 would change a 1917 law and allow WSU to offer a medical school in Spokane. There is a companion bill in the Senate.

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.

So why is this important?

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WSU Medical School Gaining Big Support in Olympia

Washington State Capitol

Washington State Capitol

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.

WSU President Elson Floyd weighed in today in his President’s Perspectives column.

KXLY has a cool photo of the two dropping their bills in the Hopper, along with a story on the two bills. The Spokesman-Review has coverage as well.

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State Legislators Announce Support for a WSU Medical School in Spokane

Marcus Riccelli

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.

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