Legislative Update, Staying Engaged, & Resources for FAFSA

Dear neighbors,

I hope you are able to keep warm and safe during the cold weather! The 2024 legislative session commenced on January 8th, and we are nearing the end of week two. During this 60-day period, we have an important opportunity to continue addressing the most pressing issues facing our community. In her opening remarks, the Speaker of the House provided a great synopsis of our work ahead.

In this e-newsletter, I’d like to share how to stay engaged in the legislature’s work and share some of the legislation I have been working on with engaged constituents in support of higher education, affordability, K-12 schools, workforce needs, environment and healthcare. I hope you find it useful!

Proposed Legislation For 2024

As Chair of the House Postsecondary Education & Workforce Development committee, my goal is to provide a path out of poverty, support student basic needs and financial aid, and help students find choices that fuel their strengths and interests including the opportunity to work in many in demand careers.  I believe this is a formula for success that will uplift all Washingtonians in achieving economic stability and mobility and preparing our workforce for a strong, diverse, and resilient economy of tomorrow.

I also continue to serve as a member of the House Environment & Energy committee, House Appropriations Committee, and co-chair the Science, Technology, and Innovation Caucus.

Below is a list of legislation I’ve introduced for 2024 and look forward to sharing more information on in the next few weeks:

House Bill 1950: Provides greater awareness of Public Service Loan Forgiveness and federal student loan forgiveness for in demand workers serving in public service careers. This includes healthcare workers, therapists, educators, active-duty military personnel, government personnel, social workers, and AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps personnel. To see the full list of careers that qualify for PSLF eligibility, you can use the employer search tool on studentaid.gov and see if your current and past employers are on the eligible list. This is a revenue neutral bill that provides greater government efficiency and can help retain our workforce by addressing the burden of student loan debt for those in our community doing important work for our families. To watch the committee hearing on this bill, please click here or on the image below.

House Bill 2073: Anesthetic gases are in some cases 100’s or even 1000’s times more potent than CO2. Healthcare professionals are concerned about the climate impacts of these gases that they end up treating in the form of respiratory diseases, emerging infectious diseases, hunger due to food shortages etc.  By prioritizing alternatives and minimizing emissions, we can continue to make our planet safer and cleaner.  Hospitals are already voluntarily doing this work and have also reported saving funds while doing so! To learn more, click here or on the image below.

House Bill 2214: Streamline access and empower lives – This bill grants pre-eligibility to the Washington College Grant eligibility to those depending on public assistance programs, paving the path to economic security for all. To learn more, review my committee testimony here.

House Bill 2215: Facing staff cuts, school districts need solutions. HB 2215 addresses school district enrichment levy models to improve the hiring and retention of staff. Aligning state and local levy-funded school district staff salaries can reduce disparities caused by the regionalization of school salaries.

House Bill 2360: To counter AI’s potential job displacement impacts, we must prioritize digital upskilling. When we empower vulnerable areas of the workforce through digital equity initiatives, we help them access future-proof jobs and build a more inclusive workforce. To learn more, click here to watch my recent committee testimony. This passed committee today!

For a full list of the legislation, I’ve sponsored and cosponsored during the 2023-24 biennium, click here.

Stay Engaged In the 2024 Session

WatchTVW.org broadcasts all debates and votes that happen in the House or Senate, as well as all committee meetings in both chambers.

TestifyGo here for an overview of the process, here for instructions on how to testify remotely, and here to sign in for hearings in the House or Senate.

Research — Look up any bill by number, lawmaker, or topic here. To learn about the entire legislative process, click here. You can search for the daily agenda for each committee here. Just select the committee you’re interested in, and you can find out which members are assigned to that committee, review upcoming agendas and documents, as well as past reports and hearings.

Stay Informed — Visit my website, subscribe to my Facebook, and sign up for the Hot Sheet, a weekly guide to what the House Democratic Caucus is working on in Olympia. The Hot Sheet compiles many of the legislative priorities scheduled for a hearing or a vote on each day, so it’s a great snapshot of what is happening each week.

Get in Touch — You can always reach my office by email or phone; my contact information is included at the bottom of this email.

Exciting News for College-Bound Students  

The new, revised, and simplified FAFSA form for college aid is here! From a streamlined application process to increased financial assistance opportunities, here’s what you need to know for the 2024-25 academic year:

Less is More: The redesigned FAFSA has fewer questions, making it easier than ever to apply for grants, work-study jobs, and loans.

Student Aid Index (SAI): The SAI now calculates your ability to pay for college, with more income protected and changes benefiting students with children.

Pell Grant Boost: Over 2.1 million more students could now qualify for a full Pell Grant, providing substantial aid for those with exceptional financial need.

Easy Application: Create your ID on the Federal Student Aid website. The deadline is June 30, 2025.

Soft Launch: While the form is already available online, the Education Department will monitor and fix issues until later in January.

Learn more by clicking here or on the image above and reading this recent article in the Seattle Times regarding 5 things to know about this year’s FAFSA application.


Here’s some good news: Picture-in-picture American Sign Language interpretation is now available for select committee hearings during the 2024 legislative session on TVW and TVW.org!

The schedule of picture-in-picture ASL interpretation can be found at the Washington State Legislature website: https://app.leg.wa.gov/committeeschedules.

You can also find this information by visiting https://tvw.org/schedule, click on the three lines on the top left of the webpage to enable the menu. Then choose “media archives.” Set the start and end dates of your choice, under “categories” select “ASL”, and click on “submit.” All the hearings you will see listed will have ASL interpretation available.

Learn more about accessibility accommodations in the Legislature: https://bit.ly/AccessibilityInfo

Stay In Touch

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and share your thoughts. My office has a new Legislative Assistant, Nicholas Mejía. Nicholas graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor’s in law and justice and political science, and now lives in Seattle.

If you have questions about legislation, want to share your thoughts on an issue, schedule a meeting, or require assistance from a state agency, he is standing by to help you!


State Representative Vandana Slatter