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March 29, 2018

Governor signs bill to expand higher education funding

Students seeking financial assistance to pursue a certificate or degree through a professional-technical program will now have the same scholarship opportunities as those planning to attend four-year institutions.

Sixth District Rep. Jeff Holy (R-Cheney) introduced House Bill 1452 to expand the current Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) program to include low-income students obtaining certificates and degrees outside a typical four-year college program.

“As we continue to re-prioritize higher education, one major focus is the overall cost. We need to stop limiting access to higher education because it is too expensive,” Holy said . The WSOS program was established in 2011 to provide scholarships to low-and middle-income resident students pursuing eligible high-demand majors in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and healthcare degrees.

“These credentialing programs create job pathways in professional sectors that are of great importance to our economy,” Holy said. “Expanding this scholarship to technical certificates builds upon the amazing public-private partnerships the program has. Not all students have the desire to pursue four-year degrees, but deserve financial opportunities to follow their dreams through a professional-technical education.”

The bill goes into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the regular session. The Legislature adjourned March 8.

WSDOT extends 2018 studded tire removal deadline to April 15 

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced in a Marc 23 news release that it is extending the deadline for removal of studded tires by two weeks. The removal deadline is now by the end of the day, Sunday, April 15. 

WSDOT officials based the decision on long-range forecasts that show the potential for significant weather, including snow that could affect cross-state travel into April. The decision to extend is made in consultation with meteorologists and maintenance supervisors.

State law allows the deadline extension into April if current or predicted conditions could make for difficult travel. The deadline was last extended in 2012. 

With the extension, all studded tires need to be removed no later than the end of the day (11:59 p.m.) Sunday, April 15. Starting Monday, April 16, drivers with studded tires on their vehicles face a $136 traffic infraction. Removal services can be crowded as the deadline approaches, so please plan accordingly. 

Studded tires damage pavement each year — costing an estimated $29 million annually in additional wear and tear on state roads alone. Long-term, WSDOT continues to urge drivers to investigate alternatives such as studless winter tires, which are not subject to removal deadlines.  

Washington and Oregon generally share the same studded tire removal deadline and the Oregon Department of Transportation is extending their removal deadline to April 15. There are no personal exemptions or waivers beyond the extension date.


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