Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

HB 1559

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning higher education programs at Washington State University and the University of Washington.

Sponsors: Representatives Riccelli, Johnson, Wylie, Parker, MacEwen, Harris, Rodne, Schmick, Short, Pettigrew, Ormsby, Robinson, Van De Wege, Klippert, Reykdal, Sawyer, Holy, Walsh, S. Hunt, Kretz, Vick, Gregerson, McCaslin, Pike, Scott, Smith, Lytton, Hudgins, Ryu, Condotta, Sells, Moscoso, Hurst, Santos, Buys, Fey, Takko, Blake, Dent, Nealey, Kilduff, Chandler, Wilcox, Haler, Magendanz, Peterson, Ortiz-Self, Appleton, Manweller, Shea, Senn, Hayes, Kochmar, Hargrove, Muri, Stanford, Fagan, Griffey, Van Werven, Wilson, Harmsworth, Kirby, Tharinger, McBride and Goodman.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Authorizes and directs the board of regents at Washington State University (WSU) to establish, operate, and maintain a school of medicine.

  • Removes from the list of majors exclusive to the University of Washington (UW) medicine, forestry products, and logging engineering.

  • Adds to the list of majors shared by the UW and the WSU medicine and forestry.

Hearing Date: 1/27/15

Staff: Megan Wargacki (786-7194).


State laws stipulate that only the University of Washington (UW) or Washington State University (WSU) may offer degrees in particular major lines of study:

Creation of a new degree program at a public four-year institution requires approval by Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). In its evaluation process, the WSAC must use clear guidelines and objective decision-making criteria, and it must review and consult with the institution and other interested agencies and individuals. Institutions seeking approval must demonstrate that the proposal is justified by the WSAC's needs assessment and show how the proposal aligns with, or implements, the statewide strategic action plan and ten-year roadmap.

Summary of Bill:

The board of regents at the WSU is authorized and directed to establish, operate, and maintain a school of medicine. Medicine, forestry products, and logging engineering are removed from the list of degree major lines exclusive to the UW. Medicine and forestry are added to the list of major lines shared by the UW and the WSU.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on 1/26/15.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.