OLYMPIA – Legislation to ease the transition of children in military families to new schools passed unanimously today off the floor of the Senate.

“This is all about ensuring that the families that are serving us are served by the work we’re doing for them,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), the bill’s sponsor. “It will be good for kids, for their families, and for their school districts.”

Senate Bill 5603 will allow the children of service members who receive transfer orders to any base in Washington to enroll in school before they have an address in district.

The bill establishes a 14-day conditional enrollment period during which students can register for classes and schools can prepare for the new students.

“As we welcome the families connected to the USS Carl Vinson to Bremerton this year, we want to make sure that regardless of the makeup of your family or how soon you know that you’re coming to our community, we’ve cleared the ground for you.”

Randall’s grandparents on both sides moved to Bremerton to work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and her father worked there for more than 25 years. 

This is one of five bills Randall has introduced this session to help military families and their communities. The others include:

  • SB 5571 will boost the economy around military bases by authorizing cities and counties near bases to establish military benefit zones. This program will allow for tax incentives and state grants to fund investment in public infrastructure, including streets, parks, and broadband access.
  • SB 5713 requires that disabled veterans who are entitled to federal Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services benefits qualify for in-state tuition at public higher education institutions in Washington.
  • SB 5755 increases the tuition and fee waiver for gold star families and expands tuition waivers to more veterans and National Guard members.
  • SB 5900 creates the position of LGBTQ coordinator in the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. The coordinator will conduct outreach to LGBTQ veterans, their spouses, and their dependents, and connect them to benefits and services earned through their service.