Mandatory financial literacy bill died as legislative session came to an end



(The Center Square) – Among bills that had bipartisan support but ultimately failed to pass the Legislature last week as the session ended was House Bill 1915 that would have made financial education a high school graduation requirement.

Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla, sponsored the bill to require high schools to provide a half-credit of financial literacy education by the 2027-28 school year.

“The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction already has the standards in place and the curriculum is there,” Rude told The Center Square in January when the legislative session began. “Some districts are already doing this and making financial literacy a graduation requirement.”

Under the bill, schools would have had options for implementation.

“Schools could offer financial literacy as a stand-alone class, or they could include it as part of a class already being offered, or even make it an elective,” Rude explained.

HB 1915 passed the House 97-0, but was amended in the Senate to require high schools to provide financial education, but not to require students to take it in order to graduate, meaning the bill was sent back to the House for another round of approval. The House did not accept the changes, and HB 1915 died Thursday as the session was wrapping up.

Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, sponsored the amendment that ultimately doomed the legislation when it went back to the House.

“We certainly agree and support the idea of financial literacy for our students, but making it a high school graduation requirement at this point – when we’re not actually sure that it can be available in every school and that there are teachers available – this is not the next step,” Wellman said.

Rude said he could not support the bill if the graduation requirement was removed, effectively killing the bill.

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