O’Ban supports supplemental budget that invests in UW-Tacoma law school

Members of the state Senate passed a supplemental operating budget in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session today. It included funding for development of a proposed law school at the University of Washington-Tacoma – a project for which Sen. Steve O’Ban has been fighting all year.

“Establishing a law school at UW-Tacoma will do more than just provide local students with more opportunities to follow their dreams,” said O’Ban, a west Pierce County Republican. “It also has the added benefit of encouraging business development and job growth in the greater south Puget Sound region. I’m proud to support this budget and I’m excited about bringing a law school back to Tacoma.”

O’Ban graduated from University of Puget Sound law school when it was located in Tacoma; however ownership of the law school was later transferred to Seattle University and eventually moved from downtown Tacoma north to Seattle University’s main campus in the 1990s.

The $400,000 included in the 2014 supplemental operating budget for a UW-Tacoma law school would be combined with locally-raised funds collected over the next several years to complete the Tacoma facility.

“Supplemental budget years usually don’t contain a lot of new funding, but expanding opportunities at UW-Tacoma was one of my priorities heading into the 2014 legislative session,” said O’Ban, who chairs the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee. “Some things are too important to wait another budget cycle.”

In total, the budget proposal increases higher education funding, provides for tens of thousands of job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and includes millions in K-12 STEM investments.

The Legislature is required to adopt a biennial operating budget in odd-numbered years; it may pass a supplemental budget in even-numbered years to make minor corrections to the two-year budget. This was the first time since 2009 the Legislature has started its annual session without facing a budget deficit and the 2014 budget would keep the state on that track.