Washington State University’s pursuit of an independently accredited medical school at its health sciences campus at Spokane moved closer to becoming reality Tuesday with critical votes in the Washington State Legislature.

The House Higher Education Committee approved House Bill 1559 with a strong “do pass” recommendation. The Washington State Senate Higher Education Committee followed suit in advancing Senate Bill 5487.

Both bills – one in the House and one in the Senate – propose changing a 1917 law limiting the delivery of medical education to the University of Washington. Their passage would clear the way for WSU to operate a medical school.

Both bills have enjoyed statewide, bi-partisan support. I especially want to thank Sen. Michael Baumgartner and Rep. Marcus Riccelli for their sponsorship, as well as the 64 lawmakers who signed on as co-sponsors of the House bill and 17 senators who co-sponsored the Senate bill.

We, of course, recognize that successful passage out of committee is but one step in the process, but it still is a very positive sign. We are grateful and will continue to work with lawmakers for passage.