The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) is a nonpartisan public research group located in Olympia, the hub of Washington State government. WSIPP is a team of multidisciplinary researchers who conduct applied policy research for the state legislature in a creative and collaborative environment.
WSIPP is strongly committed to the core values of nonpartisanship, quality, and impartiality. Created in 1983, WSIPP has become nationally and internationally recognized for the design, depth, and quality of its research reports and benefit-cost analyses.
WSIPP’s mission is to carry out practical, non-partisan research at the direction of the legislature or the Board of Directors. WSIPP works closely with legislators, legislative and state agency staff, and experts in the field to ensure that studies answer relevant policy questions. Fiscal and administrative services for WSIPP are provided by The Evergreen State College.
Current areas of staff expertise include the following: education, criminal justice, welfare, children and adult services, health, and general government.
WSIPP also collaborates with faculty in public and private universities and contracts with other experts to extend our capacity for studies on diverse topics.
In Washington, whenever a person is convicted in superior court, the court may order the payment of a legal financial obligation (LFO) as part of the sentence. The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study legal financial obligations in Washington State. WSIPP’s reports must explore the following:
A preliminary report report was released in December 2021. The final report is due December 1, 2022.
The 2021 Legislature passed 2SHB 1044 expanding the types of postsecondary education programs eligible for state funding in the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) incarceration facilities. The bill directs WSIPP to study recidivism, enrollment, and completion rates of incarcerated persons in the postsecondary education system after release from incarceration. The study will use data from DOC, the Washington Student Achievement Council, and the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. The study must include the following:
A preliminary report is due to the Legislature on October 1, 2024, and a final report is due October 1, 2027.
The 2021 Legislature passed E2SSB 5304 which modified the state’s Reentry Community Services (RCS) program. The bill includes an assignment for WSIPP to update its evaluation of the RCS program and to broaden its benefit-cost analysis to include impacts on the use of public services and other factors. In addition, the bill directs WSIPP to examine the potential cost, benefit, and risks involved in expanding or replicating the RCS program. Finally, the bill asks WSIPP to examine what modifications to the program are most likely to improve outcomes associated with program participation based on current knowledge about evidence-based, research-based, and promising programs. WSIPP will consult with the Reentry Services Work Group (administered by the Health Care Association) in 2022 to determine any additional research parameters for the final report.
The preliminary report can be found here. A final report is due November 1, 2023.
The 2021 Legislature directed WSIPP to examine Washington State’s Operation Net Nanny and similar fictitious victim sting operations. Operation Net Nanny is a collaborative undercover operation that includes local, state, and federal law enforcement targeting the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in child abuse and exploitation using the Internet by using a fictitious victim. The study must include the following:
A final report was originally due to the Legislature by June 30, 2022. In December 2021, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to shift the deadline to June 30, 2023.
In 2022, the Washington State Legislature passed 2SHB 1818, which expanded the use of rental vouchers for individuals leaving incarceration in state prisons from three to six months. As a part of this bill, the Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct an evaluation and benefit-cost analysis of Washington’s Housing Voucher Program, accounting for the new expansion to six months. The assignment directs WSIPP to consider not only recidivism outcomes, but also impacts on homelessness, use of public services, and other factors WSIPP deems relevant.A final report is due to the governor and the Legislature by November 1, 2025.
The 2022 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to undertake a study on the nature and scope of the underground economy. As part of the study, WSIPP will explore policies that may promote “greater cohesion and transparency among state agencies” in regard to the underground economy in the construction industry. Finally, the report will address the extent of and projected costs to the state and workers of the underground economy.
A report was originally due to the legislature by December 1, 2022. In June 2022, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to shift the deadline to September 30, 2023.
The 2022 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct a comprehensive study of the needs of farmworkers in the state to help policymakers determine whether those needs are being met by state-administered programs, policies, and statutes. WSIPP must focus on needs related to health and safety in the workplace, payment of wages, and preventing harassment and discrimination of, and retaliation against, farmworkers for asserting their rights regarding health and safety standards, wage and hour laws, and access to services. The information must be based on surveys or interviews conducted by Latino nonprofit agencies with well-established connections to farmworkers.
WSIPP must also examine how relevant state agencies coordinate with each other and federal agencies in enforcing the laws and policies related to farmworkers and review available data and research on programs intended to provide farmworkers access to services and benefits.
A preliminary report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2023, and a final report by June 30, 2025.
The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the guided pathways model. Guided pathways is a community and technical college reform which aims to improve student experience and outcomes through changes to academic program structure, advising, instruction and progress monitoring.
WSIPP’s preliminary report will review the implementation of the guided pathways model in Washington and any available evidence of the effectiveness of the guided pathways model. If possible, this report will also evaluate the effect of the guided pathways model on early student outcomes including, but not limited to, student retention and persistence, college level English and math within the first year, graduation and transfer rates. The preliminary report is due in December 2023.
A final report will evaluate the effect of the guided pathways on longer-term student outcomes including, but not limited to, degree completion, time to degree, transfer to four-year institutions, employment, and earnings, to the extent possible. The final report is due in December 2029.
The 2022 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct an analysis of transitional kindergarten programs offered by school districts in Washington State and to evaluate student participation in transitional kindergarten programs. The study must, to the extent feasible given available data, include the following information:
Additionally, the study must compare the use of transitional kindergarten in Washington State to use in other states, and review any outcome evaluation data available from other states.A final report is due to the governor, the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families, and the Legislature by December 31, 2023.
WSIPP receives ongoing funds from the legislature to support K-12 education research that is relevant to Washington State and informs policymakers’ decisions. Nationwide, there is interest in understanding how pandemic-induced school closures have impacted students’ learning and how to best support students going forward. With this in mind, WSIPP will conduct a study including the following:
To the extent that data allows, we will consider how impacts on learning vary by student, school, and district characteristics.
WSIPP will publish a report by August 1, 2023.
WSIPP was scheduled to update the inventory in 2022. Instead of an updated, WSIPP assessed the use of the inventory. In the absence of the regular update, WSIPP published a historical review of the LAP inventory, describing potential changes resulting from 2021 legislation, and offering a discussion of options regarding the future of the inventory.