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.
The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct a study on the comparison of regulations and benefit-cost analysis of a potential requirement to use American steel for future contracts and subcontracts authorized in the Washington State transportation and capital budgets. The study must, to the extent feasible, including the following:
The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct a research review of wilderness therapy programs. In its review, WSIPP must consider programs that offer behavioral health treatment services, prevention services, and examine whether programs are cost beneficial. WSIPP must also assess interest in these types of programs among, but not limited to, Washington State Tribes and prevention coalitions. WSIPP will partner with a content expert to complete its review.
The legislature asked for a report on the research review and cost-benefit analyses by December 31, 2021. In June 2021, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to extend this study deadline to June 30, 2022. The legislature asked for a final report focusing on stakeholder interests by June 30, 2022. In June 2021, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to extend the final study deadline to December 1, 2022.
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.
A preliminary report was originally due to the Legislature by July 1, 2022. In December 2021, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to shift the preliminary report deadline to November 1, 2022. 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.
The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct a systematic review of the research literature on mandatory arrest in domestic violence cases. If possible, the study shall report the effects of mandatory arrest on domestic violence recidivism, general recidivism, domestic violence reporting, rates of domestic violence treatment, intimate partner homicide, or other reported outcomes. If possible, the study shall also report the research on alternatives to mandatory arrest.The review will be distributed to the legislature by June 30, 2022.
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 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to review the standardized juvenile court assessment tool to determine if the eligibility criteria for juvenile rehabilitation programs are appropriate and accurately assign youth to programs that meet their needs. This study will evaluate differences in program effectiveness based on scales and classifications of risk and need. The legislature directed WSIPP to work in collaboration with the juvenile block grant proviso committee.The final report is due June 30, 2022.
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 is due to the legislature by December 1, 2022.
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.
In 2021, WSIPP’s Board of Directors approved a contract with the Health Care Authority to analyze the results of the Adult Problem Gambling Prevalence Study. The analysis will include information on the beliefs and attitudes about gambling, the prevalence of problem gambling, and the types of gambling methods used. Results will also compare characteristics of adults who gamble and those who do not and provide information on availability and funding to treatment for problem gambling. Findings will be broken out by demographics, geography, and the presence of other disorders.The project runs through April 2022.
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 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to review the literature and describe any relationship between early substance abuse and mental health disorders in young adults. The final report will also include any evidence on the relationship between nutrition and mental health disorders in young adults.The legislature asked for a report on the research review and cost-benefit analyses by June 30, 2022. In June 2021, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to extend this study deadline to December 1, 2022.
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 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.
The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct a technical review of the measures and methods used in the Washington State Department of Health’s environmental health disparities map, as outlined in E2SSB 5141. The review must, to the extent possible, address the following:
A report explaining the findings of this technical review is due to the legislature by November 1, 2022.