We are closing out the second week of the first special session, and, unfortunately, there isn’t much to report.

Both the House and the Senate were in on Tuesday, passing bills that had reverted to the house of origin since they had not passed out of the opposite house before the end of the regular session.  Among these bills was HB 1661, the bill establishing the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.  The bill is now back in the Senate and will likely be referred to the Ways and Means Committee.  It is in the same form it was when it left the House but does not include changes made in the Senate Human Services Committee.  If we have a second special session (which is a very strong possibility), HB 1661 will revert to the House and will need to be voted on again! 

Some bills will not be sent over to the opposite house during the first special session, as the belief is that they will definitely have a second special session – and rather than have bills go back and forth multiple times, they’ll just wait until there is major progress on the budget and then pass the NTIB bills (necessary to implement the budget). 

As mentioned last week, the Governor is in the process of signing a lot of bills, as the deadline for him to take action is rapidly approaching.  He is taking action on three children’s mental health-related bills today (Friday) – HB 1713, HB 1819, and SB 5779.  With 1713 and 1819, funds are necessary to implement most of the requirements identified in the bills, and if funds are not included in the budget, the bill becomes null and void.  So… here’s hoping they are funded (the House included funds for HB 1713 in their budget, and the Senate included funds for 1819 in theirs)!

While there isn’t really a formal schedule that identifies when the House and Senate will be back in Olympia, it is rumored to be sometime during the week of the 15th.  In the meantime, budget writers seem to be talking (not negotiating, however), and discussions about various policy bills continue.  But, for the most part, Olympia is very quiet, and most legislators seem to have gone back to district and will be there until they are called back to take action on bills or engage in other matters. 

We have updated our Bill Tracker but likely won’t do it again until the week of the 15th.  If you are curious about a bill signing or how the Governor acted on a particular bill, you can go to governor.wa.gov and click on Bill Action.  Congratulations to all who successfully got legislation through the process and signed by the Governor!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, email us at info@partnersforourchildren.org.

And be sure to to visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for updates on our work throughout the year.

Have a good weekend!

 

Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director