The week was filled with hearings on bills and work sessions on a variety of topics, including K-12 funding, Economic Services, the Office of Homeless Youth, Home Visiting, the Department of Early Learning, the Blue Ribbon Commission report, and more. 

There has also been an increase in the number of bills being introduced, many of which will not be scheduled for a hearing, but many will!  Two significant bills yet to be introduced are the bill creating the Department of Children, Youth, and Families; and the children’s mental health bill.  It is anticipated that the two bills will be ‘dropped’ (i.e., introduced) soon and will likely be scheduled for hearings the week of January 30th.

Some of the bills included on the weekly update are identified as ‘companion’ bills.  This means the House and Senate versions of the bills are identical – at least at the point at which they are introduced.  The bills may be amended in different ways as they move through the process, but companion bills indicate that there is at least some support in both the House and the Senate.  Updates to our Bill Tracker will include amendments made to bills in many cases, but not all.  If amendments are not summarized, the update will indicate that the bill was amended so that those interested can explore further. 

The first cut-off of the session is February 17th, and that is when policy bills have to be out of the committee of origin.  This cut-off is followed shortly by the fiscal committee cut-off, which is February 24th.  And… the house of origin cut-off is March 8th.  That means there is still considerable time to get bills introduced and heard, but time marches on, and before we know it, the cut-off will be upon us!

Just a reminder...  Bill Tracker updates will not include all bills introduced but are intended to capture those most relevant to children and families.  If there's a bill that you think should be covered, please let us know!

If you haven't already done so, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on our work throughout the year.

Have a good weekend!

 

Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director