Week 3 ended with an attempt by the Senate Democrats to take control of the Senate in order to bring the school levy ‘cliff’ bill to the floor.   The attempt failed, and on February 1st, the Senate Republican education funding bill was passed by the Senate.  There does not seem to be much (if any) agreement about education funding, which is the primary reason many predict that there will need to be multiple special sessions.  We’ll see!

Other floor action picked up this week in both the House and Senate chambers, but for the most part, bills are still making their way through the policy and/or fiscal committees.  Of note this week were hearings on the House children’s mental health bills (HBs 1713, 1624, and 1819), bills related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (SBs 5440 and 5347), and the Senate companion to the House bill requiring legal representation for children/youth in the dependency system (SB 5363).

Today, February 3rd, the House bill creating the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (HB 1661) will be heard in the Early Learning and Human Services Committee.  While there have been work sessions on the recommendations in the Blue Ribbon Commission report, this is the first opportunity in the legislative arena to really have a public airing of the proposal.  The Senate bill (SB 5498) is being heard on February 8th.

Now that more bills are being heard and brought up for executive action (a vote by the committee), we will begin to see amendments, which can range from a simple technical correction to the previously drafted bill, to a complete revamp of the original bill.  We will do our best to capture the amendments on key bills in our Bill Tracker.

The first cut-off is rapidly approaching – February 17th is the last day for bills to get out of their committee of origin.  Attention will then turn to the fiscal committees, which have until February 24th.  Then off to the floor they go… At least those that survived the preceding cut-offs.

Just a reminder… If you want to catch up on what happened in a committee or on the floor, be sure to check out TVW.  It’s a great way to stay up to speed on legislative activities when venturing to Olympia isn’t possible!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to email us at info@partnersforourchildren.org.

And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on our work throughout the year.

Have a good week!

 

Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director