Fiscal committee cut-off came and went on February 24th…. with a lot of bills passing out of their respective fiscal committees but many not getting through and therefore dying.

Monday, February 27th began morning-to-night floor action that will continue until cut-off on March 8th.  But even with all of the bills passing, many won’t come up for a vote on the floor of their original houses and will die.

It is important to remember, however, that although a bill may be identified as dead because it didn’t get through the original house by cut-off, there are other ways for a bill to stay alive!  Some will be considered Necessary to Implement the Budget, which means the bill won’t be subject to the timelines; or some may become budget provisos; or some may get amended onto a living bill; or or or!  It’s not over ‘til it’s over, so be sure to keep an eye out for the resurfacing of a bill that you may have thought was dead! 

Just in case you were wondering, being on the second reading calendar means that the bill is eligible to come up for a vote on the House or Senate floor.  Floor amendments to a bill are posted on the Bill Information page at leg.wa.gov --- search by bill number and scroll down to Amendments.  As we have mentioned previously, our Bill Tracker will not summarize all of the amendments, so be sure to check leg.wa.gov for bills you are following closely if you don’t see a summary of the amendments on the Bill Tracker.

FYI… HB 1713 and HB 1819, the two House bills that incorporated recommendations from the legislatively-created Children’s Mental Health workgroup that worked over the interim, passed and are now headed to the Senate.  And some updates on the comparable bills introduced in the Senate: SB 5763, the companion to HB 1713, died in Ways and Means; and SB 5749, the companion to HB 1819, is on the Senate floor awaiting a vote.  Another bill that reflects issues that surfaced during the interim, SB 5779 (concerning the integration of behavioral and physical health), was passed by the Senate and is on its way to the House.

Regarding the budget, it is expected that the next revenue forecast will be around March 16th or 17th, and the Senate budget released shortly thereafter.  We’ll see!

And in other news... The Reinventing Foster Care rally is being held on March 10th at noon on the steps of the Capitol!  Reinventing Foster Care is being framed as a comprehensive plan to reform the foster care system, support children and foster parents, reunify families, and help youth and young adults exiting foster care succeed.

Don't forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on our work throughout the year.  Have a question for us?  Send us an email at info@partnersforourchildren.org.

Have a good week!

 

Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director