Week 11

The big event this week was the release and anticipated passage of the House budget. The budget was released on Monday, March 25, amended and passed by the Appropriations Committee on the 27th, and is expected to come up on the House floor today (March 29th).  

In last week’s (week 10) update, we identified some areas we would look for in the budget. Overall, we saw more in than not in - for example:

  • Strive (parent child visitation) - No $ but referenced in a budget proviso related to visitation;
  • Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) -- funding that brings BRS rates up and raises facility-based care to the level the cost of care report indicated it needed to be;
  • Kinship care - funding for a statewide system for legal supports and for Tribal Kinship Navigators;
  • Home visiting - funding to expand home visiting programs by an additional 750 slots:
  • Working Connections Child Care - funding to increase the reimbursement rate;
  • Parents for Parents - funding to take the program statewide;
  • Services for families in crisis - no funding included;
  • Children’s mental health - funding to implement the Parent Initiated Treatment bill, if passed, as well as funding to increase school counselors, and funding to expand a pilot program through the Educational Service Districts geared towards improving access to behavioral health services;
  • The Anchor Community Initiative - funding for the four Anchor Communities;
  • Substance use disorder services - funding for a SUD program manager at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and funding to expand programs for pregnant and parenting women;
  • Foster care improvements - no funding included;
  • Additional child and family services workers - funding for 10 additional CFSW workers; and
  • TANF policy improvements - funding for the elimination of the policy that disqualifies from a person ever receiving TANF again if they have three sanctions.

 There is A LOT more to the House budget and revenue package. We will be doing a comparison of the Governor’s, House, and Senate’s budgets soon and will get it out ASAP! And, is always the case, if you see errors or major omissions please let us know!

So what’s next? The Senate is having a hearing on their budget on Monday, April 1st at 3:30. They will then pass the budget out of Ways & Means and take it to the Senate floor for a vote. After the House and Senate have both passed their budgets, negotiations really kick into gear! The goal is to have a final budget passed no later than April 28th... Fingers crossed!

Also coming up are many cut off dates. The cut off for policy bills to get out of the opposite house policy committees is April 3rd. The cut off for fiscal bills is April 8th in the House and April 9th in the Senate. Both the House and Senate fiscal committees have a number of bills to hear and not much time to do so. The clock is ticking and much work lies ahead in what is getting to be a short period of time!

As ever, we are updating the Partners for Our Children bill tracker today.

Keep an eye out for the budget comparison and enjoy the weekend!

Questions? Comments? Please be in touch.  Contact Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children.