Let the negotiations begin! The Senate passed their operating budget last Friday. Now that both budgets are out of their respective house, the negotiators can begin, in earnest. And, while there are areas in which the budgets are similar, there are also many areas which aren’t. Also, both rely on at least some new revenue and those bills haven’t passed as of yet. We remain hopeful that agreement will be reached by 11:59pm on April 28th but we just have to take it one day at a time!
What else has been going on?? Well, the cut off for bills to be out of the opposite house fiscal committees has come and gone. The House Appropriations committee ended the bulk of their work on Monday, and the Senate Ways and Means committee on Tuesday. Both committees did an amazing job getting a lot of bills through before the carriage turned into a pumpkin (aka cut-off!).
Now that policy and fiscal committees are done with their work, the action is back on the 3rd floor of the Capitol! The House and Senate are busy getting through the bills that have come out of the committees with the April 17th cut-off forefront in everyone’s mind!
Just a reminder, if a bill is amended by the other house, it has to go back to the original house for concurrence. If the original body does not concur and the other body doesn’t recede from their amendment(s) the bill is then in dispute and the differences have to be resolved. Sometimes that goes smoothly, sometimes not so smoothly. But in any case, April 28th is the final deadline for agreement to be reached and final passage of the agreed upon bill done!
The regular session ends on April 28th. The Operating and Capital budgets are the biggies. A lot needs to come together in order to get out on time but hopefully it will.
Every session legislators spend an incredible amount of time working.... Often well into the night and then up early the next morning for more. Long sessions can get pretty darn tiring so I think everyone is hoping to wrap things up on April 28th. That said, they want to pass a good budget, and sometimes more time is needed.
So.... here’s hoping more time isn’t needed to pass a budget that includes funding for housing, mental health, child welfare improvements, early learning, home visiting, and other critical services for children, youth, and families.
Bills will continue to be amended as they move through the opposite house and, we will continue to update them on Partners for Our Children bill tracker. Please do visit the tracker as we spend much energy trying to keep in up-to-date and useful. Updated versions of all bills can be found on leg.wa.gov
Fun(?!) fact: 2,590 bills introduced this session.... At least that’s what we’ve heard! That is likely a record!
Questions? Comments? Please be in touch. Contact Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children.