As week three comes to a close, it is interesting to think that if this legislative session was a short one, the first cut-off would be right around the corner.  As it is, about four weeks remain to the cut-off (Feb. 22nd), when bills need to be out of their committee of origin. 

While February 22nd may seem like a long way off, it really isn’t. Only so many bills can be heard in one hearing, and there are a limited number of committee hearings per week.  Chairs also need to spend time exec’ing (passing) bills out of committee.  And, and, and.....  the days fly by and before you know it time for scheduling bills for a hearing has come and gone! 

Fewer bills were introduced this past week than previous weeks (in which there were so many), and some bills have been already been brought up for executive action.  It is very common to amend bills in committee and, sometimes, on the House or Senate floor.  We do our best to indicate if a bill has been amended. For some bills, we also summarize the amendment(s); however, we aren’t be able to summarize the amendments for the bulk of the bills. 

A few hearing highlights from week three include:

  • SB 5290, a bill that eliminates the ability to detain a youth who has committed a status offense in juvenile detention, was heard in the Senate Human Services committee early in the week.  The House companion was heard this morning! 
  • HB 1603/SB5684, heard in both the House and Senate, addresses policies related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (public assistance).  The bill would bring back several policies eliminated during the recession; policies dealing with sanctions, the ability to be granted an extension to the 60 month time limit, and changes to the required orientation meeting. 
  • SB 5533, heard in the Senate, establishes a Certificate of Parental Improvement, providing an avenue for a person with a founded allegation of child abuse or neglect to regain the ability to do things such as, volunteer in their child’s school or in an assisted living program. 

Other highlights of the week include, a press conference dealing with school safety and behavioral health, potato day (!), and the selection of the director for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families Oversight Board - congratulations to Crista Johnson!

A lot of interesting legislation already has been proposed this session.  I strongly encourage you to visit the Partners for Our Children bill tracker (updated on Fridays) where you can read summaries of bills, and get status updates on the ones mentioned above and many, many, many other bills!

Have a great weekend and week ahead.  Please let us know if you have questions, concerns, by contacting Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children.