Week six
Wednesday, Feb. 19th was a big day in Olympia! The revenue forecast came out, and it was the cut-off day for bills to be out of their original house.
 
The revenue forecast was quite positive, with an increase (from what had been predicted) in the amount of revenue for both the remainder of this biennium, as well as the next biennium. The report stated:
 
The GF-S (General Fund-State) forecast for the current biennium has been increased by $307 million. The forecast for the 2021-23 biennium has been increased by $512 million. Forecasted total GF-S revenue is now $50.611 billion for the 2019-21 biennium and $54.291 billion for the 2021-23 biennium. The initial forecast of GF-S revenue for the 2023-25 biennium is $57.930 billion.
 
Forecasted Education Legacy Trust Account (ELTA) revenue for the 2019-21 biennium increased by $310 million, mainly due to higher-than-forecasted estate tax receipts (this is viewed as one time revenue). The forecast for the 2021-23 biennium increased by $25 6 million. Forecasted ELTA revenue is now $1.447 billion for the 2019-21 biennium and $1.086 billion for the 2021-23 biennium. The initial forecast of ELTA revenue for the 2023-25 biennium is $925 million.
 
[The full report is here.]
 
How this forecast impacts the supplemental budget remains to be seen, however, it won’t be long until we do know since the House and Senate both will release their budgets on Monday, Feb. 24th! The budgets will be heard on Monday in the House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means Committees,. And, if things go as planned, the budgets will be voted out of those committees shortly thereafter. The session is speeding along and action on the budgets will likely happen fairly quickly in order for the negotiations between the House and Senate to begin.
 
With respect to bills, the House and Senate got through a lot of bills; however, there a number that ‘died.’ Often attempts are made to take a ‘dead’ bill and amend it to a living bill once the bill is in the opposite house. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t as the language has to fit within the title and scope of the living bill or it very well could face a challenge!
 
And, as always, it is important to remember that ‘it’s not over ‘til it’s over.’ While a bill that didn’t make it out of the original house seems like it should be dead, you never know when and how it might resurface! Never a dull moment in the legislative arena, that’s for sure!
 
Some of the bills we are following that made it through their house of origin include:
  • Certificate of Parental Improvement (HB1645/SB5533)
  • Extending Coverage During the Postpartum Period (SB6128)
  • Families in Conflict (HB2873)
  • Financing the Partnership Access Lines (HB2728)
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships (SB6287)
  • Implementing Child Support Pass-through (SB5144)
  • Improving Access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (HB2441 and a semi-companion SB6478),
  • Protecting Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (HB1775)
  • Providing Regulatory Relief for Early Learning Providers (HB2556)
  • Reauthorizing the Children’s Behavioral Health Workgroup (HB2737)
  • The Family Connections Program (HB2525),
  • Working Connections Child Care Eligibility (HB2456) , and more!!
 
You can read more details about these bills on the Partners for Our Children bill tracker. Stay tuned to see what happens to these and many other bills now that they have flipped to the other side!
 
As mentioned previously, on the bill tracker we summarize amendments to some, but definitely not all, of the bills. If the tracker doesn’t indicate amendments, please check leg.wa.gov. It is a fabulous resource!
 
It is also possible that the hearing schedule for next week has been updated since we updated the status of various bills, SO, if a bill you are interested in made it through the original house and the status on the tracker does not indicate that it has been scheduled for a hearing, check out www.leg.wa.gov
  
 
Questions? Concerns? 
Contact Laurie Lippold, State Policy Director and/or Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children
 
Thanks for your continued interest and have a good week!