My oh my! The pace of the session seems to pick up more and more speed every week! This week is cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house policy committees (today) AND the release of the Senate and House operating and capital budgets AND hearings on the Senate operating and capital budgets AND a hearing on the House operating budget. 
 
And, while all of this is going on, the budget committees are also hearing many, many bills that are now out of the opposite house policy committees and facing an April 2nd cut-off to be passed out of the fiscal committees. If they are not out by the 2nd they are dead for the session, unless they are necessary to implement the budget! 
 
Our caveat with respect to the tracker is that we are doing our best to keep it current; however, if bills come out of the policy committee today we won’t be able to indicate that. That said, many committees have finished up their meetings earlier in the week and the focus really has shifted to the budget and work of the fiscal committees.
 
The Senate operating budget included many items in the child welfare, behavioral health, economic services, and early learning areas. Over the next week, we will put together and share a comparison of the Governor’s, House, and Senate’s budget – focusing on areas related to children, youth, and families. Given the complexity of some aspects of the budget, we also will defer to others to provide detail, such as in the housing and child care/pre-k realms. 
 
Additionally, while we will do our best to be inclusive, the comparison will definitely not include everything that is likely important to many of you. Apologies in advance!
 
The House operating budget is being released today and will be heard on Sat. It is anticipated that it will also include many investments in child welfare, behavioral health, early learning, and economic services. Stay tuned!
 
It is hard to believe that in June it looked as if we would face close to a $9 billion deficit. Today we are not only not talking about cuts but are talking about investments, using both state and an influx of federal dollars. What the House and Senate can agree on and then how the Governor responds remains to be seen, but things are moving along and are much more positive than originally anticipated!
 
A lot still needs to happen during the remaining weeks of session and we so appreciate your ongoing interest!