Partners for Our Children

Welcome to week 10!  The week is coming to a close with the revenue forecast released yesterday and the expectation of the Senate budget coming out next Monday or Tuesday (3/20 or 3/21).  Regarding the revenue forecast, the General Fund State forecast has been increased by $247M for the 2015-2017 biennium and by $303M for the 2017-2019 biennium.  Definitely positive but, according to many legislators, not enough to avoid the need for additional revenue in order to pay for K-12 education, state employee salary increases, health and human services, and more.  This is not a consensus position, however, as many other legislators believe that McCleary can be addressed without additional revenue and without making significant cuts in other areas.  How the Senate addresses K-12 funding will soon be known when they release their budget… which, by the way, will be available after its release on the LEAP Committee website.

In other news, HB 1661, the bill establishing the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, passed the House on March 15th!  The bill now goes to the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee and will likely be heard the week of the 27th.  While a number of changes have been made since the introduction of the bill, it is expected that more changes will be made now that the bill is in the Senate.  The bill continues to have strong bi-partisan support; however, there is a price tag on the bill, which, given so many funding obligations and needs, causes concern on the part of a number of legislators.  But the bill continues to move forward…

Just when you think you understand the legislative process, things change!  There were a few things that happened this week regarding bills we have been involved with that have made it more challenging than usual to really follow the process.  For example:

More hearings and executive action next week, along with the (anticipated) release of the Senate budget!

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Have a good week!


Laurie Lippold

Public Policy Director