Welcome to Week 3! Bills, bills, bills!!! Many bills were dropped this week, including a number in the children and families realm. Of particular note are HB 1661/SB 5498, the companion bills that bring together the Department of Early Learning with the Children’s Administration and the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration to create the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).
As you will see on our Bill Tracker, of the 272 pages that make up the DCYF bill, only about 8 are substantive. The rest address the technical changes that need to be made to the existing statute. Phew! Also, it is important to note that the bill as you see it is really the first take, and it is likely there will be many amendments to add, subtract, or change language, etc.
Another bill of interest is HB 1713, the children’s mental health bill. This bill came out of the statutorily-created workgroup that was charged with identifying key issues/concerns in the areas of billing/assessments, workforce, and K-12/early learning. The final report of the workgroup contained many recommendations; five were identified as priorities and, for the most part, are included in the bill. We can expect at least one other House bill and potentially a couple of Senate bills also addressing the recommendations that came out of the workgroup.
It should be noted that there are revenue-related bills being introduced that are not summarized in the Bill Tracker. Our plan is to link to another organization that is summarizing revenue bills, so stay tuned! If there are bills that you are hearing about in the area of children and families that are not included in our Bill Tracker, please let us know! We won’t summarize all bills in the children and families realm but hope to cover many of them!
You will see that there are a number of bills being heard next week, including the children’s mental health and DCYF bills. Hearings can be watched on TVW, so even if you can’t be in Olympia, you don’t have to miss out! (And, the hearings are archived, so you can watch whenever it is convenient for you!) Work sessions are sessions where the folks talking have been invited to present. Public hearings are come-one-come-all, open to anyone who wants to testify. Testimony is generally around 3 minutes per person, depending on the number of people who want to testify and number of bills on the agenda, but it’s amazing how much can be said in that period of time. Written testimony is also accepted!
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Here’s to a good weekend and busy week ahead of bill action!
Public Policy Director