Working to transform the child welfare system.

So much happened during the past week; the house of origin cut-off has come and gone, and policy committees have been hearing and passing bills from the opposite house.  The next cut-off is February 24th which means committees have very few meetings to address the bills that have come their way.  This cut-off will be followed quickly by the opposite house fiscal committee cut-off on February 28th

Sadly, not all bills will make it through. Supporters of specific bills (e.g. legislators and advocates) will be looking for other ways to keep the bill alive!  One common strategy is to amend all or part of the ‘dead’ bill onto a bill that is still alive.  While often it can work, a number of factors need to be considered. For example, will the amendment kill the bill it is being amended on to?  Is the title of the bill consistent with the title of the bill being amended?  Who are the interested individuals or groups that should be consulted before attempting the amendment?  The strategy definitely can work but needs careful thought and consideration.

Budgets, budgets, budgets…..  The Senate released their capital budget and will release their operating budget on the 21st (likely around 8:00 am).  The Senate capital budget was heard yesterday (17th) and the operating budget will be heard on the 21st at 4:00pm.  Additionally, we expect to see the House budget on Monday as well, and it will be heard the same day.  As of this writing it is unclear when the House Capital budget will be released/heard.    All this is to say, much budget information will be released soon and will needed to be absorbed quickly, especially if you plan to testify on any/all of the budgets!  We often joke that a legislative session is like a rollercoaster ride, but, it is also the case that juggling is another incredibly important skill.

As noted last week, a number of bills made it through the cut-off, and many did not.  On the made it through side, a few of note include:

HB1800 and HB1890 – Both deal with children/youth behavioral health

HB1905 – Deals with adolescent services and helping to ensure that youth don’t exit systems of care into homelessness

HB1747 – Deals with the child welfare system and increasing focus on guardianships

SB5793 – Addresses compensation for people with lived experience serving on boards, commissions, etc.

SB5838 – Provides additional resources to families on TANF who have a child under three;   known as the Diaper Benefit.

One bill of note that didn’t make it through the house of origin cut-off is HB2048, a bill that would have addressed the five-year lifetime limit for TANF.  What’s next for the bill remains to be seen.

We do our best to keep the tracker up-to-date, however, with bills moving quickly it can be a bit challenging.  We do update every Friday and it is up-to-date now. Apologies in advance for any outdated information included.

Questions?  Comments?  Be in touch!

Thank you so much and have a good week!!