Working to transform the child welfare system.

Welcome to Week 2 of the 2015 Legislative Session!

Bills, bills, bills!  They continue to be introduced and it is very likely we will see many more next week.  Soon, however, committee time will become increasingly limited, committee chairs will be planning executive sessions (where bills are voted out of committee), and the focus will be more on amendments to bills that have been heard as opposed to the introduction of new bills.  That said, bills that are introduced during the first year of a biennial budget cycle are alive for two years, so some legislators choose to introduce a bill in order to get it into the mix even though it is past the cut-off. 

The House Appropriations Committee was going to hear the 2015 supplemental budget this week, but instead will hear it next week.  While there is interest in getting a supplemental through the process early, we’ll have to wait to see if that can happen.  There is pressure to fund mental health (psychiatric beds) and some holes in the child welfare budget (as well as other items).  However, no matter what, getting a budget – even a supplemental budget – takes a fair amount of time! 

As you can see by the growing number of bills on our Bill Tracker, there are a lot of summarized bills, but at this point there are few in the child welfare realm.  (To access all bills, visit www.leg.wa.gov.)  Among the bills that will be introduced over the next couple of weeks, there will be child welfare-related bills, but given the focus on the budget and on implementation of key child welfare reform efforts that were passed in the last few years, fewer might be a very good thing.  But one day at a time!

Once there is more momentum on the child welfare-related bills, we’ll provide a few more insights on how they might impact vulnerable children and families.  Stay tuned!  If there is ever a particular issue or bill that you have questions about, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email: info@partnersforourchildren.org

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Laurie Lippold

Public Policy Director