Working to transform the child welfare system.

Legislative Update – Week 7

Welcome to Week 7 of the 2015 Legislative Session!

Today, bills have to be out of their respective fiscal committees or they will die – unless at some point they are amended onto another living bill, become a budget proviso, or are deemed necessary to implement the budget. In general, however, bills have to be out of the fiscal committees by the end of the day TODAY. Attention will quickly turn to the Rules Committee, where bills have to be ‘pulled’ in order to keep moving through the process, as well as the House and Senate floors. March 11th is the next big cut-off – the day that bills have to be out of their house of origin. Then, the bills that are still alive switch sides and begin the process all over again! 

Many of the bills are being amended in the fiscal committees prior to passage. Just a reminder, the Bill Tracker will not provide information about all of the amendments, but will focus on amendments to a number of the child welfare-related bills, as well as a few bills in other areas. Additionally, by the time many of you read this, action may have been taken on a bill awaiting action (or a decision was made to not take action) – we’ll be sure to make these updates on the Bill Tracker next week.

This is the time of session when, if there are companion bills (same bill in the House and Senate), decisions to continue to move one, but not the other, are fairly common. Getting a bill through the whole legislative process takes time, so if there is a way to reduce the number of bills in either the House or Senate (e.g., a companion bill), it is often desirable to do so.  Bill sponsors and proponents of bills often prefer to keep their bill moving, so sometimes both companion bills will continue to move forward – with the decision about which will make it to the finish line coming much later in the process.

Despite all of these cut-offs, we’re pleased that a few of the bills we’re monitoring are still moving forward, including SB 5404, HB 1436, HB 1728 and SB 5486 – these are two sets of companion bills around homeless youth prevention and protection, as well as the “parents for parents” program. (Read the bills for more details!) Unfortunately, another bill we were following – HB 1734 – did not make the cut-off. However, bills are often amended onto a living bill or dealt with through a budget proviso. It is expected that this bill will continue to be discussed in the context of a proviso.

Also, if you missed it earlier this week, be sure to check out POC’s first Annual Report of Child Welfare System Performance!

Questions?  Don’t hesitate to email us at info@partnersforourchildren.org.  And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on our work during the legislative session and throughout the year.

Have a good weekend!

Laurie Lippold

Public Policy Director