Another week, another budget!  On Monday, March 27th, the House released and heard their budget.  It was then passed by the Appropriations Committee and is expected to pass the House today, Friday, March 31st.  The budget counts on over $2 billion in new revenue and makes a number of investments in education, early learning, health care, and human services.

Once the budget passes the House, negotiations with the Senate could begin… However, the Senate has stated they won’t negotiate until the House passes their revenue package (see HB 2186), and the House has said that they won’t pass their revenue package until there is agreement on the contents of the budget.  Hmm… seems like reaching agreement could be a major challenge!

In addition to the release of the House budget, there was a significant cut-off this week: Bills had to be out of the policy committee in the opposite house by March 29th.  Bills that did not get out of the opposite house policy committee are now dead… Unless, of course, they can be amended onto another bill, are considered necessary to implement the budget, are brought up during a special session (assuming there will at least be one!), or are pulled out of committee and brought to the floor through a procedural move.  And there is always next session, as all bills introduced in the first year of a biennium that don’t pass are still alive during the second year of the biennium!

The next cut-off is Tuesday, April, 4th – this is the day bills that had to go to a fiscal committee have to be out.  And following that, bills have to be out of the opposite house by April 12th.  A lot to do in what is becoming a short period of time!

Back to the House budget… A few key similarities and differences between the House and Senate budgets:

The House included funding for:

  • The establishment of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families
  • Adolescent and maternal depression screens
  • Increasing the TANF grant
  • Expanding the Parents for Parents program
  • Child welfare caseworkers

The Senate included funding for:

  • Eliminating means testing for Kinship child-only TANF
  • Providing foster parents with support
  • Additional licensors for foster/adoptive homes
  • Reimbursing child-placing community-based agencies after a foster home is approved for licensure.

Both budgets include funding to ensure that there is not a loss of 210 home visiting slots and funds to expand the parent representation program (although at different levels of expansion).  A more comprehensive comparison will be posted ASAP.  Stay tuned!

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Have a good week!
Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director