The countdown has begun… just a little over one week left of the 2021 legislative session. Amazing!
 
Last Sunday, April 11th, was cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house. On Monday, April 12th, the House and Senate began working on their concurrence/dispute calendars; bills that were amended in the opposite house go back to the original house for concurrence (i.e. the original house agrees with the changes made by the opposite house) or dispute (they don’t agree with the changes!). Bills have to be voted on for final passage before they can move on to the Governor.
 
It is very common for the opposite house to make changes, so there are a number of bills to get through before sine die on April 25th. Also, bills that are necessary to implement the budget also need to be acted on, and, of course, the biggies – the budgets!
 
Budget writers have been working away on the operating, capital, and transportation budgets, in hopes of resolving their differences and coming up with something they can agree on! And don’t forget the Governor’s role; he has the final word, given he can sign, veto, or do a partial veto. 
 
Also going on this week are bill signings. Bills that land on the Governor’s desk more than five days before the Legislature adjourns have five days to be acted on. Bills that are delivered fewer than five days before the Legislature adjourns have 20 days to be acted on by the governor. And from the time a bill is voted on for final passage to the time it arrives on the Governor’s desk can take a while as it needs to be signed by both the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate. Even though a lot of bills are passing this week, it is very likely many of them will not reach the Governor soon enough to be five-day bills.
 
What are some of the bills that have now gone through the final passage? Here are a few….
 
HB1194 – Parent-Child Visitation
HB1227 – Keeping Families Together
HB1219 – Legal Counsel for Youth in Dependencies
HB1325 – Children/Youth Behavioral Health
HB1186 – Community Transitions for Youth in Juvenile Rehabilitation Facilities
SB5229 – Continuing Education Requirement for Health Care (including Behavioral Health) Professionals
SB5184 – K-12 Foster Care Point of Contact
SB5030 – School Counseling Programs
 
And one that we have been tracking that was signed into law this week is HB1237, the Family Resource Center bill. 
 
More to come!!
 
We will do our final session update next week and then follow up after the budget is passed and acted upon by the Governor, which would likely be in May. And in the meantime, feel free to let us know if you have questions, etc.
 
Thank you and enjoy the sunshine!!