Yesterday was a good day for child welfare and early learning bills with a number of them getting out of the House, including HB2525, the Family Connections Program bill, and HB2456, a bill focused on child care for people experiencing homelessness. And today was a good day for children and youth behavioral health! These bills, along with many others, will now head to the Senate where they need to go through the policy and fiscal committees before making their way to Rules, and then, potentially the Senate floor!
The week was filled with fiscal committee meetings and then floor action. Tuesday was the cut-off day for bills to be out of fiscal committees, and, as a result, the House Appropriations committee met last Saturday, late on Monday, and into the night on Tuesday. The Senate Ways & Means Committee did the same, however, they did not work last weekend. Both committees acted on many bills that then went to Rules.
The push now is to get bills out of the Rules Committee and onto the House or Senate floor for a vote..... all of which takes time, and time is not something there is a lot of during this legislative session. The cut-off for bills to be out of their original house is by the end of the day/night on Wednesday, Feb. 19th. Then, without skipping a beat, policy committee meetings begin again on Thursday the 20th. They will work very hard until the next cut-off (for bills to be out of the opposite policy committees) which is Feb. 28th. With these compressed deadlines, it is pretty amazing that as many bills are able to pass!
Because things are happening so quickly, it is challenging to stay completely up to speed on bills getting out of Rules and/or brought up for a vote. Technology can move pretty fast, but sometimes the system (and the humans updating things) takes a while to get caught up; for example, a bill may have passed out of the House or Senate, but it may not show up right away on leg.wa.gov. We do our best to keep up but may miss something here or there. Apologies in advance if that happens!
In addition to February 19th being the original house cut-off, it is also the day of the next revenue forecast. The forecast is important as it helps guide legislators in terms of money available for the duration of this biennium. Typically the first budget is released shortly after the forecast; it is rumored that the House will release their budget on the 24th or early that week. We’ll see!
That’s it for now! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Stay up-to-date on bills
Please use the Partners for Our Children weekly bill tracker which we update every Friday. We track many bills relevant to children, youth, and families throughout the legislative session. While we will track a large number of bills, we don't track them all and sometimes we miss important relevant legislation. If you think we've missed one (or more) that is relevant, please let us know. Also, if our brief summaries miss the mark, let us know that too! We are very open to feedback.
Because of the breadth of many bills, we also want to remind you that you can review the complete text of any bill on leg.wa.gov
Contact Laurie Lippold, State Policy Director and/or Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children
Thanks for your continued interest in issues
related to children, youth, and families!