The first cut-off of the session has come and gone! Yesterday, Feb. 3rd, was the cut-off for bills to get out of their policy committee of origin. Many bills made it through, but, as is the reality of every legislative session, not all did. Some of the bills that didn’t make it through (and even some that did!) likely will be turned into a budget proviso, others will get amended in whole or part onto bills that are still alive, and others potentially will come back as a new bill in the 2023.
Now that the policy cut-off has passed, all eyes are on the work of the fiscal committees (House Appropriations, Senate Ways & Means, House Capital, House Finance, and Senate/House Transportation). As a reminder, cut off for fiscal committees is Feb. 7th and then, on to the House and Senate floor for eight days, and after that, the process starts over in the opposite house.
Back to the fiscal committees, Appropriations and Ways and Means in particular...
Both committees will meet all day today and tomorrow (Sat). The agendas are very long and the push is on to get bills not yet scheduled on the schedule. So many issues and so little time. Testimony on bills in fiscal committees is generally short and should be focused on the budget implications. It’s a stressful time for many!!
Although many, many, many bills will be heard over the next few days, Ways and Means and Appropriations also have been hearing and passing bills this past week. The House and Senate have also been spending time on the floor passing bills, reducing a bit their load for post-fiscal committee cut-off. Nonetheless, with the number still coming their way, it probably won’t feel like a reduction!
In addition to bills, legislators also have been working on budget provisos. Rumor has it that this session over twice as many provisos are being submitted than a typical short session. Perhaps that has something to do with unspent federal money and positive revenue collections??!!! Included in the proviso mix are a number related to children/youth behavioral health, adolescent services, child welfare, and many other areas. Budget writers have their work cut out for them, that’s for sure!
The Partners for Our Children bill tracker is up-to-date with many bill summaries and status updates. Please use it!
With respect to a few of the bills we are tracking:
HB1747, Supporting Relative Placements in Child Welfare Proceedings passed unanimously in the House and is heading to the Senate!
HB1800, Increasing Access to Behavioral Health Services for Minors passed out of Appropriations and is heading to Rules.
HB1890, Strategic Plan for Children/Youth Behavioral Health passed out of Appropriations and is heading to Rules.
That’s it for now! For more information, remember leg.wa.gov is also a great resource.
Have a good week and thanks for your interest in the legislative process!