Week nine – Sine Die    
 
2022 was a remarkable legislative session! 
 
Last Friday was cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house and since that time the legislature has been passing bills necessary to implement the budget, the transportation and capital budgets, and running the concurrence/dispute calendar. The agreed upon (by the majority party) operating budget was released on the March 9th and includes investments in behavioral health, homeless youth and young adults, people with low incomes, child welfare, kinship care, and more.
 
Many folks are talking about how this supplemental year accomplished more than often happens during biennial years. The operating, capital, and transportation budgets all are very robust and a number of significant policy bills passed. Over the next few weeks we will digest, analyze, and communicate about the 2022 session. While this is our last Partners for Our Children weekly tracker for 2022, we will post an updated budget chart and make additional adjustments to the bill status as needed (such as when bills are signed into law).
 
Just FYI, some important items in the budget include:
·       7% Medicaid rate increase for behavioral health agencies
·       Funding for the children/youth strategic plan
·       Continuation of the child welfare housing program
·       Rate increase for family time and in-home prevention services
·       Legal support for kinship caregivers
·       Funding to build capacity for Family Resource Centers
·       Financial assistance for young people exiting Extended Foster Care
·       Funding for Community Health Workers in primary care settings
·       Startup funding for Behavioral Health Integration
·       Flex funds for individuals, including young people, exiting behavioral health facilities
·       Additional funds for the Parents for Parents Program
·       Funding for a diaper benefit for families on TANF
·       Funding to redesign the Family Reconciliation Services program
·       And more! 
Stay tuned for the budget chart that will be disseminated as soon as possible…
 
The Governor has started taking action on bills. To keep up with what is being signed and when, please visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/office-governor/official-actions/bill-action. Bill signings can be viewed on TVW.org.
 
The question is often asked, “how long does the Governor have to sign bills?”  According to the Governor’s website: Bills that are delivered to the governor 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. Sundays are not counted, but Saturdays and state holidays are counted.
 
That’s it for the 2022 session! 
 
Thank you for your interest in the legislative process and the importance of policy in the lives of Washington residents. It was a whirlwind session and your involvement makes a big difference. Here’s to a great interim!
 
Questions? Comments? Please be in touch!