The week was full: budget releases, hearings, executive action, hand wringing about bills scheduled prior to the policy cut-off, then fiscal cut-offs, and more! As a reminder, the policy cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house committees was yesterday, Feb 24th, and the fiscal cut-off is Monday, Feb. 28th. There are a lot of bills to get through the fiscal committees before cut-off, so, unfortunately unlikely that all will make it.
 
Simultaneously, the House and Senate plan on passing their respective budgets, perhaps today (Feb. 25th)! They both released and held public hearings on their budgets on Monday, Feb. 21st, and passed them out of their fiscal committees on Wed, Feb. 23rd. Now the budgets are up for a vote on the floor. After each passes their budget, the negotiations can begin! 
 
Both budgets make considerable investments, while maintaining a healthy reserve. Approximately $1.3 billion in unspent federal money is available. While not all appropriated, a lot was --- adding to the healthy investments (particularly one-time investments) that are included in one or both of the budgets. If you were able to listen to the testimony in House Appropriations and/or Senate Ways & Means on Monday, you probably heard many thank yous! Legislators have indicated that their investments during this supplemental budget year exceed what was invested in the last biennial budget. 
 
One might think that with the availability of resources negotiations between the House and Senate could go quickly and smoothly. That would definitely be fabulous and might be the case. But…. it is also the case that there are differences; one budget spends more than the other, resource allocations can differ, priorities can differ etc. And, in general, figuring out the details of an over $60 billion budget takes time and can be daunting! Legislators and staff deserve a lot of credit for their attention to detail, especially when they are probably a bit sleep deprived!
 
Once the fiscal cut-off has come and gone attention will turn to getting bills out of Rules and brought up on the House and Senate floors for a vote. The cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house is March 4, a date that will be here before we know it! 
 
Because of the rapid pace, it can be challenging to keep the information sent to you 100% current. Apologies for that. A bill that isn’t scheduled today for a hearing in one of the fiscal committees could be scheduled after you receive the Partners for Our Children weekly bill tracker, which means the information on the tracker has become outdated. We do our best and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
 
Next week’s update from Partners for Our Children is on the day of opposite house cut-off and will be the last update sent during the 2022 session! Hard to believe! Thank you for your ongoing interest and involvement in the legislative process. Have a good week!