Welcome to Week 13 of the 2013 Legislative Session!

As anticipated, on Wednesday, April 10th, the House Democrats released their budget and held a press conference and a public hearing.  The Appropriations Committee amended and passed the budget on the 11th, and it is expected to be voted on by the full House on the 12th.  On the Senate side, the budget was passed on Friday, April 5th.  And, now that both houses have passed budgets (or, in the case of the House, should be doing so today!), negotiations can begin.

There are significant differences between the House and Senate budgets, so reaching agreement could take considerable time.  The House budget, like the Governor's, raises revenue by closing a number of tax loopholes and extending a couple of taxes that went into effect previously and are set to expire.  The Senate budget did not include any measures that would increase revenue.  The inclusion of revenue allowed the Governor and House to put significant dollars into K-12 (McCleary) and not make many cuts in health and human services.  There is a long way to go in terms of developing a budget that can get enough votes in the House (50) and Senate (25) to pass.  The question of revenue, how much and from what source(s), is going to be one of the biggest and most challenging issues to resolve.

Highlights from the House, Senate, and Governor's budgets:

Children's Administration

Family Assessment Response (FAR)

  • Gov: $8.3M GFS; $26.5M total. Funding covers the anticipated costs for increased staffing (62.4 FTEs), support services, and concrete goods to help stabilize families.
  • Sen: $500K GFS; $10.5M GFF, Child and Family Reinvestment Acct. Funding is for concrete goods and services.
  • Sen: $2.5M GFS; $5.5M GFF, Child and Family Reinvestment Acct. Funding is for FAR staff.
  • Sen: ($1M) GFS; ($1.4M) total. Funding is reduced to reflect a 30% decline in out-of-home placement for cases referred to the FAR in the last 6 months of FY15.
  • House: $8.3M GFS; $26.5M total. Funding covers the anticipated costs for increased staffing (62.4 FTEs), support services, and concrete goods to help stabilize families.

Performance Based Contracting (PBC)

  • Gov: $.4M GFS; $.7M total. Funding will support department staffing (3.5 FTEs) that will work with contracted network administrators to ensure positive performance outcomes.
  • Sen: Not included.
  • House: $200K GFS/total. Funding is provided to plan the implementation of performance-based contracts for family support and related services.

Child Protective Services

  • Gov: $5.9M GFS; $7.6M total. Funding and FTE is provided to lower caseloads for Child Protective Services workers to reduce response and investigation times. Current caseloads are above the recommended level of 1:15 cases per caseworker.
  • Sen: Not included.
  • House: $5.6M GFS; $7.2M total. Funding is provided for CA field offices in which the average monthly CPS caseload per worker exceeds 18:1.

Educational Coordinators

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($612K) GFS/total. Includes cut to Education Coordinators as well as the elimination of "unnecessary" training.
  • House: No cut; No add. 

[$93,000 GFS; $124,000 total is provided to implement HB 1566, a bill related to education outcomes of foster youth.]

Adoption Support Payments

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($1.6M) GFS/total. Reduces funding by 50% for adoption support maintenance payments to adoptive parents with children who don't have significant special needs.
  • House: No cut; No add.

Administrative Efficiencies

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($2.3M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect administrative efficiencies and other actions that agencies will take to lower costs.
  • House: No cut; No add.

Extended Foster Care

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: $3.1M GFS; $4M total. Funding is provided to implement SB5405, which extends foster care services to youth exiting the foster care system who are engaged in activities which remove barriers to employment.
  • House: $3.5M GFS; $4.6M total. Funding is provided to implement HB1302.

Powell Fatality Team

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: $100K GFS; $256K GFF. Funding is provided for initial and ongoing DV training for social workers.
  • House: No cut; No add. 

Aging and Adult Services

Kinship Caregivers

  • Gov: No cut.
  • Sen: ($2.1M) GFS/total. Funding is eliminated for kinship caregivers.
  • House: No cut.

Economic Services

WorkFirst Reduction

  • Gov: $70M is reduced; however, $35M is reinvested to:  
    • Move homeless children and families to stable housing
    • Reinstate the Career Services program to increase federal participation
    • Make improvements to the limited English proficiency pathways
    • Implement the TANF Predictive Risk Information System
    • Increase utilization of vocational education services through the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges
    • Note: It appears that this is what the budget did; however, further analysis is needed!
  • Sen: ($143.9M) GFS/total. This includes the TANF and Working Connections Child Care adjustments to reflect caseload and per capita under-expenditures.
  • House: ($81M) total. Funding is adjusted to reflect the reductions if the TANF and WCCC caseloads.

Household Size

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($2.7M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect capping the TANF grant at the household size of the family upon entry onto TANF. The grant may not increase with additional family members.
  • House: Does not include.  

Reduce WorkFirst Partners

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($14.3M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced for WorkFirst activities by 10% for the biennium.
  • House: Does not include.

TANF Redesign Caseload

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($4.1M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced due to an expectation that the redesign of the TANF program and WorkFirst activities will result in shorter lengths of stay.
  • House: Does not include.

Reduce Child Care Cap

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($17.4M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect lowering the cap on Working Connections Child Care from 33,000 to 29,000.
  • House: Does not lower the Working Connections Child Care CAP.

Reduce/Modify Safety Net Programs

  • Gov: ($26.9M) GFS is eliminated. With the elimination of state-administered incapacity examinations and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) facilitation services, the Aged Blind and Disabled (ABD) / Pregnant Women (PW) Assistance Program and the Housing and Essential Needs Program (HEN) are modified. The ABD/PW Assistance Program, which currently provides up to a $197 monthly cash benefit to about 25,100 eligible participants, will be reduced to provide cash benefits to only the aged population, which is approximately 3,600 individuals per month. All other ABD and PW participants may be eligible for housing assistance, essential needs supports, and/or SSI facilitation assistance through the HEN Program.
  • Sen: ($40.9M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect a 50% reduction to the cash grant for clients of the aged assistance program. Beginning 7/1/13, the disabled population from the former aged, blind, disabled program will no longer receive cash assistance but will be served by the Housing and Essential Needs Program, if they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • House: Did not make changes to the HENs, ABD, other populations.

Early Learning

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program

  • Gov: $35M GFS /total. The budget invests funds to expand by 3,035 slots and improve quality through increased classroom hours and professional development.
  • Sen: $22.4M GFS/total. Funding is provided to increase the number of ECEAP slots by 860 while increasing the average slot reimbursement from $6,800 to $7,500 and increasing oversight.
  • House: $38.5M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand access to the ECEAP by 1,882 additional slots, phased in each year at current eligibility standards and payment rates. Of these amounts, $40,000 of the FY14 appropriation is provided on a one-time basis for a study of available space in the state.

Home Visiting

  • Gov: Did not include.
  • Sen: $1M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand Home Visiting Activities.
  • House: $1M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand Home Visiting Activities.

Reach Out and Read

  • Gov: No cut.
  • Sen: ($400K) GFS/total. Funding for the ROR program is moved to federal funds for the biennium.
  • House: No cut.

K-12

Expand Full-Day Kindergarten

  • Gov: $116.2M GFS. Expands full-day kindergarten to all high-poverty schools.
  • Sen: $41.1M GFS/total. Funding is expanded from the current 22% of kindergarten enrollment to 30% in 2013-2014; and to 35% in 2014-2015, with priority to those schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program.
  • House: $91.5M GFS?/total. Allocations for statewide voluntary full-day kindergarten programs are expanded, increasing from 22% of kindergarten enrollment in 2012-2013 to 37.6% in school year 2013-2014 and 39.6% in school year 2014-2015.

Reduce Class Size for Kindergarten and First Grade for all High-Poverty Schools

  • Gov: $128M. Reduces class size from 24 to 20.
  • Sen: ?
  • House: $197.6M GFS/total. Reduces class size for grades K - 3. The reduction varies depending on the percentage of high-poverty students in the school.

Ensure Third Grade Literacy

  • Gov: $12.5M.
  • Sen: ?
  • House: Unsure at this time.

Dropout Action Plan Grants

  • Gov: $1.3M. Funding is provided to offer $10,000 grants to 63 districts per year to facilitate use of the uniform dropout risk assessment tool and develop plans of action to reduce their district's dropout rate.
  • Sen: ?
  • House: $504K GFS/total. While not specifically dropout action plan grants, the House budget includes funding for OSPI to develop a K-12 dropout prevention, intervention and re-engagement system assessment tool and to continue development of a dropout prevention early warning and intervention system.

Consolidate Grants and Programs

  • Gov: Did not appear to consolidate.
  • Sen: ($18.8M) GFS/total. Grants and statewide programs, including Readiness to Learn, are combined into one funding amount and reduced.
  • House: Did not consolidate.

Revenue

  • Gov: $565.2M from repealing/modifying tax breaks and $661.6M from extending revenues from the 0.3% B&O tax surcharge and the 50-cent beer tax. Total: $1.2B+.
  • Sen: Did not include.
  • House: Included a revenue package that looks very much like the Governor's revenue package.

In Other News....  

The cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house is rapidly approaching - April 17th.  If bills are not out of the opposite house and are not 'necessary to implement the budget', they will die.  If a bill passes out of the opposite house but in a form different from what was passed in the original house, then the original house can either concur with the changes or ask the opposite house to recede.  If the opposite house does not recede and return the bill to the form it was in coming out of the original house, a conference committee can be convened to try to work out the differences in a manner both houses will accept!  That, and working on resolving the budget, is the work that goes on between the 18th and the 28th.

It is common for committees in the opposite house to amend bills that have come over from the other side.  While this update may include changes made in the opposite house policy committees, it will not include such information for all of the bills.  That the bill has been amended in committee will, at minimum, be identified.
 
Cut-Off Dates Reminder:
  • April 17th - Last day to consider bills from the opposite house
  • April 28th - Last day of the regular session
POC's Bill Tracker is fresh with updates. Take a look!
 
Have a great weekend!
 
 
Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director