Welcome to Week 17 of the 2015 Legislative Session

First and foremost, we need your feedback. Every week, we send you these emails and update our bill tracker, but it’s hard for us to know exactly what you want to hear. If you could provide your feedback in this short online survey, it would be much appreciated. We want to ensure our outreach and online tools are as helpful as possible.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled policy update... Since the legislature adjourned two weeks ago, several committees have held meetings, many legislators have gone back to their districts, most legislative assistants have left Olympia, and the once-crowded hallways are now quiet. All in all, there are not a lot of updates to report on how new bills or laws will affect children and families in our state, but the budget discussions are in the works.

It appears that Republicans and Democrats have a difference of opinion about the need to generate additional revenue for the budget. Democrats think it is necessary in order to fund McCleary (aka K-12 education); give state employees a raise; put enough money into early learning; fund additional Child Protective Services, Family Assessment Response, and child welfare workers; and more. Republicans, for the most part, do not believe it is necessary to generate additional revenue in order to fund McCleary and a few other items given that revenue collections have been up and we brought in approximately $3 billion more than anticipated.

Eventually, at some point, the House and Senate will likely reach agreement through compromises. How long it takes is the big question. In the meantime, there may be a few more committee hearings, discussions among the budget writers (and others), and the Governor will continue to take action on bills passed during the regular session (the last day to take action on bills is May 18th). Many will be biting their nails as we move closer and closer to July 1st and the new fiscal year – if there is no operating budget in place by then, our state will “shut down,” putting a lot of important state services on hold.

If you have any questions, email us at info@partnersforourchildren.org. Also, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on our work during the legislative session and throughout the year.

Have a good weekend!

Laurie Lippold

Public Policy Director