The clock is ticking... and the big question remains: Will session be over by 11:59 p.m. Sunday night??!!! It appears that an agreement has been reached on the operating budget, an indication that they may be able to be done on time. Nonetheless, many things need to fall into place before lawmakers can adjourn. So... hang on, we should have a budget to look at on Saturday. And, then, hopefully a vote on it on Sunday! One day at a time!
In addition to the behind the scenes work on the budget, the House and Senate are busy with concurrences on bills. As a reminder, when the opposite house makes changes to a bill, it goes back to the house of origin for concurrence. If the house of origin agrees with the changes, they simply vote to concur and the bill is then sent to the Governor. If the house of origin doesn’t concur, they ask the opposite house to recede from their amendments. If they do, and pass the bill as it came over from the house of origin, it’s done. If they refuse to recede, they then are in dispute and need to come to agreement. Conference committees are appointed, and if agreement is reached, both houses then vote up or down on the conference agreement. And the bill, if passed by both, heads to the Governor. Quite a process, eh? The deadline to get through the concurrence calendar is also 11:59 p.m. on Sunday April 28th.
The Governor has been busy this week signing bills that made their way to his desk. Bills that are delivered now are "20-day bills" (meaning he has 20 days to sign after they are delivered) so, the pressure to take action quickly is off. Nonetheless, many bills are passing and going to the Governor. Staff review all of them, and supporters and opponents make their cases (to veto or not to veto!). Much work still needs to happen before a bill becomes a law!
After the operating budget is passed and signed by the Governor, we will do our final comparison chart. We will do this sometime in May and send it out through this mailing. In the meantime, we will post a scaled back document with some of the key budget items we have been following related to children, youth and families. We will also do a final tracker next week. The caveat, however, is that the Governor will not have taken action on the vast majority of the bills we have been tracking so it will be important to look at leg.wa.gov after action is taken to find out if any part or all of a bill has been vetoed.
Given that this is the last Friday of the regular legislative session, we extend our thanks and gratitude to all of you who have used the Partners for Our Children bill tracker, gotten involved in important issues for which you care deeply, and supported the sometimes hard to follow process. It amazes me that 105 days have flown by, but, then again, January 14th, the first day of session, seems like eons ago! We greatly appreciate your participation and support for issues related to children, youth and families greatly. The team at Partners for Our Children worked long hours to ensure the timely posting of the tracker and my personal, heartfelt thanks to them too.
Enjoy the rest of the day and weekend... And, please keep your fingers crossed that a budget deal that is good for children, youth and families is reached and they truly Sine Die on Sunday!
Questions? Concerns? Contact Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children.