Welcome to Week 14 of the 2015 Legislative Session!

The end of regular session is nearing – whether we go into extra innings remains to be seen, but it is highly likely! Until then, many bills have a ways to go until they are sent to be signed by the Governor. If they have been amended and passed by either the House or Senate, they’ll go to the opposite house for concurrence or dispute. Basically, this means when the opposite house agrees with the changes made, they concur. If they don’t, the bill is then in dispute, and the goal is to work out the differences before a final vote.

For example, SB 5740, Extended Foster Care, passed the Senate and was amended in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee before it was voted on in the House. The bill then came back to the Senate for concurrence or dispute. The Senate agreed with the changes made by the House and voted to concur. Because they concurred with the changes made by the House, the bill is done and will be on its way to the Governor shortly!

We are pleased that both the Homeless Youth Act and the Parents for Parents bills passed and are on their way to the Governor. Unfortunately, HB 1875 – the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) WorkFirst Work Activity bill – did not pass. It was referenced in the House budget, however, so there may still be hope. We’ll keep you posted!

For the status of all bills we’ve been monitoring, visit our Bill Tracker – and don’t hesitate to send any questions our way. Out of the several thousand bills that were introduced during session, it looks like fewer than 400 passed both houses. Now we will wait to see how many the Governor vetoes – in whole or in part. You can also see how the Governor, House, and Senate budgets compare on our Budget Tracker. Please note: the budget tracker is not comprehensive of all budget items proposed, but we do our best to accurately track budget items that are important to POC’s mission.

Over the next week, a number of committees will be having meetings/hearings (primarily on fiscal matters or interim planning sessions), the House and Senate will continue to run their concurrence/dispute calendars, and hopefully the key budget writers will be engaging in negotiations. Sine Die (last day of the regular session) is on April 26th,and at this point, the general wisdom is that they won’t resolve their budget differences and will go into special session. When the special session would begin, how long it would last (each special session cannot go more than 30 days), whether there would need to be a second special session, etc. all remain to be seen.

Next week’s update will be the last update of the regular session. We will likely send an update after Sine Die, and again after the budget has been passed. Periodic updates may also be sent during the special session(s) if needed.

Questions or feedback on our policy updates? Don’t hesitate to 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