The Short Supplemental Session was Packed!
Published Mar. 10, 2014
Final cut-off for bills
The last major bill cut-off was Friday, March 7th. We now have a pretty clear idea of which bills will be passed on to the Governor for his signature. Some of those bills include:
• 2SHB 2616, which requires Children’s Administration to make reasonable efforts to work with the Developmental Disability Administration to create a plan to assist parents who have developmental disabilities who are going through dependency hearings;
• HB 2544, which requires that a blood sample for disorders leading to intellectual disabilities be taken within 48 hours of birth;
• SSB 5958, which requires accountability for providing opportunities for students receiving special education services to participate in transition services; and
• SSB 6129, which directs a work group to create training for para-educators.
At this point in time, the bills above have passed both House and Senate, except that SSB 6129 has an amendment that was put on the bill when it passed the House. The Senate is refusing to “concur” (agree) with the amendment and has asked the House to “recede”. If the House refuses to do so and the Senate continues to disagree with the amendment, the bill could die.
There are still some bills which died in the process but can be considered NTIB or “Necessary To Implement the Budget”. Those bills could be revived in the final budget if legislators determine they are needed because they have a fiscal impact on the state budget. Some of those include:
• SB 6387, which has several components including creating a new Medicaid program for the state-only funded Individual and Family Services program, moving Medicaid Personal Care to the new Community First Choice Option to get an additional federal match and to add 1,000 openings to the Basic Plus waiver;
• SHB 2646, which would exempt respite care providers from training if they work fewer than 300 hours a year, died in the Rules committee, BUT it may still come back to life.
• SB 6558, which provides intensive wrap-around mental health services for Medicaid-eligible children; and
• SB 6057, which give tax credits to employers for hiring individuals with developmental disabilities.
Where is the budget?
The budget proposals have all been released and now a Conference Committee comprised of fiscal leaders representing both political parties and both Houses (called the four corners) work with the Governor’s office to come to agreement on a final budget. Once the agreed upon budget passes a vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the budget then goes to the Governor for signature. The Governor has the choice to veto all of the budget or select parts of the budget to veto, but he cannot add money to the budget that the Legislature did not appropriate.
What can you do now?
We watch and wait. The 2014 legislative session is just days away from ending. The majority of the work is likely done and budget staff will be double-checking and fine-tuning the budget documents. The final version will likely be released and then voted on in each House no later than Thursday, as legislators want this session to end on time (March 13th).
Keep in mind that this is an election year. Candidates want your vote. Be sure to attend community forums, learn what their stand is on disability issues. May 16, 2014 is the last day for candidates to file with the state to run for office. The Arc of Washington State will send a questionnaire to all candidates and post each response on our web site. Encourage candidates running in your district to respond so that you and others are able to make informed decisions when you vote!
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Questions? Need more information? Email me at Diana@arcwa.org.
Remember, change is being made by those who show up!