Sine Die and what it means…or doesn’t.

Published Mar. 13, 2012

Sine Die and what it means…or doesn’t.

March 13, 2012

Sine Die and what it means… or doesn’t.

According to Wikipedia “a legislative body adjourns sine die when it adjourns without appointing a day on which to appear or assemble again”. Although the 2012 Legislature did officially adjourn sine die, it was not a true sine die, as earlier that same day Governor Gregoire had already asked the legislature to reconvene for a special session on Monday, March 12, 2012, to finish the job of finalizing a supplemental operating budget.

This legislative session has been an unusual one to even the most seasoned advocates. In the last week of the session, when it seemed everything was moving smoothly toward a final budget being in place on time, the Senate was thrown into a state of confusion. When a Senator moved a bill to the Senate floor using a procedure called the “Ninth Order”, the budget that the majority party had expected to pass was suddenly no longer in play. Three Senators from the majority party switched their votes to join with the minority party to achieve the required twenty-five votes needed to pass a different budget bill. They pulled the Governor’s budget bill to the floor and amended it to pass the budget priorities they wanted to see.

To learn more about this, check out Episode 9 of the Olympia Insider by clicking here.

Services for people with developmental disabilities actually did fairly well in each version of the legislative budget proposals. There are some variations and areas of concern, but the major reductions originally proposed last fall by the Governor, including elimination of services by changing eligibility for Medicaid Personal Care and Medicaid Waivers, were not included in the legislative proposals. To see the latest budget side-by-side go to www.arcwa.org/takeaction then click on Budget Information. The chart currently shows the House’s budget proposal, the Senate Democrat proposal and the last Senate version that passed on the Senate floor.

Bills of Interest – very little made it through.

SB 6157 (creates a detention intake and risk assessment standards for juveniles with developmental disabilities), SB 6304 (concerning vulnerable adult protection orders) and SB 6384 (an employment bill which allows people with a developmental disability to transition to community access after nine months in an employment program, if they choose to) have passed the legislature, have been delivered to the Governor and are now awaiting her signature.

What can you do now?

The special session has begun, but most legislators are not in their offices. Finalizing an agreement is being done by leaders of each party in the House and Senate as they get down to negotiating what they think their members will agree to vote for. These leaders will likely include Senators Ed Murray, Derek Kilmer, Lisa Brown, Joseph Zarelli and Mike Hewitt as well as Representatives Ross Hunter, Jeannie Darneille, Frank Chopp, Gary Alexander and Richard DeBolt. If any of these are your legislator, it is even more critical that you contact them with your budget priorities.

The Arc has an Action Alert at http://capwiz.com/arcwa/state/main/?state=WA where you can easily let your legislators know what your priorities are for the final budget. Remember, they represent you, they need to hear from you in order to do that.

Stay connected during this critical time:

    Read the Olympia Reporter for in-depth news happening in Olympia at http://arcwa.org/category/insider/C1
    Subscribe to the Olympia Insider YouTube channel for video updates at http://arcwa.org/category/insider/C2
    Sign up for Action Alerts at http://capwiz.com/arcwa/state/main/?state=WA This is The Arc of Washington’s Advocacy web page where you can view Action Alerts, learn the status of bills during session and much more.
    Be sure to follow TheArcofWA on Twitter for quick updates texted to your cell phone. http://twitter.com/arcofwa
    Become a fan of The Arc - Washington State on Facebook for interactive conversations and information.
    “Like” the Don’t Cut Our Lifeline! Facebook page with discussions about all of the cuts proposed to Medicaid, both at state and federal levels.
    Follow blog postings on Remarks from The Arc, read perspectives from various advocates on the issues of concern.
    Get the Advocacy Partnership Project “News to Know” email newsletter. Email a request to join to Diana@arcwa.org
    Write Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper. The Arc makes this easy for you to do. Simply go to http://capwiz.com/arcwa/home and click on the “Media Guide” tab. Choose five newspapers to send to, then write your message and click send.

Questions? Need more information? Email me at Diana@arcwa.org.

Remember, change is being made by those who show up!