February 25, 2018
Melissa Johnson, WDHA Lobbyist
Lawmakers have less than two weeks to go in the legislative session
and there’s still much to do. Cutoff deadlines are happening very quickly,
with Friday's policy committee cutoff and Monday’s fiscal committee
cutoff shortening the list of bills in play even more. Bills must pass the
opposite house (House bills out of the Senate; Senate bills out of the
House) by March 2nd. The legislative session is scheduled to end on
Last week, the House and Senate Democrats released their budgets.
These budgets take a different approach to the Supreme Court’s
directive to fully fund K-12 education this year, which is an additional one
billion dollars this year. The Senate includes this funding in its budget,
the bulk of which goes to educator salaries and special education. There
is also funding to provide a temporary state property tax decrease in
2019. The House does not include this K-12 funding for educator
salaries; it does include funding for special education. It also funds a
temporary two-year property tax decrease. The House Democrats also
propose a 7% capital gains tax on investment income to be used for
further property tax decreases.
The Senate passed its budget Friday; soon, negotiations between the
House and Senate will begin to negotiate a final budget, hopefully in
time to adjourn on March 8th.
SB 6549, the bill that expands the ABCD program to children with
disabilities up to age 12, is still alive. It passed the House Health Care
Committee Friday and was heard in the House Appropriations
Committee yesterday. It must pass that committee by Monday to remain
HB 1316, Rep. Caldier’s bill on dental insurance practices, died in the
Senate Health Care Committee. No further action will be taken on this
bill this session.
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