We made it. The 2022 legislative session officially wrapped yesterday, March 10.This time last week, legislators were pushing the final bills through floor votes to meet the opposite house cutoff. Since then, much of the action has occurred off camera, as legislators spent the week reconciling any changes made to bills in the opposite house with what came out of the house of origin a few weeks ago. Governor Inslee now has 20 days to sign all of the finalized bills delivered by the legislature.
The 2022 Supplemental Operating Budget
The big moment of the week came on Thursday afternoon when we received the final supplemental operating budget for the 2021-2023 biennium. Legislators made sizable investments in housing, behavioral health, and environmental priorities in addition to education and other programs affecting young people. Here are a few highlights:
$90 million to implement HB 1664, which increases the number of school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists providing social emotional support and health services to K-12 students across the state.
$346 million (federal dollars) for enrollment stabilization as dictated by SB 1590, which is designed to prevent budget shortfalls in districts with lower enrollment due to the pandemic.
$34 million to increase financial aid and provide bridge grants, which cover non-tuition higher education costs such as child care, transportation, or housing.
$2 million to implement HB 2050, which repeals parent pay, a law that previously required parents and caregivers to pay a portion of their gross income to cover the cost of their child’s incarceration.
Unfortunately, the final budget did not include the additional funding for ninth grade success programming that we had hoped to see. Stand had supported Senator Mullet and Senator Liias’ budget proviso to allot an additional $500,000 for the program, which would have funded five schools currently on the waitlist. We are holding out hope for an alternative source of funding for these schools.
You can access the supplemental budget online for a full account of what was included.
A Victory for Families
Last week, I shared the exciting news that HB 2050 passed the Senate. If you’ve been following along, you know that this bill was a top priority for Stand because it repealed an outdated and harmful law that required families to pay a portion of their gross income to cover a child’s incarceration costs. We are so grateful to our partners at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the Center for Children and Youth Justice, and countless others – including so many of you! – who took a stand for young people and their families by supporting this bill.
Because HB 2050 passed with such bipartisan support, we want to ensure our legislators hear our gratitude and that eliminating fines and fees in the juvenile system is a priority for us. We’ve created an action alert, linked below, for you to easily say thank you to the 129 lawmakers who voted to pass this bill.
Recapping and Celebrating the 2022 Session
Although session has concluded, we have not yet finished taking stock of its impact and what we’ve accomplished together. Next Monday at noon, Kia and I will hold our Legislative Debrief on Facebook Live (postponed from 3/11). Tune in to hear us chat about the past sixty days, what we’re celebrating, and how we are looking ahead to next year. Next week, I’ll also be sending out our 2022 Legislative Summary with a comprehensive look at everything that happened, so please look for that in your inboxes.
Finally, please keep an eye out for an invitation to our Volunteer Celebration on March 21. This virtual event is a time for us to say thank you for all your hard work and celebrate what we’ve accomplished. I hope you’ll join us!
Thank you so much for following along with us these past nine weeks. We are so grateful for everything you do for young people in Washington and their families. Have a great weekend!