We are almost to the finish line of the 2022 Legislative Session, with a mere six days until Sine Die. Since my last Roll Call, fiscal committees have wrapped their hearings, and today is the last day bills can be voted off the floor in the opposite house. Legislators worked late into the night and will likely do so again this evening to ensure all bills on the floor calendar receive a vote.
Although session is starting to wind down, a lot can still change in these final days. We are proud to join with our partners at the High School Success Coalition to support three critical provisions in the budget that will help students furthest from opportunity access financial aid and career training. These include bridge grants to cover non-tuition costs such as child care and transportation, student navigators to help with WAFSA/FAFSA completion, and local partnerships between schools, community organizations, and colleges to help students access postsecondary opportunities in their own communities.
I’ll be focusing on the state budget at our final Monday Action Meeting on March 7, where we’ll walk through what’s still up for debate and contact lawmakers one last time before session concludes. I hope you’ll join me!
Because so much has happened in the past few days, I have quite a bit of exciting news related to Stand’s 2022 legislative priorities, including:
- A bipartisan vote on HB 2050 to repeal parent pay. Late last night, the Senate voted 41-6 to pass HB 2050, which means that parents will no longer be charged for the cost of their child’s incarceration. 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.
- Senate passage of HB 1664 for more counselors, nurses, and support staff. The Senate also voted 45-2 to pass one of our top priority bills to increase and protect funding for the critical social-emotional supports students need to learn in the classroom. Because of this bill, districts will receive additional funding to hire new staff or contract with organizations.
- A flurry of bills passing off the floor that will help our state better serve young people and families. In the Senate, these included HB 1867, which will improve data collection to inform dual credit equity, HB 1834, which grants students excused absences for mental health days, and HB 1153, which will support schools’ engagement with non-English speaking families. Over on the House side, legislators voted to pass SB 5720 to increase financial literacy education, and SB 5657 to offer computer science courses to youth in state institutions.
Once each chamber wraps floor votes, final negotiations begin. If the House and Senate versions of any bill are substantially different, we’ll see a conference committee appointed to negotiate the final draft. One we will be watching closely is HB 1412, which would provide relief from the debts many people incur while involved in the criminal legal system. The House version included two fees, a DNA collection fee and the Victims’ Penalty Assessment, that are also imposed on youth in the legal system, but these were removed in Senate Ways & Means. We are anxiously waiting to see if these will be added back into the bill as House and Senate leaders finalize the version that will go to the Governor’s desk.
That’s a wrap for this week. I hope you’ll join me at our Monday Action Meeting on 3/7. For a full recap, I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live event on March 11, the day after session concludes, to give a summary of what did and did not pass. You can RSVP here to join me when we go live.
Until then, thank you for standing for young people and their families!