House & Senate Ponder Budgets - UWPNW Legislative Update February 23, 2022

Both the House and Senate budget committees are pondering how to adjust the current two-year state spending plan in light of new revenue and spending information. This year offers opportunity to increase investments in affordable housing, education and health care. Read on.

House and Senate Democrats Release Proposed Supplemental Budgets
Earlier this week, the chairs of the House and Senate budget committee released their proposals for how to adjust the current two-year budget. Both proposals increase state funding ($5.8 billion in the Senate version and $6.2 billion in the House version) over the budget amount approved last year. A Senate announcement says that spending from Senate Bill 5693  “combined with investments from the proposed capital budget, (means) more than $600 million will target the immediate shelter needs of the state’s homeless population and support new affordable housing programs.” The House announcement says that spending in House Bill 1816  “added in $332 million in behavioral health programs, targeting workforce recruitment and retention.” Both proposals increase investments in the Working Connections Child Care program and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program. Committee action is expected on both bills this week.  Here’s a state summary of  the House proposed budget. Here’s the summary for the Senate proposed budget. 

Senate Committee Approves Imagination Library 
The Senate Committee on Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation voted to approve House Bill 2068 which would formally recognize the Imagination Library program currently being managed by the United Ways of Pacific Northwest. On March 2 at 1 p.m., we will hold a virtual launch event and press conference for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Washington Expansion Project. Here’s the Imagination Library launch registration. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Youth Housing Bill Clears Senate Committee Hurdle
House Bill 1905, which would target state housing support resources to youth and young adults exiting a publicly funded system of care, has been approved by the Senate Committee on Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation. The bill now goes to the Senate Ways and Means. If adopted, the bill will help fulfill the promise of a 2018 bill that established a goal that any unaccompanied youth discharged from a publicly funded system of care in Washington will be discharged into safe and stable housing.