Washington Legislative Update February 21, 2018

With 15 days left in the session, attentions turns to the budget and a narrowing set of bills. Read below about the proposed budget by the House Democrats and the final passage of the Breakfast after the Bell bill.

House Democrats Supplemental Budget Released
The House Democratic Caucus proposed its version of the 2018 supplemental budget, HB 2299 yesterday. The proposal includes an eight percent increase for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant beginning fiscal year 2019 which will raise the maximum TANF grant for a family of four to $678 per month. The budget also retains Governor Inslee's recommendation for $2.3 million to allow 275 more families to be part of the Home Visiting program. The proposed budget also provides funding to support HB 1831 which raises the asset limit for public assistance eligibility.  Under HB 1831, one vehicle, up to $10,000 in value, and all other resources up to $6,000 are exempt for program applicants. Currently, the asset limit is $1,000 of liquidable assets and a vehicle exclusion of no more than $5,000. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to pass the bill today.

Breakfast After the Bell Heads to the Governor
Yesterday, the House completed final passage of HB 1508  by concurring with Senate amendments. The bill, which requires qualifying high-needs schools, beginning in the 2019-20 school year and until June 30, 2028, to offer breakfast after the bell (BAB) programs to students after the beginning of the school day, goes to the Governor for signing.  High needs schools are those that have an enrollment of 70 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced price meals. Stay tuned for details on the Governor's bill signing ceremony.

Every Day Counts for Remainder of 2018 Legislative Session
Session ends in 15 days and deadlines before then will decide the fate of most bills. The next deadline is Friday when bills must be out of committee (except for fiscal bills which have a deadline of Monday, Feb.26. You can track bills that support the United Ways - Washington state agenda on our legislative tracking page.

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