The session is over, and there is not a lot to cheer about... well except for it being over.
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And with that, they finished the session on day 77 – only three days short of the legal limit. This last week was all about negotiating budgets and lots of gamesmanship.
As we do after every session, we’ll be compiling a voting record and getting that out to you in the very near future.
This session was one of very limited success. The direst needs to the state will likely remain unmet. We know that behavioral health needs will continue underfunded and understaffed with just minor band aids to contain the bleeding. Homeless grants are “discretionary” in the Department of Commerce budget. Higher Education came away with drastic cuts as well. And, once again, the fight over health care for public employees was an end game fight.
There were glimmer of hopes, such as another 2 year extension of Medicaid expansion, some funds still remaining for victim services, and a revival of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.
There were some bad ideas that were defeated, but just barely, likely drug testing poor people or legalizing vehicular homicide of pedestrians. And remember the bill allowing the use deadly force on a fleeing offender of mischief?
So many good policy options that would have helped women and families were quickly defeated, such as in increase in minimum wage, child care tax breaks, and improving the state’s human rights and marriage laws. These missed opportunities are not acceptable and we must be vocal to bring them to fruition in 2019.
These frustrations should not remain unspoken. We hope you take your knowledge about the outcomes we shared over the course of the session and speak up about them.
Stay involved and support our work to keep shining a light on the need for action.