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Legislative Update: Human Services Omnibus Policy Bills Released and Spending Targets Set

By Sara Grafstrom posted 29 days ago

  

Last week marked the first and second committee deadlines in the legislature. This means that policy-only bills must be passed out of all appropriate policy committees to be considered further in the session. This includes policy omnibus bills, which were released and passed out of committee this past week. Bills that have a fiscal impact have until the third committee deadline to move out of committee, which is set for April 19th.

For ARRM, we had a final hearing for our city licensing bill in the Senate State and Local Government and testified in support of the Human Services omnibus policy bills which contained some of our priorities.

This last week also saw leaders from the House and Senate, along with the Governor’s office set spending targets. The Human Services spending target is set at $42 million for Fiscal Year 24/25 and $15 million for Fiscal Year 26/27. This spending target is the second highest of any committee, slightly under the K-12 Education target.

Below, please find an overview of what is included in the House and Senate Human Services Omnibus bills, as well as a recap of hearings from last week that are of interest to ARRM members.

ARRM Priorities included in the House Human Services Omnibus Bill:

·       City Licensing Legislation: Exempting 245D and 144G assisted living homes from city rental licensing requirements.

·       245D Changes: Making changes to the Designated Coordinator and Designated Manager job qualifications as well as removing the restriction on 16 and 17-year-olds from passing medications.

·       Section 1 of our technology proposal that creates a 30-business-day timeline for the approval or denial of assistive technology and prohibits lead agencies from establishing requirements for approval outside of what is required by the state.

·       Out of Home Respite for Children allowed in an unlicensed setting.

o   Note: This language will likely have a cost and will be removed from the policy bill and will need to be included in a spending bill to move forward this session.

ARRM Priorities included in the Senate Human Services Omnibus Bill:

·       City Licensing Legislation: Exempting 245D and 144G assisted living homes from city rental licensing requirements.

·       245D Changes: Making changes to the Designated Coordinator and Designated Manager job qualifications as well as removing the restriction on 16 and 17-year-olds from passing medications.

·       Section 1 of our technology proposal that creates a 30 business-day timeline for the approval or denial of assistive technology and prohibits lead agencies from establishing requirements for approval outside of what is required by the state.

The next step for these two bills is passage of the House and Senate floors before they move to a Conference Committee to work out the differences in the bills. Along with submitting this written letter of support, ARRM testified in person in the House in support of the bill and submitted this written letter of support in the Senate.

What’s happening with the remaining ARRM Priorities?

ARRM priorities that are not included in the omnibus policy bills have been flagged as having a cost, for those bills to move forward this session they will have to be funded and included in an omnibus spending bill. As of right now, all of ARRM’s legislative priorities, except for the Best Life Alliance rate increase legislation, have received a hearing in either the House or Senate committee and have been laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.

Senate holds hearing on Waiver ReImagine

On Monday, the Senate Human Services Committee held a hearing to get an update and discuss concerns with the progress of Waiver ReImagine. DHS provided an overview of the intent of Waiver ReImagine, along with information answering frequently asked questions or misconceptions. Following the overview, many parents of individuals with disabilities who are living independently or with family testified to their concerns with the direction of Waiver ReImagine, specifically, the individual budget methodologies that are being proposed.  You can watch the full hearing here. The first part of the hearing is a walkthrough of the Human Services policy omnibus bill, the second part is the Waiver ReImagine discussion.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to this week, the legislature will be on break beginning on Wednesday, March 27th at 5:00 pm until Tuesday, April 2nd at noon. Upon return, they will only have two and half weeks until the third committee deadline, we can expect another busy couple of weeks of hearings.

Please reach out with any questions.

--Sara Grafstrom, Senior Director of State and Federal Policy

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