The budget conferees have been announced, & the conference process is set to begin.
The Senate conferees: Norment, Hanger*, Newman, Wagner, Ruff, Howell*, Saslaw
The House conferees: Jones, Landes*, Cox, O’Bannon*, Greason, Torian
* likely to be conferees for the Health & Human Resources (HHR) budget
See below for advocacy strategies (emails & calls) that we’ll want directed toward the conferees for the next two weeks.
The Short Story: We’re still in the game, but we have a long way to go…
We’re now past Crossover, and the Senate and House have each released their versions of the budget bill. They’ll likely vote on these versions of the budget (which will have some differences) this week, and send the budget into the conference process, when a few members from each chamber will negotiate the final budget. I wanted to give you all an update on where we are on Fostering Futures heading into crossover (find the recent legislative history of the program here):
Over the next two weeks, the House and Senate budget conferees will be negotiating the final budget bill, which the legislature will vote on and send to Gov. McAuliffe for amendments and eventual signature. The Senate and House budget conferees should be named in the next few days, with two members from each chamber “assigned” to the Health & Human Resources portion of the budget. Here’s how you can help:
Most critical: for the next two weeks, we need to encourage the Senate and House HHR budget conferees to include the funding for Fostering Futures in the final budget bill. Until we know who the budget conferees are, so we can advocate with them specifically (we will update this post at that time), here are some ways to help:
You can still send a personal email to/call the office of HHR subcommittee members:
You can find a “strategy sheet” with the committee members and their contact information here. Focus on the Finance & Appropriations HHR subcommittee members, along with Delegates Kirk Cox and Chris Jones.
You can find a template for an email or phone call here (but please remember to personalize your message and use the tips below).
You can also (politely) use social media to encourage these members to support Fostering Futures. Suggestions here.
SB 436 (Favola): This version of the Fostering Futures bill (which supports the funding Gov. McAuliffe included in his introduced budget) has successfully made its way through both the Senate and is now parked in the House Appropriations Health & Human Resources subcommittee. As I’ve mentioned in the past, while having this bill pass is ideal, we are mainly focused on keeping the funding in the final budget bill. The House may not hear the bill until the end of session, as they’ll be considering the funding piece up until that point. We’ll keep you posted on any opportunities to testify on the bill, and how it’s progressing.
HB 203 (Lingamfelter, Peace, Toscano): the fate of the House version of Fostering Futures is not as positive. The bill was left in the House Appropriations Health & Human Resources subcommittee, which means it effectively died.
But even though the House left this bill in committee, that’s not necessarily a final result in the House: the House budget conferees could still agree to restore the funding for the program during the final budget negotiations, and include the bill language in the budget bill, which has the force of law for its two-year existence.
Next steps: we’ll announce the budget conferees once they are named, and update you on more advocacy opportunities at that point.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions! Email Amy Woolard (email@example.com).Read More Blog Posts