Today, the Legislature faces its final cutoff point to pass bills out of the opposite house. The clock is literally ticking toward the success or death of many remaining bills that must be voted on by 5:00 pm in order to survive.
As I write this, there are several bills waiting to be pulled out of Rules that may or may not make it. One of those bills is HB 1620. This bill directs the Military Department to develop and implement an extreme weather response grant program to assist counties with the costs of responding to community needs during periods of extremely hot or cold weather or poor air quality due to wildfire smoke. These grants would help counties defray the costs for these unpredictable, dangerous, and expensive events and assist more citizens. We are hopeful that the bill survives cutoff.
Another bill is HB 1169. This is a bill that would eliminate various sentencing enhancements and retroactively allow for courts to resentence those with multiple firearm or deadly weapons enhancements to have their sentences run concurrently rather than consecutively, among other changes. This would impact approximately 920 individuals currently incarcerated at the Department of Corrections. While the bill would save the State money, it would cost counties money to resentence these individuals. However, the State does not provide counties funding for this purpose. Hopefully, this bill fails or becomes subject to appropriation.
The remainder of the bills that have already passed out of the opposite house of origin are now subject to concurrence. Two bills to watch will be HB 1866 and HB 1412. HB 1866 is the bill that expands the Apple Health Program to the Apple Health and Homes Program to provide Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and community support services to persons who meet certain eligibility requirements. One of our concerns with the bill was whether it would be funded because it is a very lofty goal to provide PSH to all of those who would qualify. The Senate made a few changes to the bill, including making it subject to appropriation. The Senate also added a requirement that JLARC reviews the program with a report due by 2027. HB 1412 gives a court discretion if an offender does not have the current or likely future ability to pay, to not impose or waive full or partial restitution and accrued interest owed to any insurer or state agency, but for the Department of Labor and Industries for the Crime Victim’s Compensation Program. This no longer negatively impacts counties the way it did previously, which is great.
So, take a look at these bills come 5:00 pm today and see where they land.