Senate and House both included positive and expected public health investments. Most pressing for local health jurisdictions was to ensure that the Department of Health’s COVID-19 decision package asks were included. Both chambers funded this ask at over $200 million – the House included nearly $300 million from the state general fund to maintain local and state public health response, including testing and vaccination efforts. The Senate funded this work at $256 million from Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund (State). This budget item will be critical in the coming months as the state has been notified that FEMA reimbursements for current work is expected to end in the spring – even though pandemic work continues. It will also ensure that local response work is funded through state and federal resources to keep local revenue dedicated to other public health activities.

Both budgets also included additional public health items; funding to maintain a state secure drug-take back program and funding to implement youth suicide prevention intervention strategies. Additionally, each budget had other investments. The House provided funding for increasing food security programs, implementing HB 1739 to reduce hospital-acquired infections, and $15 million toward tobacco and vaping prevention programs. In turn, the Senate has added additional investment into family planning services and access to reproductive health.

After the House of origin cut off – several house bills sailed through their Senate hearings and are ready for when attention is turned to floor action.

  • HB 1074 – which had its only hearing this year in the Senate Behavioral Health subcommittee, was voted out unanimously.
  • HB 1739 and HB 1893 were heard and quickly voted out of their committees. Given the small fiscal notes, both were able to sidestep an additional hearing in Ways and Means
  • HB 1684 – was scheduled for a hearing in Environment, Energy, and Technology but was pulled after the Committee Chair heard from opponents. The bill was still funded in the House budget, so the bill’s intent is likely to be passed through the Supplemental Budget.