By now, you've probably heard the news about the May 23rd legislative deadline that came and went this week. Minnesota Public Radio sums it up in a nutshell: "Gov. Dayton vetoed nine budget bills assuring a special session will be called to pass a two-year budget. Dayton also said there's a "strong likelihood" that a government shutdown will occur." For greater depth, read this article. While the major budget issues remain unaddressed, not everything came to a halt. Governor Dayton did sign some of the bills that the legislature passed to him. The child welfare bills we've been following most closely this session don't appear to have passed in the final hours of the legislative session. For a list of those bills signed on May 20th (none of which are directly child welfare related) follow this link to the Governor's website. On May 23rd, the Governor signed 43 bills into law, including:
- SF 742/HF 1018, which will allow the PrairieCare psychiatric child and adolescent hospital project in Maple Grove to expand from 20 beds to 50 beds. The bill exempts the expansion from laws requiring an additional public interest review to be conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health. The bill passed the Legislature with broad, bipartisan support.
- Chapter 72, HF 229/SF 76, allows juveniles certified as adults for certain criminal proceedings to be housed in secure juvenile detention facilities. It also authorizes judges to prohibit certain juvenile sex offenders from residing near their victims. The bill passed the Legislature with unanimous support.
Special Session civics lesson
If you're like me, you might be a little rusty about the way things work in a special session. Once again, the MN Budget Bites blog comes through with just the information we need! Go to http://minnesotabudgetbites.org/ to learn the rules, and get a heads up about which standard legislative "rules" are often flexed during a special session. In short, the Governor calls the special session - once sufficient ground has been covered in private negotiations. After that, the legislative body has the authority to end it, and control the process of bills, hearings and passage.
So that's how a special session works. But if it's not successful in a timely manner, what might a government shutdown look like outside the walls of the Capitol? Here is a sense of what it might mean for you as a person of Minnesota and a member of a field highly influenced by state government funding.
As Minnesota's lawmakers dig in, Kansas legislators are making policy progress with the help of youth in foster care. These foster kids demonstrated strong advocacy skills as they lobbied to pass education reforms that support youth in care to graduate from high school. You can read the article in the Kansas City newspaper here.
You may notice a change in the Child Welfare Policy Blog soon. This year, the primary writer of the blog has been Katie Haas, a graduate student at the School of Social Work and the Humphrey School of Public Policy. Hi, I'm Katie! This is my last entry - I'm leaving CASCW following graduation. Heidi Ombisa is a graduate student at the School of Social Work and a Child Welfare Scholar. Hi, Heidi! She'll take the reins, with the ongoing help of Tracy Crudo, Director of Outreach, and other CASCW staff. Thanks for joining us in this first year, and please stick around to enjoy a fresh take on the broad policy issues that impact our work in the field of Child Welfare.