Less than three weeks until the legislature has to adjoin, but there are huge distances to cover. The Governor called for the Senate and the House to put forth a single budget bill by May 6th, but that deadline was not reached. Budget conference committees continued to meet this week in an effort to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills.
From MPR's Tom Scheck:
"Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said Dayton's proposed tax hike is unacceptable. She said Dayton should start talking with House and Senate conference committees now.
'Those conference committees will be concluding their work as soon as we can, but we really want to see engagement and agreement with the governor because we don't like the idea of sending those up for a veto,' Koch said. 'We want to get a signature on them.'"
The Budget Bites blog provides in-depth analysis of the impacts of budget proposals. As I mentioned earlier in the week, they wrote about how children's mental health services would feel the impact of a cuts-only, no new revenue approach to resolving the budget deficit. For that analysis, and many other helpful posts, visit http://minnesotabudgetbites.org/
An explanation: It has been quite difficult to find up-to-date information on the legislature's website. This is probably a reflection of how overwhelmed the legislative staff are at this point in the session. What it means for CASCW is that we are turning more to the updates of our peers who are present, more often than we are, at the Capitol. So please excuse of shameless borrowing from others - they provide great coverage of a broad range of social service issues, and we're glad to be able to pull the child welfare information together for you here.
Another helpful source of updates on human service-related issues is the MN Social Service Association. In their most recent email update, they provide this glimpse into the recent work of the Health & Human Services conference committee, which focused primarily on health care. "At this point, no formal action has been taken on any positions in the Senate and House HHS budget bills."
Audio, video, and status updates have not yet been posted to the legislature's website, though there was a meeting of the conference committee on Friday morning, May 6th.
Regarding social work licensure requirements, the MSSA update also wrote:
"in the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee, an amendment was posted that reflected that Representative Abeler planned to take the contents of HF1191 (social worker licensure for certain public agency staff) and add it to a DHS licensing bill before the committee. After hearing the concerns from MSSA and county representatives, he ultimately agreed to modify his amendment by taking out the licensure requirements for county employees. What remains is the requirement that certain city and state agency staff be licensed. There has been no Senate action on this issue at the time of this writing."