Marli Wiese’s Legislative Report

The 2017 legislative session has ended and there were some things accomplished that should be of interest to our district.  The appropriations process is complex and I was fortunate to have some house and senate members help bring me somewhat up to speed on how state government funds all programs.
A balanced budget was achieved by making some spending cuts to allow for a 0.3 percent raise to teachers’ salaries and healthcare workers.  This consumed the final days of the season and was a great learning experience for me.
IM22 bills were passed after the repeal of the initiated measure approved by voters last fall.  Laws are now on the books that deal IM22 such as restrictings gift from lobbyists, providing protections for public employee whistleblowers, and provisions for a state government accountability board.  There will be further study and recommendations brought forward to the 2018 legislature on campaign finance and possibly some other aspects of the repealed law.
The governor has signed into law the protections for faith-based and child placement agencies.  The law provides for more options for adoption and foster care.  Amendments were made to the bill before passage that required a child placement agency to have in place a written policy, statement of faith or other document adhered to by the child placement agency.  The agency is further required to provide in writing information advising an applicant of the Department of Social Services website and a list of licensed child placement agencies with contact information.
I am grateful for the support I have received from many of you and look forward to your comments and suggestions for the next legislative year.

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