Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Welcome to Phase 2!

In my first newsletter, I shared information with you on Senate Bill 5114, which would move our state forward to phase 2 of the governor’s “Road to Recovery” plan. Since then, Senate Republicans made a motion to immediately consider this bill. Unfortunately, it failed with a 22-27 vote (two Democrats voted with us). The next day, the governor loosened guidelines to move into phase 2.

We’ve worked very hard to get to this point and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the effort. Let’s keep making progress!

Committee Update

I normally bring you updates and information on the major muscle movements within the Legislature. I’ve talked a lot about taxes and many other high visibility bills.

Today, I’d like to shift gears and share some highlights from the Senate Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation Committee, on which I’m am the lead Republican.

This committee considers issues relating to services for children and families, including child welfare, child protection, dependency, and foster care.  The committee also deals with chemical dependency, at risk youth, juvenile justice, and corrections and offender re-entry.

We’ve heard 25 bills so far and 12 passed out of committee. Below is a short synopsis of some of the bills that have passed and what the next steps are for each. You can click the link to see who sponsored the bill and how each committee member voted.

Senate Bill 5117  The Department of Corrections can currently provide rental vouchers for up to three months of rent to allow prisoners who earned early release for good behavior time to transition back into society and find permanent housing. This bill extends that assistance to six months.  It was referred to the Ways and Means Committee, as it has fiscal implications, and is pending a vote.

Senate Bill 5118 would ensure any outstanding warrants are cleared prior to release of juvenile offenders.  It was referred to the Ways and Means Committee, as it has fiscal implications, and is pending a vote.

Senate Bill 5120 would require the court to consider “youthfulness” and other mitigating factors when sentencing someone in adult court for a crime committed before age 18. It also mandates a resentencing hearing if the individual was sentenced on or before March 2, 2017, in adult court, for a crime committed under age 18. This bill has been referred to the Rules Committee.

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