The 2019-2020 Legislative Session was like no other! What started out to be a promising 2-year session, with significant interest in our community from many legislators, ended with abrupt interruptions, two separate significant delays during session, modified hearing schedules, technology challenges, and a request from legislative leadership for legislators to dramatically reduce the number of bills they planned to carry. As a result of COVID-19 many good bills never got to see the light of day. The leadership in both houses identified the top legislative priorities – COVID-19 related issues, homelessness, and wildfires – and asked legislators to focus their agendas on the identified priorities. Soon thereafter, the nationwide unrest and cries for social justice caused by the killing of George Floyd created an urgency for legislators to include police reform bills as a priority somewhat late in the session.
At the close of the legislative session on August 31, 2020, the legislature sent approximately 40% of the typical number of bills to the Governor for signature. Among the bills awaiting the Governor’s signature are several that pertain to emergency services for people with Access and Functional Needs, In-Home Support Services, Mental Health Support, Office of Emergency Planning Guidance and Tele-Communication, Health Care and Essential Workers Personal and Protective Equipment, Community Transition Programs, and several Criminal Justice and Police Reform bills that could have a positive impact for our community. We are hopeful and will continue to advocate for the Governor to sign these important measures.