There is a good deal of tension in Salem at present. We’re fast approaching the deadline for decisions on policy bills in the House and the Senate. Bills must pass out of committee over the next two weeks in order to be sent to the floor for a vote, and then sent on to the other chamber to go through the committee process all over again.
It is very rare for a bill to remain unchanged from the time it is introduced to the time it emerges from the full process. And it is very common for bills to be worked on not just for the first two months of a session, but often for years, and then fall short of support when one of the deadlines hit.
Perseverance is essential. Sen. Alan Bates has been working for well over a dozen years to reach the level of changes now happening in health care in our state. I’ve been working since 2007 to expand treatment for children with autism. In 2011, I finally had the votes I needed, but could not find funding to pay for the expansion.
So it could be perseverance, or it could just be flat out stubbornness, but Bates and I are working on the autism issue again this year. We’re making it past the first deadline. I’m cautiously optimistic. We will need some help on the budget front, but we’re in the mix.