Thank you for answering the call to engage yesterday and contacting your state Senator! Unfortunately, we were not successful in holding off passage of House Bill 5981. It now heads to the House for a concurrence vote. Please talk to your state Representative about why they should oppose HB 5981 even if they supported it previously.
The legislation is part of a multi-bill package prioritizing the placement of children under the care of relatives and close family friends as well as other foster care reform measures. HB 5981 is not that and it is not tie-barred to any of the other bills. It was tucked in with the package to provide cover. It is not being done because of any federal requirements, nor is it necessary because there aren’t enough qualified residential treatment programs (QRTP) in our state. HB 5981 is about one entity refusing to go through its local government process.
An amendment was adopted yesterday limiting the number of children in a QRTP to 10. This is inconsistent with existing state law that states six or fewer (for example, adult foster care facilities in residential), so the League opposed the amendment. Having a requirement of 10 individuals for some facilities and six for other licensed facilities will cause confusion and possibly unintended discrepancies in practical application.
A big thank you to Sens. Betty Jean Alexander, Jon Bumstead, Jeff Irwin, Jeremy Moss, Jim Runestad, Lana Theis, Paul Wojno, Doug Wozniak and Dale Zorn for standing strong with local government and understanding this bill is not like the others.
Jennifer Rigterink is the League’s assistant director of state and federal affairs handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues. She can be reached at email@example.com or 517-908-0305.