This is the last week of the first special session, and again there is very little to report with respect to progress on the operating budget. While we won’t know until it happens, the expectation is that the Governor will call the second special session immediately after the end of the first one, and the House will come in on the 25th. It is unclear if the Senate will come in that day as well… We’ll see!
What will the House do when they come back? There are a number of bills that had come back to the House from the Senate that were then passed by the House during the first special session. The Senate did not act on them, so the bills will be sent back to the House (House Rules) and very likely brought up for a vote again. Such is the case with HB 1661, the bill establishing the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. It is possible the House will amend the bill before sending it back over, but that remains to be seen!
The hope is that agreement will be reached on the budget during the second special session, as the closer we get to June 30th, the more ‘government shutdown’ becomes a possibility. Notices have to go out to state employees, organizations that have contracts with the state have to let their staff know, folks receiving services begin to get concerned about what will happen to them, etc. No one wants this to happen, but there are still many big issues to resolve before a budget can be passed, so it is very hard to predict how it will play out. Discussions are taking place regularly with respect to K-12 funding/McCleary, and once decisions are made in that realm, decisions in other realms may move more quickly. Stay tuned!
The deadline for taking action on bills has come and gone! For the most part, bills signed into law take effect in 90 days unless a bill has an emergency clause or delayed implementation. One bill that the Governor signed this week that had an emergency clause is the distracted driving bill. The emergency clause ended up being vetoed, so the law will now go into effect in 90 days! So… If you don’t know how to use voice activation on your phone, now is a good time to start figuring it out!
If the legislature (or at least the House) is in next week and passes bills, we will update the Bill Tracker. Otherwise, we will hold off until there is something to report!
In the meantime, have a good week and keep your fingers crossed that negotiations begin!
If you have any questions or comments, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a good weekend!
Public Policy Director