Time is getting shorter and deadlines loom over the legislature. The legislative days last week were days 73 to 78 and the constitutionally allowed number of days in session is 90. The past two sessions have done sine die before the allowed time and I believe this will be the same situation.
HB 2, the major part of your tax dollars used to run the State government, has passed the Senate and is in the possession of the House. The Senate did add a few amendments to the version we sent to them so we will either have to concur with them or go to a free conference committee. The latter is not the preferred way to accomplish the required work since it would open HB 2 to many changes, not all of which would be good.
One of the things that must be cleaned up before HB 2 is complete is how to fund around twenty bills that have had a hearing but have no appropriation. Some of these bills are just finishing the process and if they pass will need a vehicle to fund them. This year the process is a little different in that all the bills have been listed individually in one big bill for transparency. Each amendment was given the same hearing as a bill in Approps. The final bill will be worked out in a conference committee but not the one that would open HB 2. Confusing? Just ask anyone on the House floor that wasn’t involved with the process. It will all work out just fine, it’s just a different way to get to the same place.
Medicaid is still out there somewhere in the space called the Senate. Two votes to take it off the table have failed but I’m confident it will eventually come out. Votes on the Senate floor will be close but it is of such importance if it isn’t passed it could bring us back for a special session-which no one wants. Governor Bullock really wants it even if it isn’t the bill he had proposed.
The other bill that is still alive is the infrastructure bill. It seems to be on life support at the present time but stranger things have happened so maybe it will make the finish line. It too is a new way of doing the job and has taken some explaining. More on the bill when I know it.
Easter break is coming at the end of next week and I expect to be home for a few days. If you see me and want to talk, please feel free to stop me. It is an honor to serve you in the legislature.