If This Is the New Normal for the General Assembly, I Don’t Like It!

February 07, 2021

Just to get you all up-to-date:

  • Today was to be the day that each “money committee” reported out their amendments to the Governor’s budget to be considered by their members in the coming week leading up to the versions approved by House and Senate going to the “conference committee.”  That is a bit simplified to leave out the parliamentary gymnastics which need to happen.
  • As we described in a recent Post, they are/were running out of time as they just managed “crossover” this past Friday.  But, as expected, the Governor did call a Special Session to convene on the 10th.  Which means that this Session will end (on or before the 10th) and bills which are going to move forward will be “carried over” to the Special Session. 
  • Since they plan to use “carry over,” that will eliminate the need to “drop” all the bills again and will eliminated the need for each bill to be reconsidered by it’s chamber of origin.  It is definitely a bit of a time saver!
So today, the House followed the lead of the Senate which had announced on Friday night that they were not going to release their budget until the Special (Wednesday?); and the House Appropriations Committee voted to “carry-over” HB1800 and a number of Senate bills which had come to them since “cross-over.”  House committees are all scheduled to meet tomorrow and all have long dockets of Senate bills – likely all to be carried over without discussion.

The Senate has not posted meetings yet – whether they plan to have all committees meet or use another vehicle to accomplish the same purpose is not clear. 

So why are they doing this?  First, they ran out of time and needed a Special Session to get their work done.  Second, the longer they can “stall” on the budget, the clearer the revenue picture becomes; the clearer the revenue picture becomes, the more they know about how much they have to spend.

So, we do not have any hints on the budget today, we won’t have any meaningful action on bills until later in the week, and all the “norms” that we have come to expect seem to be gone!  I hope you did not get too much snow and your team wins the Super Bowl!