Legislative Days 36-38
March 22, 2021, to March 25, 2021
This week was quite something. Things started off with threats against legislators over election reformation bills that have passed. The Speaker and Lt. Governor wrote letters about the increase in violence and homicides over the last week, with many legislators speaking out for the victims. Multiple Ethics special orders against derogatory language and misconduct investigations against legislators were addressed and reprimanded. Many Election reformation and Law enforcement bills are being introduced at the local government level to be passed through the streamlined process to set precedent for future bills next session. Those bills were scrutinized on the floors of both chambers. All of this and more have occurred while we get within one week of Sine Die next Wednesday.
The 2022 Fiscal Year Budget (H.B. 81) passed the Senate with a substitute that the House subsequently disagreed with. The Senate insisted upon the substitute, and there was a Conference Committee appointed in both chambers to meet and discuss the bill. The next day the Conference Committees met. During the meeting, they spent most of the time passing condolences on each legislative body involved since they only disagreed on a minimal amount of the bill. The conference agreed that most differences were directed at the education budget, which the House did not include in their passage that the Senate did. Both bodies agreed to the inclusions set out for the education budget additions, and the 2022 Fiscal Year Budget will go to both the House and Senate floors for a final vote. If you are interested in the differences, the Conference Committee decided on you can view the details here.
The atmosphere in the House and Senate Chambers on Day 38 reminded me a lot of Crossover day. Both chambers went very late in the day as they worked to pass their respective bills in the opposite chamber. It was interesting to see how certain bills would be substituted and the other chamber needed to agree or disagree to the changes. I was able to see multiple bills be used as “vehicles” to pass bills that did not make it through the committee or floor vote prior to crossover. These bills would get added to bills that did pass – so long as the subject matter was somewhat (and sometimes only barely) related, brought to the floor, and passed, otherwise known as “vehicles” being used. These vehicles would have bills attached to them that did not make it through the bill process but were priority enough to be included so they could be passed. Hopefully, the many bills that have passed on Day 38 this week will help alleviate the burden of Sine Die.
EVP, Chief of Staff, Government & Regulatory Relations