$40 million. That's what was initially set aside by the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) for legislators to spend on new pieces of legislation. What happened after the budget was sent to the House and Senate? Well... a lot, but one big change was the appropriation of $35 million for student safety, capital construction and training for school resource officers and other school personnel. A move that required some maneuvering on the part of the JBC to ensure the state would not be overextended.
A few balancing efforts were taken. One was to reduce the amount available for new legislation from $40 to just $10.9 million to be split between the two chambers. That left legislators scrambling this week to get their bills to the top of their chambers' priorities pack and moved to the floor.
For now it's a matter of wait, see and appeal to the appropriations committees who met for the first time after a bit of a hiatus. More than 20 bills moved in the House committee which led to a late Thursday night debating their merits on second reading. Friday morning a number of those bills - including a youth suicide prevention bill and a couple bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis - passed on third reading and will be heard in the Senate next week.
It is rumored that there are dozens of late bills still to be introduced and with only 19 full days until the end of session, we can expect to work late nights, early mornings and possibly weekends in order to continue the battles waged over bills dealing with transportation funding, alcohol sales, the state pension, financing for k-12 schools, funding institutions of higher education, health care transparency and much more.
Session Highlights Provided By: