The week started with the Senate debating a resolution to expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulfur Springs) on Monday night. This is something Democrats had been asking for since early this session. The resolution did not pass, but the timing right before the senate heard the long appropriations bill (the long bill) set a partisan tone that carried the chamber through their most difficult tasks - passing a budget.
Last week, the House worked on their adjustments to the budget passed by the bipartisan Joint Budget Committee (JBC). The bill travelled to the second chamber, all House amendments to the bill were stripped off in a traditional move, and Senators started debating a clean version of HB18-1322.
The differences between the House and Senate version of the long bill were not that significant. Both plans call for $495 million to be added for transportation projects, $225 million to stabilize the state pension's unfunded liability, and a $150 million boost to annual K-12 school funding. Both budgets also earmark $35 million for school security grants.
The Senate set aside more funding for affordable housing grants - $5 million - and reinstated $750,000 for the Governor's Office of Economic Development's film incentive program.
In the House this week, members were busy working to pass a number of bills that had fiscal impacts. These had been intentionally held until after the budget passed. In order to keep the legislature from overspending, the JBC has built in $20 million for each chamber to spend on new bills. Over the next few days we can expect a lot of bills in the Senate with fiscal notes to start moving, but do not make a mistake in thinking that these are the final few. There only 4 full weeks of session left and the rumor is that the House has a 125 bills still waiting for introduction and there are a number of Senate bills still waiting to be introduced.
A long month lies ahead, but it can only go one week and one bill at a time. Until next week!
Session Highlights Provided By: