The Legislature is now 30 days from its constitutional sine die, with intent by leadership to end the session by June 21. The desire for quickened pace to move sizable policy bills has lead to a political tug of war across the aisle with a variety of procedural speed up and slow down tactics from both parties.
Policy committee deadlines set by leadership have passed for both chambers. Remaining bills poised to move are nearly exclusively in the joint committee on ways and means and the House and Senate committees on rules. House and Senate finance and revenue and other joint committees are still open, but the work will be done in ways and means or rules.
Ways and means subcommittees, with the exception of capital construction are scheduled to be shut down the first week of June, leaving all major budgets and remaining policy to be moved through the one remaining subcommittee and the full committee before final consideration on House and Senate floors.
Priority issues including PERS, the education spending package, and Medicaid funding sailed through the process in the last few months, while other top issues have experienced a slow down. Cap and trade, diesel regulations, some budgets, and paid family leave discussions are still slowly percolating as end game negotiations occur.
Earlier in the session, Senate Republicans used a slowdown tactic of denying quorum. In a super minority, this is one of the few procedural options at hand to the process. Until Wednesday, House Republicans used one of their only slowdown tactics of reading bills aloud, which left a likely record number of bills backlogged on the House floor.
In order to clear the backlog of bills, leadership announced it will be holding floor sessions on Saturdays. Leadership also activated a tool to move legislation more expediently, cutting back time for review by invoking one-hour notice.
AOC Interim Executive Director, Mike Eliason commented, “this stage of the legislative process is really a ‘hurry up and wait’ phase. Many bills critical to counties are in the joint committee on ways and means awaiting final budgetary deliberation as to whether or not and how they get funded. AOC policy staff are working with legislators to continue to advocate for our session priorities, and have done a tremendous job advancing policy across the finish line.”
Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate