The current Legislative season is winding down. However, with a scheduled ending date of June 17, things are really gearing up.
More than 13 Legislative committees have been holding public hearings for input from the public on over 1375 bills. The public hearings are followed by work sessions to further discuss a bill, generally with no public input, unless specifically requested by the committee. Once a bill is voted out of committee, it will go to the floor of the House or Senate, depending on whether a Representative or Senator was the major bill sponsor.
Once on the floor, the reports of the committee are discussed and go “under the gavel” if a unanimous report came out of committee. In the case of a split vote from the committee level, whether in favor or opposed, the bill is further discussed in the House and Senate. It is then voted on and may be passed, defeated, or held over for the next session.
The major bill still being discussed is on jail funding, LD 186. It has gone out of the Criminal Justice Committee with a minority and majority report. At the same time, Appropriations is determining what to do with continued funding, if anything, for the next two fiscal years. There is no agreement on how to move forward, for two reasons:
1) amount of funding and 2) how to manage/ control the county jail system. If funding is not put forward for some reason, that will be disastrous to the counties. If funding should be reverted back to the taxpayers, as it was eight years ago before the Board of Corrections, that would mean huge increases to taxpayers.
This will all have to be worked out in the next four weeks and will likely be one of the last bills to be taken up by the House and Senate.
Questions? Contact Bill Whitten via email or at 871-8380.