House Briefing Week of May 25, 2020
This week, the Legislature shifted focus back to regular business after working to pass the coronavirus relief bill (SB 2772) earlier this month. Before the legislative session was suspended in March, the House was just beginning to take up appropriations and other revenue bills. House Concurrent Resolution 65, which was passed on March 17, adjusted the session deadlines to conform with the extended session. Next Wednesday, June 3, is the new deadline for original floor action on House appropriations and revenue bills. After that, House committees will begin considering bills which passed through the Senate.
The House was responsible for looking at the preliminary budgets of about 50 state agencies, including the Departments of Education, Insurance, Health, Medicaid and Human Services. These bills represent half of the state’s budget; the other half is currently being considered by the Senate and will be sent to the House for consideration later in the legislative session.
Budgets include reverse repealers, a clause which ensures that a bill cannot become law before going to a conference committee for further revisions. Many appropriations bills were voted on in a block to help speed up the process.
On Wednesday, House Concurrent Resolution 69 was taken up by the House. The concurrent resolution would extend the legislative session in 30-day increments as necessary beginning July 10; Dec. 31 would be the latest possible day for sine die. This would allow the Legislature to take up coronavirus-related legislation without having to rely on a special session. HCR 69 passed the House unanimously by a vote of 116-0 and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Out of an abundance of caution, House members and staff continue to practice social distancing at the Capitol. All who enter the building must have their temperature taken by health personnel, and masks are encouraged throughout the Capitol.