First legislative deadline arrives
Both the Senate and Assembly labored through two floor sessions Monday as the first major deadline of the 2007 Legislature arrived.
Monday was the last day individual lawmakers could introduce their legislative proposals. That meant 127 bills introduced Monday in the Senate and 74 in the Assembly, where the day’s total was reduced by the fact that house had 38 introductions last Friday.
The deadlines were created after lawmakers pushed through a constitutional amendment limiting the legislative sessions to 120 days and declaring anything approved after that void. The next major deadline will be for committee bill introductions.
But the most critical deadlines are the April deadlines for committee passage and passage of legislation out of the house where it originated. Bills that don’t make it through those hoops are considered dead.
Then the process, including deadlines, is recreated as legislation goes through the second house and, again, critical steps include the May deadline for committee passage and the deadline 10 days before the end of session for legislation to receive approval by the second house.
That deadline is designed to clear the way for conference committees to resolve differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of bills and to get most other issues out of the way so the money committees can finalize the state budget.
Bills with a significant fiscal impact are exempt from the deadlines imposed on other legislation because of their effect on state finances. They are typically passed out of committee in the final 10 days of session when the bills that create and authorize the budget are brought to the floor.
Under a newly approved constitutional provision, the budget bill funding public schools must be approved before any other budget measures for the coming two-year budget cycle.
In addition, leadership at both ends of the building can exempt specific pieces of legislation from the deadlines.
Following Monday’s floor sessions, there were 432 pieces of legislation being considered in the Senate and 481 in the Assembly.
Deadlines of the 2007 Legislature
March 27 – introduction of committee bills
April 3 – money committees begin closing budgets
April 13 – committee action in the house of origin
April 24 – passage by the house of origin
May 4 – money committees begin resolving budget differences
May 18 – committee passage by the second house
May 25 – passage by the second house
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.