Legislature Returns from Break

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The legislature returned to business today after their Passover/Easter break. They named conference committee members to the various budget and tax bills. Those conference committees will begin meeting this week. With five weeks left the legislature and Governor are miles apart on tax, spending and policy priorities.

E-12 Conferees:
House Reps: Jennifer Loon, Sondra Erickson, Peggy Bennett, Ron Kresha, Mary Murphy
Senators: Carla Nelson, Eric Pratt, Justin Eichorn, Bill Weber, Chuck Wiger

The E-12 conference committee meets for the first time tomorrow at 11:30am in room 200 State Office Building. They will walk through the “side-by-sides” which are comparison documents between the House and Senate bills. This is a perfunctory exercise before any substantial discussion, negotiation and action takes place.

Here’s a link if you would like to peruse the side-by-sides.

Hopefully your efforts last week to continue pushing our regional and multitype system support legislature will pay off. It’s unclear exactly how the conference committee process will proceed. We’ve heard the GOP majorities will work quickly to put conference committee reports on the Governor’s desk to see what he’ll do with them. We’ve also heard they will leave the conference committees open for negotiations with the Governor and use the time remaining until the May 22rd prescribed adjournment date.

We do know the Governor has many problems with the bills as they currently stand. Here’s a link to 55 letters the Administration sent the legislature outlining their issues and concerns with the bills (scroll to page 82 for E-12):

The Higher Education conference committee was also appointed. Those conferees are:
Senators Michelle Fischbach, Rich Draheim, Paul Anderson, Scott Jensen, Greg Clausen

House Reps. Bud Nornes, Drew Christensen, Brian Daniels, Abigail Whelen, Ilhan Ohmar

Legacy Bill

The Legacy bill is still making its way through the Senate process. It will clear the full Senate Finance committee tomorrow morning and them onto a Senate floor debate and passage before getting to a conference committee with the House.

Bonding Bill

A bonding bill is still part of the discussion, but is on hold until House leadership gives the Capital Investment committee the green light to produce one.

Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates