Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With less than a week left in the 2016 legislative session, the end is near. At this point we're spending our days – and some evenings – on the House floor discussing and passing legislation that made it through the committee process in both the House and Senate. Also, budget negotiations went on over the weekend in an effort to adjournment on Thursday as scheduled.
2016 supplemental operating budget
As I reported earlier, House Democrats passed their supplemental budget and now the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has passed their budget. Budget writers from all four caucuses are now in conference committee hashing out the differences trying to arrive at an agreement before March 10.
The conference committee process usually involves one side making an offer to the other, and vice versa. They go back and forth trying to figure out the priorities of each group. The governor and his staff weigh in from time to time. The usual end result is both sides give a little and a compromise is reached. However, we're hearing there is a rumor that perhaps they're too far apart and there will be no supplemental budget. Which wouldn't be the end of the world. It's not my preference but our state's main two-year operating budget was signed into law less than eight months ago. State government will continue to operate unimpeded.
Compromises on supplemental transportation and capital budgets are also in the works. And we're still trying to get House leadership to agree on a charter school fix. We once again tried to bring up a solution for a vote in the House Education Committee last week, but were denied. The voters approved public charter schools. We need to pass legislation allowing this vital choice for our students and parents who want to take advantage of the benefits of charter schools.
My legislative page this week was Jadyn Campisi from Colfax. Jadyn got to experience firsthand what it's like to be involved in the legislative process. Like all pages, she delivered documents around the capitol campus, attended page school and took part in a mock hearing on a bill. I'm glad Jadyn was able to take part in the page program and I trust her experience will encourage her to seek ways to impact her community in the future.
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. Let me know if you need a guest speaker for your civic organization, church group, neighborhood association or community meeting. Part of my job is reporting back to you and making sure you know what's going on in your state government. I'll do what I can to keep you engaged in the process.