House Dems Win Round 1

Thursday was a day filled with partisan debate over the 2 proposed amendments to HB1416. In summary, the Democratic Amendment is the proposal previous talked about that would require that funding for higher education be split out into its own fund and up for future debate and how to pay for it. The GOP Amendment (AKA Civera Amendment) proposed no tax increase but did place severe cuts to certain state agencies. After nearly 6 hours of floor debate, the House voted down the Civera Amendment. As a result, HB1416 as Amended by the Democrats will be up for final passage on the floor of the House today.

If it is passed, as it appears it will, it would be sent to the Senate for debate and vote. The Senate has a few options. They can either pass the bill as presented, add an Amendment to the Bill, or reject the bill. If it passes the Senate as presented the bill would then go to the Governor for his signature and we would have a budget in place. If the Senate decides to amend the bill it would go back to the House for another vote, and if the Senate decides to reject the Bill there would be a special committee formed of the leaders of both the House and the Senate to attempt to negotiate.

It is possible to have a Budget passed over the weekend. However, judging by what the Senate leaders have said, they will not pass anything that has the potential for tax increases. Having said that, it is my belief that the Senate will feel some public pressure to get this done because we are close to resolving this budget issue if they pass it. That is not to say that will happen, but I haven’t really heard how the Republican members of the Senate feel about this bill.

It is likely that the House will pass HB1416 on Final Passage today. It remains to be seen what will happen in the Senate as they would begin to debate the bill tomorrow. In regards to SB850, it would appear that bill is basically dead because it is very similar to the Civera Amendment that was rejected yesterday in the House. We will have to continue to monitor this situation over the weekend to see how this plays out.

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