With only three weeks left in the regular session, things at the Capitol are at a breakneck pace. We have a lot of deadlines coming up, so I wanted to take the time to lay them all out and explain their effects on legislation.
Today (Monday) is the last day House committees can vote on bills that originated in the House. If a House bill hasn’t made it out of committee today, it will not be placed on a general calendar*, and it no longer has a chance of being passed out of the House.
Thursday is the last day for the House to hear the second readings of bills on the General Calendar. Every bill has to be read three times, and the second reading is when most of the debate occurs and amendments are proposed. If a House bill hasn’t been read for a second time and voted on by Thursday at midnight, it can no longer be voted out of the House.
All of these deadlines mean that the calendars for each day this week are likely to be over 100 bills long. It also means that we aren’t likely to get to every bill on the calendar, because if we don’t finish all of the bills on one day, they get pushed off to the next day, and the calendar gets backlogged. Because of this, there may be many bills on the general calendar that will die when the clock runs out on Thursday
The regular legislative session doesn’t actually end until June 1, but these House deadlines are in place so that we can spend the next two weeks voting on Senate bills. This is to ensure that bills are heard in both chambers, so that they can be sent to the Governor to be signed into law. For a bill to become law, it has to pass both the House and Senate, so the chambers spend the last two weeks of session focusing on each other’s bills.
As you can tell, this week is going to be a bit of a madhouse as everyone rushes to get their legislation passed. Next week, after the dust has settled, we’ll let you know how it all turned out.
It is an honor to serve as your State Representative.
May God bless you and your family,
… this is an excerpt from Representative James Frank’s Newsletter dated May 11, 2015