Statehouse Progress: Not So Fast

Any illusion (or perhaps delusion is more apt) of this special session going smoothly and ending quickly are pretty much history.
Not only don’t we have a behind-the-scenes deal from House Democrats and Republicans to put forth a state budget to the Senate in a timely manner, but day one of the special session showcased partisanship and maneuverings that will likely push the proceedings right up to the June 30 deadline.
The House Democrats introduced their own one-year budget via House Bill 1001, which is in line with their approach for the regular session and in contrast to the governor’s traditional two-year plan announced last week.
From virtually the start of the proceedings on Thursday, the two parties were at odds. Minority Leader Brian Bosma appeared blindsided that two additional measures – House Bill 1002 (aiding the Capital Improvement Board) and House Bill 1003 (involving public assistance) – were coming into play instead of focusing strictly on the budget. Time was also taken up by Republican concerns that gaming provisions would find their way into the bills.
As testimony surrounding House Bill 1001 begins today in the Ways and Means Committee (9 a.m.), amendments to the measure are already in the works. And that’s before the Senate gets its hands on it. So things are shaping up nicely to mirror the back and forth that led to no budget at all in April. Will someone blink this time? You would like to think so – especially since each day of the special session means taxpayer dollars are being spent for something that should have been done right the first time!
The full House reconvenes on Monday; when the Senate comes back is anyone’s guess as they are at the mercy of the House actually moving the bill. That leaves a little over two weeks to straighten out this entire budget mess.
Wonder what the over/under is on hitting June 30? On second thought … let’s not even think about it.