By Diana Carlen
Today marks the 64th day of the legislative session. Last Wednesday, the legislature reached a milestone which was the deadline to pass bills out of the house of origin. Bills that did not pass out of the house of origin by that deadline are not eligible to move forward this year unless they are considered necessary to implement the budget. However, even bills considered “dead” for now can be revived by amending into other legislation or through rare parliamentary procedure moves.
Last Thursday, the policy committees began hearing bills from the opposite chamber. Policy bills must pass out of committee by March 29.
There will be a hearing on one of the carbon tax proposals this today (HB 1646) in the House Environment Committee. This is the bill that addresses the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy carbon tax proposal (sponsored by Rep. Fitzgibbon). There will also be a hearing on WAWG’s DNR lease termination bill (SSB 5051) tomorrow in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
An updated revenue forecast will be released on March 16. This is the final number the budget writers wait for in order to finalize their budgets. Early indicators are that the state’s revenue collections are on track to bring in an additional $300 million than what was originally projected for the next biennium. The Senate is expected to release its proposed budget within a week after the revenue forecast is released with the House to follow.