Legislative update: Special session continues

From Diana Carlen
WAWG Lobbyist

We are in the second week of the special session. The only major legislative activity last week was a hearing in the Senate on the House Democratic tax package. Senate Republicans, who oppose the taxes, nevertheless brought the tax package up for a hearing in Senate Ways and Means Committee to get House Democrats to either pass the tax plan or withdraw it from consideration in budget negotiations. The bill, however, was not brought up for a vote in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The legislators negotiating the education funding piece of the budget continue to meet, and we hear there has been progress, but nothing has been made public. Budget negotiators are focusing on the education piece of the budget at this time since it makes up 53 percent of the budget.

Yesterday, both the Senate and House were in town. Each chamber passed out bills that passed their chamber, but not the other chamber during regular session. One of those bills was the Hirst fix which deals with permit-exempt wells. Once again, the Senate passed the bill 28-18. The House has not passed a Hirst fix this year.