Legislative Update 4.18.2019
The Governor's Office provided his supplemental budget amendment to the Finance Committees this week. The stated legislative goal is to vote on the state budget next week, leaving the following week to finalize any remaining legislation working through committees as well as bills placed "behind the budget" that are awaiting a determination of whether there are state funds available to pay for them. With procedural rules and notice requirements waived, some bills are traveling rapidly through their committee hurdles and getting to the floor in a matter of days.
Battles over Governor Lee's two main education initiatives have taken center stage this week. The legislature passed an amended version of Governor Lee's charter authorizer proposal on Thursday. A floor fight is expected next Tuesday in the House over the more controversial Education Savings Account proposal. The bill is slated for consideration in Senate Finance the same day where several committee members of both parties have publicly expressed their opposition.
With most committees now closed for the year, bills that are not at least to the finance committees (the last ones to close), most likely will not be considered until next year.
Legislative Update 4.12.2019
Several major developments are expected next week as the legislature moves toward adjournment sometime in early May. The Governor plans to present his supplemental budget amendment to the finance committees next week. His original proposed budget offered the first week of March will be updated with this amendment to reflect new revenue projections and the impact on the state budget of legislation passing this year. The goal is for the General Assembly to pass the budget by the last week of April. This would set things up for an adjournment at the start of May. In fact, House Majority Leader William Lamberth announced May 1 as the target date on the floor of the House in session yesterday.
To help achieve that goal, the House is expected to adopt something called the "flow motion" on Monday. This is a procedural move that suspends several of the House rules, particularly those related to notice and time requirements before a bill can move through different steps at the legislature. In some cases, if the legislature is close to passing a budget, they will stay over extra days that week to make sure an agreement holds together and they push the budget across the finish line. If they stick with a goal to pass the budget the fourth week of April, that won't be an option as Nashville is expected to be inundated with NFL fans arriving for the 2019 draft that starts Thursday of that week. Also, that weekend is the Music City Marathon and there is a possibility of a Stanley Cup playoff game. In other words, don't plan to drive through Nashville that weekend if you don't have to!