Responsible Budget Top Priority


Responsible Budget Top Priority


The Legislature is in the heart of the priority bill debate portion of the session. In the first half of the session, we addressed fairly noncontroversial bills. Afternoons were spent hearing testimony from the public on all bills and constitutional amendments introduced this year.

The end of March through the month of April see debate on individual senator and committee priority bills. Each of the 49 senators get to select one bill as their priority. These bills in practice have about 30 legislative days to advance through the three rounds of consideration before passage.

The remainder of the session is spent on the two-year state budget debate. Since the previous biennial budget spent more than $7 billion of your state tax dollars, it is only appropriate that the budget receives an important portion of our time and attention.

Since the annual session is constructed this way, not every priority bill will cross the finish line before the Legislature adjourns for the year. We've seen additional hurdles due to an increasing number of filibusters.

As a small government conservative, a slower calendar with fewer bills passed is not necessarily a bad thing in my view.

Since extended debates are occurring regularly, we have passed 72 laws to date. For perspective, in 2011, we passed nearly 100 laws by this point in the session. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but you may be hearing and reading in the media that we are “behind schedule.”

As long as we pass a responsible, balanced budget and meaningful tax relief this year, we've done our job.