Legislative Report: Reconciliation Conferences [AUDIO]
With a little less than two weeks before the session ends, lawmakers still have a few big items to deal with. Amy Richards has more in Monday’s Legislative Report.
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After a much needed three-day weekend lawmakers will be back in session Tuesday. once they convene, they will appoint conference committee’s to reconcile differences in their respective supplemental budget amendments.
House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Tom Lubnau says he doesn’t think they are that far apart.
Rep. Tom Lubnau, not far apart:
“Very small differences, I don’t think you’re going to see much of a conference committee, at all, and I think a lot of the differences have already at least been discussed by the two chairmen and we know where the two camps are. It’s just allocating how local government funding is going to be distributed, either through direct distribution or capital construction.”
Both the House and Senate approved $45 million in supplemental funding to local governments. The JAC recommended $35 million and both chambers added $10 million when they worked the budget bill last week. But the House and Senate had different methods for distributing the money. Lubnau says that will be probably the biggest issue to work out in conference, but there are others as well.
Rep. Lubnau, other issues:
“Whether we take 3 million dollars from the general fund and put it into the WYDOT account to reimburse for the ethanol tax credits, and whether there’s a reduction of 3 million dollars on the Railroad Quiet Zone bill, and whether or not we keep fire equipment for the impacted community.”
Lubnau says the House workload has slowed down quite a bit.
Rep. Lubnau, workload:
“It looks like we’ll get to most all of the Senate files this time through. We don’t have as hectic of a schedule as the Senate does. Their first half was a little easier, their second half was a little harder.”
Senate Majority Floor Leader Sen. Tony Ross agrees the two chambers are not far apart on the budget.
Sen. Tony Ross, budget:
“The Senate’s a little bit less, spent less than the House, and so there will be some reconciliation there to be done in conference committee.”
Total spending in the supplemental budget is about 250 million dollars. That’s over and above the 2.9 billion dollar biennial budget approved last year.
Sen. Ross says there has been a lot of debate this session on bills dealing with social issues.
Sen. Ross, emotional issues:
“There has been some very, very emotional and heated debates on several different bills, and it takes time, and as a result, while you’re doing that, other bills die.”
Ross says the Senate is extremely busy the second half of any session because there are more House bills to consider than Senate files.
Sen. Ross, busy with House bills:
“A whole lot more bills come over from the House than Senate files that go over to the Senate at crossover, so it’s kind of the nature of the beast in terms of getting work done. And so it’s incumbent upon me now as majority floor leader to see which bills that really need to be heard.”
Ross says on top of working all of the House bills this week, the Senate will also receive a list of appointees from Gov. Matt Mead which need Senate confirmation.
With the Legislative Report, I’m Amy Richards for K2 Radio News.