Third-reading deadline in the rearview
House members this week met their third-reading deadline for measures in their chamber of origin. We spent more than 14 hours on the floor on Tuesday and a total of about 38 hours over the course of the four legislative days we were in session. We considered almost 250 bills this week.
We started the session with 1,988 House bills, joint resolutions and concurrent resolutions; 503 of those made it through the committee gauntlet; 425 of those were considered on the House floor; and 416 advanced to the state Senate.
I haven’t received the final numbers from the Senate yet, but we’ll likely receive about that many bills from that side of the Capitol to consider before our next deadline.
For those who watched any part of the floor proceedings this past week, you saw a well-oiled machine at times, passing legislation almost faster than our clerks could record it. At other times, we crawled through hours of questions and debate on controversial bills. At times, the process was messy and fraught with procedural wrangling. At a few points, we descended into downright nastiness as politics reared an ugly head. Thankfully, decorum was restored quickly.
As I’ve stated before, these deadline weeks are the most exhausting of the legislative process. They’re important. They give the authors of legislation the opportunity to explain what their measures do and the intent behind them – in essence, what problem they are trying to solve and for whom. They give other lawmakers the opportunity to get questions answered for themselves or their constituents back home. Sometimes, this process delivers good and bad political theater. We got a little bit of all of it over the course of the past week. I can’t say I’m sorry this deadline is passed.
Now, we take a brief pause while staff on both sides of the rotunda works to get legislation to the opposite chamber.
After the bills arrive in the House from the Senate, committee work will restart. We have until March 29 to consider Senate measures in our Appropriations and Budget subcommittees. We have until April 8 to pass Senate legislation out of our standing committees and until April 16 for our full A&B committee. Then we’ll have until April 22 to consider Senate bills on the House floor.
All the while, the winnowing process continues. I’m betting about 400 to 500 measures actually make it all the way through the process and get signed into law. Then we’ll have the interim as we prepare for the next session.
In the meantime, if I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 557-7327.
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