I apologize this update is later in the day. It has been a busy one. Meetings continued today with all parties.
Because there was not an agreement reached today, and due to the Capitol’s closure, special session cannot be concluded until at the earliest the week of October 23.
While talks regarding revenue are ongoing, talks regarding apportionment reform and agency efficiencies have really heated up. One thing is certain, the State can only spend each dollar one time. Whether a revenue agreement is reached or not, the legislature must do its best to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. As those agreements take shape I will be including them in my updates.
Because there is no budget agreement the House will not meet in session today.
Budget negotiations continued over the weekend. Specifically the House, both Republicans and Democrats, spent a great deal of time Sunday afternoon at the Capitol. I’m sure the Senate and Governor’s office were also working. An agreement has not been reached but discussion have been encouraging.
The positive, communication between the House, Senate (both R and D) and Governor has been strong. Again all sides seem interested in making a deal. The negative, if an agreement is not reached and voted on off the House or Senate floor by Wednesday, it will be another week and a half before the crisis will be fully solved.
We are at the stage where members cannot make the perfect the enemy of the good. It is hard to express the pressure members are under from all sides. Please continue to pray for all sides, Republican and Democrat, that they will be bold and make wise decisions for the State.
Because there is still not an agreement between all parties the House and Senate will not meet “in session” today.
There are still operational details being worked out for all proposals that are being circulated. Legislating is often not as fast as I would like it to be, but when time is taken to slow down and get it right there is less of a chance of unintended consequences. Over the next couple days the House, Senate and Governor’s office are spending time looking at implementation procedures for all proposals. I am hopeful there will be a vote on Monday, but again that is not a forgone conclusion. Simply put it may not happen.
It is now becoming more evident that without compromise, there will be no solution. That means members who don’t want any form of cuts will probably have to accept some level of cuts. Members who don’t want any form of revenue will probably have to accept some level of revenue.
The Republican Caucus met yesterday for approximately four hours. It was a very productive meeting. There are many diverse opinions and there seemed to be a real willingness to find a solution.
Yesterday I also informed the Democrat Floor Leader and the Republican Caucus that everyone should be prepared to come back for floor work Monday October 9th. That gives membership in both parties plenty of advanced notice and gives leadership in both parties the opportunity to find out if any members will be absent. This does not mean there is an agreement reached, but we are close enough that I want all members to be prepared to come in to vote if there is a deal struck.
Negotiations continue today and I anticipate first drafts of legislation being circulated soon. Please continue to pray for the membership of the House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats. We all need wisdom and the courage to do what is right for this great state.