The 2013 legislative session must end six weeks from Monday. We are now entering the final phase of this budget setting session. The last phase begins with the major finance committee piecing their omnibus budget bills together. Most policy reforms will be carried in these bills as well. That is especially true in education where major reforms in assessments, teacher licensure and other areas will travel to conference committee as one large package.
In the Senate
On Monday afternoon, the Senate E-12 committee is going to meet and go through a verbal walk through of Chairman Wiger’s omnibus bill. We don’t expect to have any detail outlined on paper, let alone spreadsheets detail revenue runs at that time. Chairman Wiger will unveil the “paper” Tuesday morning and walk through the proposal at that time. He plans to recess until Tuesday night when they will “mark-up” the bill and committee members can offer amendments. Chairman Wiger said he plans to pass the bill out of his committee Tuesday night.
In the House
Chairman Marquart plans to post his omnibus bill on the committee’s website Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, he and staff will walk through the bill and take questions and discussion from committee members. The committee will take public testimony on the bill as proposed on Thursday morning. The House Education Finance committee will then go through their mark-up process and pass the bill on Friday.
In both the House and Senate, the omnibus education bill needs to make a stop in the Tax committee to review any changes to school levies.
The next stop for the Senate bill is the Finance committee and in the House its Ways & Means where the bill is reviewed to make sure the revenue pieces fit within the budget targets given by leadership. The last day for this is April 19, but MREA anticipates the education bills clearing the way to their respective floors before then.
MREA expects the House and Senate to move into lengthy floor sessions for debate and passage of the omnibus bills the week of April 22. After that, it’s conference committee time and negotiations between legislative leaders and the administration to come up with a global agreement on the budget which allows the conference committees to wrap up their work. That work must be done by May 20th.