Today, with only 4 days left in the Second Special Session of 2018, the sixth Special Session since 2016, we will finally be allowed to vote on a budget bill on the House floor.
For the first eight days of Session-a Session with the main purpose of passing a budget- I was the only member of the Legislature who had filed a budget bill (HB 26). It sat for days without a hearing in Appropriations, but instead of moving the process forward, the Chairman of Appropriations refused to have a hearing and refrained from filing his own budget bill, despite the fact that the Chairman is traditionally the author of the budget. Instead, he blamed the Governor for vetoing the budget passed during the Regular Session and threw up his hands. He wasted even more time by trying, and failing, to override the Governor’s veto-a vote that came up nearly 20 bipartisan votes short of passing. It wasn’t until I tried to force a hearing on the House Floor on Monday that the Chairman of Appropriations finally agreed to hold a hearing on my bill and filed his own budget bill-after wasting 8 days!
We don’t have time for personality politics, political theatre, the blame game or delay tactics. The budget is a moral document that speaks to our priorities. It is about the health of our citizens, educational opportunity for young people and our State’s overall safety and well-being. With $1.4 Billion of temporary taxes expiring on June 30, 2018, we are seeking to replace $648 million to fund the priorities of our State-Higher Education, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, the TOPS program and public safety. Now, with only 4 days left in the Special Session, the blame game has pushed us up against the end of Session, which is rapidly approaching at midnight on June 4, 2018.
The legislative process was designed for action. We all know the rules and understand the checks and balances that exist between branches of government. The Governor vetoed the first budget because it was irresponsible and because it would have caused great harm to our State. But the legislative process does not stop with that veto, and it is inappropriate for anyone to suggest otherwise. The Governor called this Second Special Session with the express purpose of formulating a new, more responsible budget. It is clear what our job is, now it’s just a matter of putting people over politics, addressing the fiscal cliff and passing a responsible budget.
All of this can and should be done by the end of this Session. There is absolutely no reason to force a 3rd Special Session, and I will fight to make sure we avoid it and the unnecessary, extra cost to taxpayers. Join me and encourage Legislators to fix the cliff and pass a responsible budget.
Watch the video timeline below to gain further insight into the struggle to prevent a 3rd Special Session and force the Legislature to do its job!
- First, I make a motion to discharge the Appropriations Committee to move my budget bill, HB 26, to the House Floor to start the Budget Process.
2. Second, Rep. Henry, the Chairman of Appropriations, argues incorrectly that my bill is unconstitutional. He also argues that we should override the Governor’s veto and then fails to pass his motion.
3. The Chairman finally relents under enormous pressure and agrees to hold a hearing for my budget bill the following day.
4. The Chairman pushes back the hearing on my budget bill and stalls the process even longer, wasting another legislative day in the process, pushing us ever closer to a 3rd Special Session.
5. My bill is finally passed out of the Appropriations committee, but only after the Chairman requested that the budget vote be further delayed until today.