Overview / Major Events
This will be an abbreviated report this week as Session has drug into a second week of overtime and little has changed since last week. That said, the LS2group lobby team has been a constant presence at the Capitol and will be likely working well through today.
Tax Deal Reached (but no language yet available)
It has been confirmed that House and Senate leaders, as well as the Governor’s office, have reached agreement on the framework of a tax reform package. It is not currently available in bill form (nor has anyone released a summary document), but here is what I believe may be included (this is not an exhaustive list):
I do not expect to see anything until Monday. If I were leading the respective caucuses, I would time the process to release the language, immediately go to caucus, then right to the floor. If the language is public prior to this weekend, it will give the lobby a whole weekend to work against those portions they don’t like (and I suspect the leaders would like to avoid giving us lobbyists that opportunity).
State Budget Work Begins
On Wednesday the House approved two of the 10 budget bills necessary to close the 2018 Session with the passage of Agriculture and Natural Resources appropriations and Transportation appropriations. The Senate spent much of Thursday in Appropriations Committee for the purpose of bringing a number of budget bills out of committee and ready for floor debate.
It is believed the House and Senate have agreed to at least half of the budgets already, so those should be able to move through the process fairly quickly. Differences on the remainder, and a few big policy issues yet unresolved, are what will be the real test next week. Watch for the General Assembly to make a run for adjournment next week, with May 4 or May 5 being likely end dates.