Friday, March 30, 2012

Legislative Update - Day 59 - Recess


Time for Recess

The General Assembly completed Day 59 of 60 for the 2012 Regular Session on Friday night marking the beginning of the Veto Recess. The highlights for the 59th Legislative Day include final passage of the General Fund Budget and SB 3 the anti-meth lab legislation.

It has been several sessions since the General Assembly completed its work on the Executive Branch budget on-time during regular session. The legislature gave final passage to the budget bill this evening, 36-1 in the Senate and 81-7 in the House, sending the bill to the Governor for his consideration. The basic details of the budget are this:

- $19.3 billion budget cuts funding of most state agencies by 8.4 percent. Some areas received lesser cuts like universities at 6.4 percent cuts, and some areas like K-12 education and Medicaid were held at previous year levels.

- No pay raises for teachers or state workers and suspends for two years cost of living increases for state retirees.

- Adds $73 million to the rainy-day fund. Authorizes $390 million of bonded indebtedness, which is $577 million less than the Governor proposed.

The other issue that has dominated the politics of this session and past sessions is SB 3 dealing with restricting access to pseudoephedrine products that are used to manufacture methamphetamine. The final version of the bill decreases limits on purchase of pseudoephedrine products, but doesn't require a prescription. After much compromise between the House and Senate and between regional and partisan factions inside of each Chamber, Senate Bill 3 received final passage today.

Legislators will return on April 12 to finalize their work for the 2012 Session and consider any vetoes. The main items of unfinished business will be the Road Budget and House Bill 4 dealing with Pill Mills.

We will have more next week. 

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