May 6, 2024 Article

Last days of 131st legislature

The Legislature will reconvene on Friday, May 10th to take action on the six vetoes issued by the Governor since the Legislature adjourned on April 14th. The vetoes and related messages are listed and linked below. None of the vetoes are expected to be overturned. Even though, LD 1231, which raises the income taxes of those in the highest tax bracket, is a Republican bill, none of these bills is supported by enough Republicans to get a two-thirds vote to overturn the vetoes in either chamber.

The Appropriations Committee will reconvene tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, May 7, to consider taking actions on bills still remaining on the Special Appropriations Table. There is about $11.4 million available to be allocated to the 223 bills on the table. The cost of funding all the bills in this fiscal year, ending June 30th, is over $1.3 billion, and in fiscal year 24/25 is over $784 million.

Those who are working to get bills “off the table” and enacted will seek ways to reduce or eliminate the fiscal impact of the legislation. This can be done by changes in the effective date of the bill so as not to impact this biennium, possibly finding sources of funding in existing OSR, “Other Special Revenue” funds, or removing language which causes the fiscal impact.

All bills supported in the committee must go back up to the Senate for enactment, or, if amended in the committee, for reconsideration and engrossment as amended. The latter then requires it be sent back to the House for engrossment and enactment as amended, and finally a vote in the Senate for final enactment as amended.

If there is bipartisan support for the bill, such as the substance abuse recovery center bill on April 14th, then this process will be routine and relatively simple. However, if the votes are partisan, then Republicans will most likely object to suspending the rules as needed for the bill to proceed and will not provide the two-thirds votes needed to overcome that objection, thus killing the bill.

It is also unknown whether Governor Mills will support any of the additional spending, either current or incurred in future years, represented by these bills. Governor Mills will be in an uncommon position in that she can simply take no action on any bill passed on veto day and it will die when the next Legislature is sworn-in in December – a “pocket veto”.

The fact that the Legislature is taking action on the Special Appropriations Table also means that they have decided they do have the statutory authority to take up “other business” on veto day. This may mean they keep moving legislation that was left “between the bodies” on April 14th

The Preti team will be in the Appropriations Committee tomorrow and in the State House on Friday of this final week of the 131st Legislature and will let you know what happened and what’s next.