December 29, 2021 Article

Legislative Alert: Convening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 130th Legislature

The Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature will convene next Wednesday, January 5th at 10 a.m. This is intended to be an in-person session of both the House and Senate with public access. All persons will be required to wear masks in the State House. There will only be one other in-person session day in January, on Wednesday, January 26th.

Currently, all Legislative Committee hearings will be remote meetings just as they were in the prior session. This means no in-person gatherings, and access will be by Zoom, WebEx or Microsoft Teams for committee members, invited presenters, and members of the public wanting to testify. All others will be able to watch the hearings on YouTube or listen on the traditional legislative audio links. Just as last session, we will help our clients sign up to testify or testify on their behalf when relevant hearings are scheduled.

Public hearings and work sessions are already being scheduled for both carry-over bills and new bills. Some public hearings for bills that are either new, or had not received a public hearing last session, are scheduled starting NEXT WEEK, January 6th. Committees have started scheduling public hearings and work sessions into the following week as well. Here is the link to the Legislature’s calendar of events with relevant links embedded.  For clients who have requested weekly reports, on Fridays they are now receiving reports with updated dates and times for relevant public hearings and work sessions.

There are about 200 new bills to be considered, 150 from legislators and 50 from agencies. The new LD’s start at LD 1742 and can be found here. In addition there are roughly 300 carry-over bills. We expect legislative leadership and committee chairs and leads to push to hit the ground running on the carry-over bills that received public hearings last session and any work that they believe will be relatively easy to dispose of in one fashion or another. Of course, there are many reasons related to politics and personalities that may stall some issues from moving forward quickly, even if the end result is already relatively certain. As the new bills become official and have associated language, we will either add them to client legislative reports or bring them to client’s attention.

The Governor will release a supplemental budget in the coming weeks that will deal with the roughly $800 million budget surplus.  The Appropriations Committee will then hold public hearings and work sessions on the supplemental budget to hopefully come to an agreement between the Democrats and Republicans that will be a combination of new programs and financial relief.  If they can pass this by a 2/3 vote in both bodies, then the budget will go into effect immediately.  If not, the effective date will not be until 90 days after session.

The Legislative Council will meet in the afternoon following the second in-person session, on Thursday, January 27th, at 1:30 pm. We expect public decisions to be made at this meeting regarding the number of in-person sessions going forward and whether committee hearings will continue in a remote fashion.

The Second Regular Session is always meant to be significantly shorter than the First Regular Session. The Second Regular Session’s statutory adjournment date is Wednesday, April 20th. Legislative leadership will push hard to end within that week if at all possible. Everyone who is running for office wants to be out of the State House as soon as possible. They are all up for re-election if they are not term limited or choosing to not seek re-election. As many of you know, many of the term-limited legislators will choose to run for the other body or higher office.

We look forward to working with you in the upcoming session. Please do not hesitate to contact your Preti team if you have any questions or concerns.