By Lance Chilton
2020’s 30-day legislative session ended about one month ago. You may have already received summaries from members of the legislature or from one or more advocacy groups – I know I have. In fact, I’ve received snail mail from two representatives, one my own and one from across the river.
I’d like to summarize the results in this and another brief article. First the overall scorecard:
This table is a bit misleading for several reasons:
- Bills considered “non-germane” met none of the criteria for consideration during a short session: they were not related to the budget, they were not on the Governor’s call, and they were not coming back because the governor had vetoed them in the 2019 session. That accounts for 181 of the 659 bills, though none of the memorials.
- A number of bills in both houses were appropriations for a variety of purposes; those bills almost invariably were tabled, to be considered for addition to the budget bill, House Bill 2. Few were tacked on to HB 2, but those that were should really be considered to have passed.
- Many memorials are strictly ceremonial, proclaiming “Speech and Hearing Day” or honoring a retiring senator, for example. Other memorials had more lasting meaning though, usually setting up a task force or committee to study an issue and make a report to an interim committee that will consider legislation for another session.
- Many important bills require consideration during several legislative sessions to get them passed through the rigorous process that usually requires four or so committees and two house floor sessions. So while 578 bills introduced did not get passed in the 2020 session, we’ll see many of them again.
So that’s my numerical summary of the 2020 30-day session. Next time I’ll summarize the letters from my two legislator correspondents and add a few bills that I thought important during this session, which was both electrifying and also at times frustrating. Please send me the bills that are your candidates for discussion – both the ones you’re excited to have seen passed and those you’re frustrated to have seen languish.