Monday, February 28, was the final Fiscal Committee Cutoff of the session. All bills that either bring in new monies or cost the state in expenditures had to be heard and voted out of their fiscal committees. Two committees spend the money in the House, the Finance or Tax Committee, and the Appropriations Committee. In the Senate, the committees are combined into the Ways and Means Committee. These committees deal with taxes and spending, are viewed as the most important, and have the highest number of legislators serving on them.
Many of the bills referred to these committees contain “fiscal” notes. These are the state agencies impacted by the legislation and have the best guess as to how much they will cost to implement or how much they will generate in new revenues. Many bills are never heard. Many are heard and never voted on. With that said, the number of bills still in play has diminished significantly.
Two bills in particular that WR has been engaging on have passed out of the House Appropriations Committee and are now in the Rules Committee awaiting a vote by the full chamber.
WR supports HB 2018, which would adopt a one-time sales tax holiday over the Labor Day Weekend for certain products like clothing, Energy Star appliances, electronics, and medications. This measure passed with strong bipartisan support on a vote of 28 yeas to 5 nays.
WR opposes HB 1850, which would regulate and impose penalties on data privacy. It would also put onerous new rules into place, create a new commission, impose a new tax, and allow for new enforcement measures. The bill narrowly passed on a 17 to 16 vote.
The next major cutoff is tomorrow, March 4, when all bills need to be voted out of the opposite House, necessitating all Senate bills to be voted on by the House and all House bills to be voted on by the Senate.
There are only eight more days left until “sine die,” the Latin word for adjourning without setting a future meeting date. In other words, the end of session.