The Council met with the Legislative Finance Committee following their 5/29/19 morning meeting. The two committees broke out in groups to discuss their goals and objectives for fulfilling the Senate Bill No 310 study relating to the legislature’s budgeting and policy processes. The group provided direction to concentrate the study in three areas aimed at strengthening the Legislative Branch and the relationships among the members: 1) budget and policy, 2) training, and 3) the session calendar or timeline of work that may include changes toward annual sessions.
Budget and Policy in both the Session and Interim
Under budget and policy, they want to see how other states operate, how to develop relationships among the committees so that the budget and policy decisions happen with knowledge of the whole story, more cross pollination between standing committees and budget committees in session and between committees during the interim.
Training primarily in the interim and the ramp up to session
To address training, they discussed following the cycle of an interim committee following up on the implementation of bills passed during session, the administrative rules, budget updates on the agencies, and the deliberate appointment of both budget and policy legislators on each type of committee.
Discussion was held on mitigating the compression of time between the election and session, and to maximize the use of time between sessions in the interim to prepare for the next session.
Timeline/Calendar in the Session and Interim
A timing issue that would also enhance training of legislators involves managing the calendar to fit modern-day with ideas to use the 90 days in a different way, perhaps elongating how the session is conducted with more time to prepare before session and address providing more time for constituents during session. Pacing work differently, which could include dividing into 2 sessions in a biennium, to allow more opportunities for more legislators to participate in the budget and to use policy committees to help vet policy bills with significant fiscal impact.
The Legislative News.