There are officially two weeks left for the legislature this year to take care of business.
Even with a special provision, called Sine Die, which allows them to come back in and deal with certain matters, there are many bills that will have to wait until next year, because the legislature plans to cut its session by two weeks.
Greeville Senator Mike Fair says, “It’s just like airplanes lining up on the tarmac; these last few weeks are gonna be crammed.”
One of those pending bills …a highly publicized plan for minimum sentences in daycare child abuse cases. Called Kendra’s law, it has enough opposition to slow down the last two weeks of the legislature, so it may have to stand by while PayDay Lending and Cigarette tax and budget battles take up chamber time.
Fair says lawmakers should stay to take care of these bills, “and I am one of those who believes that yes , we should stay here and take care of business. It’s not that much money in the big picture because we are not budgeted much. It doesn’t take much for the House or the Senate to operate.”
Senate President Pro Tem Glann McConnell says it’s out of their control.
“Well I hate to see some of these bills die on the calendar, but unfortunately it’s my understanding we are just coming so close on the budget. That’s why we are working the long hours we’re working and why we’ll be trying to push through the bills in the last three weeks,”says McConnell.
He expects lawmakers will have to come back in, so they must limit their time and expenses right now.
“Should the budget wobble five percent out of balance because of the downward spiral of the economy, we retain the right to come back and make course adjustments,” he says. “Should a court rule adversely on the stimulus, should something come up, we reserve the right of the speaker of the house or the president protem to call back the Senate and the House to deal with that. Additionally, we need to deal with the vetos, so if the governor vetos whatever in the bill, we can come back.”
McConnell says the legislature will have 30 percent cut from their budget by the time they are finished, lopping off at least six weeks of the session.
McConnell cites Senator Marion Gressette by saying “If a bill is so good that it can pass today, it can wait ’til tomorrow.”