By Dave Donaldson
Legislators spent the weekend trying to overcome their differences on as many bills as possible going into the final week of their ninety-day session.
While there are still hundreds of bills that members would like to see get to the governor’s desk, most of the attention has been drawn to a handful of high-profile measures that have been contentious all session.
Lawmakers are still working on a proposal that would bring back the governor’s scholarship program by avoiding the four hundred million dollar endowment the governor wanted to use to pay for it in perpetuity. The working plan right now is to pay for it on an annual basis through the University’s budget. It needs some finishing touches, but is still within reach.
A bill that would require disclosure of the sponsors of political advertising campaigns – allowed by a U-S Supreme Court decision earlier this year – is down to one sticking point: the method used to identify the sponsors in television ads. That faces another hearing today.
A bill that would separate the state taxes on oil and gas is meeting industry opposition – supporters say the state will lose oil revenue if a large gas line is in production under current economic conditions. The administration argues that with the changes, the state will lose money if the market conditions reverse. That one still has a lot of work ahead although another hearing is planned today.
Meanwhile, there’s still a long way to go on all the budgets – but with no serious worries about the Operating Budget, the focus is on the Capital Projects budget. That’s on the Senate floor today for a vote.
The ninety-day adjournment goal is midnight next Sunday.