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Published on Friday, February 10, 2017

Policy bills face a key deadline this Friday

Legislators have until week’s end to consider and move bills out of policy committees or the fate of those left behind diminish greatly. The good news is that most of AWC’s Priority policy bills have been heard, or will be by the end of the week. Those that include fiscal impacts to the state have another week to move from one of the fiscal committees and legislators have set a deadline of March 8 at 5 pm to act on bills leadership in each chamber advances to the floor for up or down consideration. Bills that clear one chamber by then are eligible to be considered by the other chamber and a new set of deadlines apply.

Hundreds of bills are introduced during a session and many never receive a hearing. AWC scrubs bill introductions to assess which may have city impacts and then communicates our impressions to bill sponsors and other interests. We spend more time on bills receiving hearings and report on key ones in our Legislative Bulletin.

As the process winnows out the ones moving forward, just getting out of committee does not insure action. Each chamber maintains a Rules Committee that with leadership guidance narrows the crop of potential bills even further. Bills placed on the calendar for floor action are those most likely to move forward.

This past week included crowded hearings on Public Records and local option fiscal bills we strongly support. We also witnessed committee passage, with strong bipartisan support, of a bill to gradually restore growth in shared liquor revenue. There continue to be work sessions and hearings on infrastructure funding ideas and various approaches to improving the stock of affordable housing and shelters for the ever-increasing numbers of homeless.

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week we’ll have close to 400 city officials in town to hear from the Governor, key legislators and other interests about bills we like and a few we don’t. We will continue to bring up concerns about the diversion of state-shared revenues and the importance of re-booting the fiscal partnership needed to maintain and enhance strong cities.

If you are not able to join us, please be on the lookout for the occasional action alert you may receive during some of these key decision points in session. We use action alerts sparingly and urge you to act the day you receive it. If you wait longer than that, it could be too late.