Below is an update from GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman on how the final days of the legislative session went down and how some of the GMNP’s top priorities fared.
The 2016 legislative session technically ended on Monday. However, as required by the state Constitution, all bills had to pass both bodies by midnight Sunday in order to be signed into law by the Governor. And the end was not pretty.
The leadership of the House and Senate waited until the very last minute to agree to budget targets. The Legislature attempted to debate and pass the three big bills upon which there was agreement: Taxes, Omnibus Spending, and Capital Investment (bonding). Two of these three ultimately passed: Taxes and Spending. There was, for the second year in a row, no agreement on transportation.
So what happened at the end? Late Sunday afternoon it became clear that leadership had reached an agreement on a $1 billion bonding bill. No details were released, but negotiations on which specific projects would be included continued to take place. At about 11:30 p.m., with less than half an hour remaining in the session, the House took the bill up and was able to pass it. Click this link to watch the debate. House members did not get to see the actual bill until the debate began! Continue reading