As of this writing, it is our 14th Legislative Day. All bill introduction deadlines have now passed. The Senate introduced an official count of 343 bills, and as I mentioned before, the House has a total of 434. That means that each one of the combined 777 bills will receive a full hearing and vote in their respective chamber. Some of those ideas will not survive.
This week, the Governor also provided some direction as it related to the budget. The legislature had already taken some of those ideas and implemented them. It is a big job to lower budgets after quite a few years of good times. All agencies are interested in balancing the budget as long as theirs is not the one being reduced.
There are a couple of budgets that we are working hard to remain whole. Nursing homes are probably the most talked about. There is a bill in the House which was part of the former Governor's budget to institute a nursing home provider tax. The feeling in the Senate is that this proposal is a bad idea, and in visiting with my colleagues in the House, there is also not much of an appetite for passing it. Caring for our seniors is a priority and finding money in the budget for that will be job number one.
There is also a bill being heard today in the Senate that would shift the county responsibility for social services to the state. The idea here would be the county would reduce its property tax mills and we would see true property tax relief.
There are a lot of issues to be worked out there, so stay tuned.
Thanks for all your comments. Keep in touch.
Sen. Jerry Klein