Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sifting Begins in House and Senate

You can tell that the end is near when the bill sifting process begins. In essence, this process takes the bills that have been approved by a standing committee but have not yet made it out of the "legislative body of origin" and sends them all back to the Rules Committee, where they are methodically released for consideration before the entire legislative body. This process usually signifies the end to many bills, but savvy bill sponsors can still work diligently to ensure that important bills are considered by the body. Those sponsors that may not understand this process fully may suffer the ignominious fate of "death by processing".

For cities and towns, the sifting process did catch plenty of legislation that was close to consideration. Now those bills, to include SB172, HB334 and HB233 have all been sent back to rules and will await their ultimate fate. While it is likely that all three bills will be sent to the floor for additional consideration at some point, that "point" is still yet to be determined. As you can imagine, this is where the real negotiations begin as people beg to get issues considered. Interesting "horse trading" takes place, and it becomes very important to understand which issues are being used as bartering chips. Since we have a lot of outstanding issues such as the three aforementioned bills plus others to include HB-282 Sales Tax on Food Modifications, we need to be especially attentive during this time of the session. We will keep you posted as the REAL poker begins and the legislative process operates in its fullest glory.

Just as a reminder, please still contact your legislators on the important issues of HB282, HB334 and HB 233. If you need talking points on those issues please either contact League Staff or visit our previous posts on these issues.

Until next time....ENJOY!