BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
Crossover Day, or the 50th day of session, took place on Wednesday, leaving us with 10 days left and a mountain of bills that won’t continue through the legislative process.
At this point, the bills that are still alive are the bills that legislators have to work with. But, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any surprises in the final days of the 2019 session.
Last week, we talked about “originating bills,” or bills that are drafted and introduced in a committee rather than on the floor. We talked about how this type of bill can be difficult for citizens to follow and take action on if they want to.
While originating bills are unlikely to put a kink in the system after Crossover Day, the next 10 days will be an opportunity for bills that might have been lost in limbo waiting to be put on a committee agenda to be resurrected.
Bills which passed out of either the Senate or the House early in the session and were referred to a committee in the opposite chamber, could have been waiting for weeks to be put on the agenda. It’s easy for citizens and legislators alike to lose track of which bills are pending this way.
The Legislature’s website doesn’t make it easy to find out which bills are pending in each committee, but here is my trick for keeping tabs on this vital piece of information.
- First I find a bill that I know was referred to the committee I want to know about. Let’s say, SB 4 – Relating to Municipal Home Rule. It was referred to House Government Organization, but hasn’t been put on the agenda yet.
- Once I pull up the bill’s page, I scroll down through the bill’s history until I find the line that says “to Whatever Committee,” in this case, House Government Organization.
- If you click on that line it will take you to a page that shows all of the bills that are pending in the House Government Organization Committee.
It’s interesting to me that this information isn’t on the main page for each committee. If it were, it would be easily available for citizens and legislators to find and review, and could provide valuable insight into where bills are in the legislative process.
Whether your focus is on bills that you hope will continue to remain in limbo, or bills that you’re hopeful will move again, I am confident that there are still a few more surprises left for us this session. I’ll be keeping my eye on which bills are pending as one way to be ready for what those surprises might be.