I hope that you had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year. The last two weeks have been relatively quiet at the Capitol. Most of the elected officials are home for the holidays and the staff gets a couple of days off also to rest before the session.
The exception is the legal staff that is working feverishly to get all the bills written from the bill requests submitted. In my last column, I wrote about the bill request deadline which was in December. The new deadline is the last day that bills may be introduced which is January 19 th . At this time all bills will be assigned to a committee and no new bills may be introduced during the session.
Each Representative may only submit eight bills, although they can request more bills to be written. But, by the 19 th , they must select which eight bills to file that will be considered. As a committee person, I am able to go over the eight bill limit if the bills pertain to my committee. I have about 15 bills that I requested above my eight bill limit that pertain to Corrections and Criminal Justice.
Although no new bills may be submitted during a session, new language may be inserted into an existing bill. This allows flexibility in dealing with new issues that arise during the session. However, new rules passed last year make sure that there is at least four days of notice to the entire House of these changes. This prevents the abuse of making drastic changes to a bill with little time for a Representative to know about it.
Also, this is the second session of the 50 th legislature. That means that bills submitted last year can also be considered. If no action was taken to definitively kill the bill, then the bill may be considered again at the point where it lay at the end of the last meeting. For example if a bill passed the House, but no action was taken in the Senate committee, then the bill can be considered by the Senate committee.
There have been about 3,000 bill requests in the House. This is a significant increase from last year. Coupled with the bills held over from the last session, there will be a very large number of bills to consider. As always, your input on the bills is important to me as I consider the different pieces of legislation. Please don't hesitate to call or write me about bills and your concerns. My number at the Capitol is 405-557-7382 or call me at home in Goodwell.
Boise City News