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Kearns and Sons

Report from Helena – Week 14

 

Inside the maze is confusing – Are bills like Lazarus?

Last term I was looking through the window into the maze. This session, even though I am actually standing a little ways into the maze, I still can’t see the other side. The other side being the end zone, the finish line of the session. There are a lot of big pieces to the budget puzzle that seem to be lost in the maze. Pieces that seemed to be very well discussed and passed out of committees and at least one body. Pieces like the building projects bill, tax refund or tax cuts, Medicaid reform. Last week the building projects bill looked to me like it met a fatal end. No heartbeat. Plan the funeral. HB-14 was the bill that allowed bonding, the building projects were moved to HB-5 and funded with cash. Nothing is actually permanent in the last two weeks, I guess. So then HB-14 was voted down because it had a couple of pork type projects left in it and the conservative side said, “Let’s get rid of that possibility.” Now I’m hearing that HB-5, with the cash and the projects securely funded, has been killed. Lazarus, are you here?

So, I get out my crying towel and start making the rounds in the capitol, Saturday, asking, “Can anyone tell me why? and where do we go from here?” I mean, are these bills really dead, which makes absolutely no sense to me…. Or, are they going to somehow become a piece of a moving puzzle and at some point come back to life? Lazarus, are you here?

And, the good news is…. this would seem to be what is happening. Somehow, when the Senate has made their final move with HB-2, the final budget bill, the appropriations committee, the House, and the governor, will all have made their final dance moves and the music will stop. To finalize the plan, some of the bills that would seem to be history at this point will come back to the House and Senate floors, a motion will be made to suspend the rules and call for a reconsideration of the bills that are needed, e.g. HB-5 and HB-14, and requiring a 2/3rds vote, both sides of the aisle will vote to bring them back to life (yea, Lazarus) and we’ll finish the money part of the session.

I know, and I agree with you, it seems like a crazy way to operate, yet the end result will be a middle road budget that will keep us on track, able to function, and in good shape fiscally for another two years. To me it’s kinda like my reaction when I watch young people dance. It makes no sense to me, leaves me scratching my head thinking, “What the heck are they doing?” No cuddling, no romance, no slow dances, just lots of wild action, big smiles and a good bit of laughter. I’d rather dance a waltz or a slow two step.

Ed Greef

HD 90

edgreef@hotmail.com    

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