The Gavel Comes Down on the First Regular Session of the Sixty-ninth General Assembly

by Julie Pelegrin

The General Assembly closed out one hundred twenty days of legislative activity yesterday, May 8, by adjourning sine die at 3:40 p.m. in the Senate and 3:44 p.m. in the House. The first regular session of the Sixty-ninth General Assembly was one of the busiest in recent memory. The legislators introduced bills on many difficult, complicated, and contentious issues which led to more late-night sessions and early-morning committee hearings than the General Assembly has experienced in recent years.

In all, the legislators introduced 613 bills, four concurrent resolutions, and 94 joint resolutions, resolutions, and memorials. When the dust settled, the General Assembly had passed 441 bills, zero concurrent resolutions, and 82 joint resolutions, resolutions, and memorials.

One of the many joint resolutions that passed on the 120th legislative day sets January 8, 2014, as the day for convening the Second Regular Session of the Sixty-ninth General Assembly. The legislators now have a little less than eight months to work with constituents, stakeholders, legislative colleagues, and legislative staff to research issues and policies and draft legislation for introduction in the 2014 regular legislative session.

There are also several legislative interim committees that will start meeting in July or August to study issues and prepare legislation for the 2014 regular legislative session. These include:
●    The wildfire matters review committee;
●    The committee to study mental illness in the criminal justice system;
●    The police officer’s and firefighter’s pension reform commission;
●    The transportation legislation review committee;
●    The water resources review committee;
●    The economic opportunity poverty reduction task force;
●    The juvenile defense attorney interim committee;
●    The joint technology committee;
●    The legislative digital policy advisory committee;
●    The legislative health benefit exchange implementation review committee; and
●    The early childhood and school readiness legislative commission.

Also this year, there is a new opportunity for legislators to work together during the legislative interim. Due to the passage of House Bill 13-1299, concerning changes to the “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act” of 2010, each of the joint committees of reference will meet at least twice between November 1 and the beginning of the 2014 legislative session to receive reports from the executive branch agencies and other state departments concerning the agencies’ and departments’ performance plans, regulatory agendas, and budget requests and associated legislative agendas for the 2014 regular legislative session.

The legislative service agencies are available throughout the interim to provide policy and legal research, statistical and other information, constituent support services, fiscal analyses, audits, economic forecasts, bill summaries, and bill drafting services for legislators as they consider potential legislation and prepare for the 2014 legislative session.