By Julie Pelegrin
The second regular session of the Sixty-ninth General Assembly wrapped up Wednesday, April 7, 2014, adjourning sine die at 8:22 p.m. in the Senate and 10:26 p.m. in the House. Since January, the legislators have spent many hours holding stakeholder meetings, listening to testimony in committee, and debating and amending bills on a wide range of topics from regulation of recreational and medicinal marijuana to tax credits, to flood relief, to adoption, to license plates, to criminal laws, to financing public education, to water law.
This session, the legislators introduced 621 bills, 7 concurrent resolutions, and 82 memorials, resolutions, and joint resolutions. By the time it was all over, the General Assembly had passed 425 bills, zero concurrent resolutions, and 78 memorials, resolutions, and joint resolutions.
One of the many joint resolutions passed on the 120th legislative day sets January 7, 2015, as the day for convening the First Regular Session of the Seventieth General Assembly. During the legislative interim, most of the representatives and about half of the senators will be running for reelection in November. At the same time, they’ll be working hard to find time to meet with constituents and stakeholders and start working on potential legislation for the 2015 legislative session.
In a new process this year, the Legislative Council approved 19 requests for interim committees to meet during the 2014 legislative interim to study issues and prepare legislation for the 2015 regular legislative session. These include:
• The committee to study mental illness in the criminal justice system;
• The police officers’ and firefighters’ pension reform commission;
• The transportation legislation review committee;
• The water resources review committee; and
• The early childhood and school readiness legislative commission
When the Seventieth General Assembly convenes in January, there will be at least 16 new representatives and at least six new senators. The legislative service agencies will provide new member orientation during November and December. In addition, the joint committees of reference will meet during November and December to get reports from the executive branch agencies they oversee, and the Joint Budget Committee will be holding hearings to prepare the 2015-16 budget beginning in November.
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 2015 legislative session.