(Host) Legislative leaders say they won’t adjourn this week because of key differences between the House and the Senate over next year’s budget.
While there’s little disagreement over funding levels for next year, House Speaker Walter Freed says deliberations have been complicated other issues that have been attached to the budget bill:
(Freed) “It makes a challenge for the appropriations committee, so they’re sorting through these issues. In some cases, issues that came late in the session or end of the session just trying to get them done, if they are going to be done.”
(Host) Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch says pushing the adjournment date back to the middle of next week means that some bills will have new opportunities. That would include proposals on workers’ compensation reform and some farm measures.
(Welch) “It does give them extra time because once we sign the budget and have an agreement then the lights go out. And as long as the budget is still not finally acted on, everybody else has an opportunity and people get energetic and desperate in the final hours to get their favorite projects approved.”
(Host) Welch says he’s optimistic that a final agreement can be reached on the budget before the weekend. Then, Welch says, lawmakers will return to the Statehouse next Wednesday for adjournment.