What's Happening (OSCC Political Observations)
Senate Republicans have left the state in a showdown over HB 2020, the 'Cap-and-Trade' legislation that OSCC has strongly opposed.By leaving the state, the Senate Republicans are denying quorum, which means that the Senate cannot conduct business.
The Senate can only conduct business with 20 senators present.There are currently 18 Senate Democrats - not enough to conduct business on their own.
The departure of the 11 current Senate Republicans (the late Senator Jackie Winter's seat won't be appointed until today) means that a host of policy bills (over 200) and budget bills (nearly 40) will die at 12:00 AM on Monday morning, July 1st if the Republican senators don't return.
It is very likely that at least one special session will need to be called to finish up the work on the budget. The legislature has already passed a 'Continuing Resolution' to fund state government until September, so the urgency will likely not set in until late summer.
As of today, our feeling is that the Republican senators will not return until the very end (so as to focus only on budget bills) if they return at all.
What's left in 2019?
- Cap-and-Trade (HB 2020) This is the focal point of the Senate Republican walkout, as they are waging their political futures on killing this bill. As of now, it is a pass/fail scenario. The bill will either pass as is or fail as is. There will not be amendments other than a potential amendment to refer HB 2020 to the voters. The amendments being pushed by the business community are no longer in play, as both the Republican and Democrat base would likely see them as a "sell out" to business interests.
This bill will die at 12:00 AM July 1 if Senate Republicans do not return.
- Paid Family Leave (HB 2005) OSCC is opposing this legislation due to decisive and overwhelming member feedback that their local business communities are bending under the weight of recently passed employment regulations and taxes. There is also widespread feeling that HB 2005, if passed, will only grow more costly as leave rights are expanded over time and current cost constraints prove ineffective. Although it passed the House, this bill will die at 12:00 AM July 1 if Senate Republicans do not return.
- Business tax implementation (HB 2164) This is a bill makes several significant adjustments to the just-passed Commercial Activity Tax (HB 3427) as well as authorizes over $70 million in tax credits. This bill will die at 12:00 AM July 1 if Senate Republicans do not return.
- Diesel engine regulations (HB 2007) As highlighted in last week's OSCC update, negotiations produced a bill that industry could live with. This bill will die at 12:00 AM July 1 if Senate Republicans do not return.
Other notable bills/budgets that are in limbo
- Campaign finance bills (HB 2716, HB 2983)
- Community College budget (HB 5024)
- Multi-family housing in residential areas zoned for single family (HB 2001)
- Tobacco tax referral (HB 2270)
- OSCC-supported Equal Pay fixes (SB 123)
- New assessment on wireless carriers to fund Broadband Fund (HB 2173)
- K-12 budget (HB 5015)
- "Christmas Tree" bonding bills (HB 5005, HB 5006)