Two weeks down! As with most sessions, this year’s session is off to a slow start. So far, the House and the Senate have only heard one bill in committee. The bill, House Bill 1027, is time sensitive. It delays a February 1st deadline for small businesses to change the way they collect and remit sales tax to October 1st. HB 1027 passed the House Business Committee unanimously and is expected to quickly pass both the House and Senate.
While the House and Senate haven’t spent much time on their respective chamber floors, legislative committees have been busy holding SMART Act hearings. SMART stands for “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive and Transparent.” The SMART Act hearing process was developed about 10 years ago and requires each executive branch department to present specific information to its legislative committee of reference during the first two weeks of each session. It is designed to allow the members of the oversight committee to better understand the responsibilities and areas of concern for each of the executive branch departments they oversee. The Department of Public Safety is scheduled to have its SMART Act Hearing before the Joint Judiciary Committee on Friday.
One of the issues in the news this week was Tuesday’s floor debate on House Resolution 22-1004 concerning urging Congress to adopt comprehensive voting rights legislation. For over two hours, the House debated the resolution. Republicans took issue with the divisive nature of the resolution that was brought forward by Democrats. House Resolutions are nothing more than an expression of will of the House, have no legal effect, and are sometimes referred to as “Letters to Santa Claus.” As expected, the resolution passed on a party-line vote.
So far, there have been 222 bills introduced – 133 in the House and 89 in the Senate. Only 108 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.