Monday marks day 80 of the 2021 legislative session. We are two-thirds of the way to sine die.
On Friday the House and the Senate adopted the First Conference Committee Report on the Long Bill and then repassed the Long Bill as amended. This was the final step before it goes to the Governor for his consideration. The Conference Committee’s report includes the Joint Budget Committee’s (JBC’s) decisions concerning the differences between the Long Bill as passed by the Senate and the version passed by the House. One of the JBC’s decisions caused a dustup on Friday. As I mentioned previously, as the Long Bill was moving through the Senate and House, both chambers voted to add an additional $3 million to the Body-worn Camera Grant Program. This was in addition to the $3 million the JBC had already approved for the first year of funding for the program. However, the JBC determined that rather than increasing the program by an additional $3 million – to a total of $6 million – it would be more prudent to only increase it by $1 million – to a total of $4 million. Republicans in both the House and Senate objected and tried to reject the First Conference Committee Report and send the Long Bill back to the JBC to try again. They were unsuccessful, and the Long Bill is on its way to the Governor.
As SB 062, the Jail Populations Management Tools bill that the CSPA is monitoring, has been waiting to be calendared in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill’s sponsor has been working to find amendments to gain support from his colleagues. As introduced, SB 062 would have prohibited arrests for certain offenses. Previously, the Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to address concerns about being able to arrest drunk drivers for felony DUI or when a detoxification facility, sober party or hospital is unavailable and the officer has reasonable suspicion to conclude that the person poses a substantial risk to the safety of another, absent custodial arrest. However, it seems there still isn’t enough support to get the bill passed. Word around the Capitol is that the sponsor is also considering removing Class 4 felonies and auto theft from the bill in order to secure the necessary support. I will keep you updated as the bill moves through the process. Only 40 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.