Readers can review the Special Order Calendars (SOC) for Tuesday and Wednesday (each day links to a separate SOC) but it is important to note that all bills were carried over with exception to SB87 allowing medical parole for certain prisoners suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses (passed 24-6), SB23 requiring drivers' license offices to be open a minimum of one day each week in each county (passed 22-3) and one of my bills, SB234 removing the requirement for breweries to capture personal identification of customers (passed 27-0); making good on a promise best discussed in this article. All other bills were carried over or the Senate adjourned before taking up the bill due to the "posture of the body" described above.
We experienced a breakthrough of sorts on Thursday and worked on a 16 bill SOC with some success; passing 11 of the Bills. The bills carried over include SB176, SB166, and SB307. One bill was defeated, SB80, relating to colleges and universities requiring residents that live within a certain mileage radius of campus to live on campus. The bill was narrowly defeated in a 15 yea, 16 nay vote. One of the bills at the end of the SOC was the Education Budget. On Wednesday the Senate Education Budget Committee passed the Education Budget out of committee. There was some controversy though as committee members stated they had not seen/reviewed the Education Budget. There was some objection - myself included - to voting on a $6B+ budget in the Senate under such a short time-frame.
After much debate the Prison Construction Bill was passed today. It is important to note that this bill has been substituted numerous times throughout the committee process. Additionally, at least one floor substitute was debated...in other words, we are operating off a substituted substitute to the substitute...that may be substituted again! Simply put - this is far from the $800M Prison Construction Bill that was introduced. I remain up-to-date on the debate and changes to the proposed prison bill and will provide a link to the "final-final" as well as an overview of what Prison Construction Bill was passed by the Senate in a separate blog post.
Upon adjournment today the Legislature began a scheduled two-week Spring Break. We will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, 4 April to resume the balance of the Legislative Session; 17 Legislative Days taking us through mid-May. I look forward to working across the Senate District during the break and have several meetings and school visits planned throughout this time. We will meet on Monday the 20th of March for the weekly Coffee and Conversation at Little Libby's in Madison but will not meet on the 27th.
Semper Fi - Bill