A Quick Update, March 28 – Regular Session (2018)KAM
Our last weekly report on legislative activity noted that the General Assembly was scheduled to meet on March 27 and 28 for two concurrence days before recessing until April 12 and 13 for two veto override days. As is very often the case, the legislative leadership chose to alter the legislative calendar. By early afternoon on Tuesday, the announcement was made that the General Assembly would not be in session on the 28th, but would return to convene on the 29th.
The change in schedule was apparently due in large part to slow progress of the free conference committee on HB 200 in reconciling differences between the chambers on the Commonwealth’s biennial budget. Legislative Leaders have yet to meet in public conference committee today, though Republican House & Senate Leaders have met in private.
Tuesday, March 27, the 56th legislative day, was a busy one with several committee meetings in the morning leading up to the convening of the chambers in the early afternoon. Both chambers were in session for four to five hours before adjourning for lengthy caucus meetings. As a result, there was no meeting of the free conference committee on Tuesday night. A public meeting was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning but the conferees instead met behind closed doors and continued to do so through the afternoon at this writing. Reportedly, they are making progress, and there have been some conversations about tax reform and raising revenue.
All that is totally clear about the 2018 session calendar at this point is that the General Assembly will be back in session on Thursday, the 29th, with the House convening at 10:00 a.m. and the Senate gaveling in at 2:00 p.m. How the calendar may be altered from here is unclear and anybody’s guess. Legislative leaders will have three days remaining in the 60-day session that can be used in various ways. As Senate President Robert Stivers noted in the majority caucus meeting last week, the only real limitations on how these days are used relate to April 2 and April 14. April 2 is significant because it is the last day legislators can pass bills and preserve their veto override authority, and April 14 is significant because it is the deadline for sine die adjournment.