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201 days later we have a budget and structural reforms

by JASON MERCIER | April 11, 2012

Though it took an early morning 2nd Special Session, lawmakers finally approved a revised 2011-13 budget but more importantly adopted several significant structural reforms.

201 days ago the Governor held a press conference calling on lawmakers to balance the state's budget. At midnight this morning she called the 3rd Special Session to achieve this goal and the 2nd Special Session of 2012. Rather than let lawmakers take a break, however, the Governor had lawmakers pull an all-nighter to work through the remaining compromise bills. Here are some of her comments about calling the early morning 2nd Special Session:

(click here for video)

I doubt many in the public will agree with the Governor's strategy that sleep deprivation is the best motivator for lawmakers to pass sound transparent policy, but the result she desired was achieved . . . they are finally done.

Here is a snapshot of what was accomplished:

  • SB 6636 (4yr balanced budget requirement): House 79-19; Senate 38-9
  • SB 6378 (Pension reform): House 56-42; Senate 27-22
  • SB 5940 (K-12 health care reform): House 53-45; Senate 25-20
  • SJR 8221 (Constitutional debt limit reform): House 91-7; Senate 38-7
  • SB 6074 (2011-13 capital budget): House 85-13; Senate 44-1

We'll have more details on the various bills after we have time to review them (the language was still being drafted late last night/early this morning prior to immediate floor votes). Hopefully the lightning fast voting on bills while they were still being typed won't result in the type of drafting errors we saw occur in 2010 on a major tax bill.

In the meantime, we are relieved that we can finally retire our running balanced budget clock at 201 days and with the reforms enacted not need to use it again.


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