Today’s blog post covers activity from last week (25th and 26th Legislative Days) through this week (27, 28 and 29th Legislative Days) and closes out the 2015 Legislative Session.
The Senate slowed to a crawl last week, entering a deadlock of wills as opposing views on how to solve the perennial budget crisis spilled over and impacted other pending legislation – collateral damage if you will. That posture continued into this week and the Senate adjourned Sine Die today after passing the General Fund Budget. By all accounts the Governor will call the legislature back for a special session later this year – at a cost of approximately $24,000 a day – to once again take up the 2016 budget.
While I support continuing to work through the budget issues I’m left pondering what will change in the weeks ahead? Are we going to see an unexpected windfall from somewhere that will solve the budget problem? Are we going to see widespread support for tax increases? Hopefully we will finally address the foundational problems of our state budgets.
This was a challenging session - the most challenging I've been a part of in 5 years serving in the Senate. We made difficult decisions and will face more in the days ahead. I reaffirm; I answer to the people that sent me to Montgomery, not the people in Montgomery.
In closing out the blog – for those that have inquired about the pictures accompanying each day’s blog – early on this year I decided to not repeat a tie during this year’s session. I’ve been blessed by my wife and daughters with quite an assortment of ties for birthdays, father’s day, etc over the years and featured a tie in each day’s blog...a way to break the monotony of the daily blog. Assuming I’ve not lost readers to this point in today’s blog, I must admit one tie was repeated by accident!
I look forward to returning home and working for the people I represent across the Senate District that I am honored to represent in the days and weeks ahead.
*Edited on 6/5/15 to add the following;
As I drove the 3 hours home last night I pondered the budget and realized the silver lining in the dark clouds that hung over this year’s entire session – we didn’t kick the can down the road for another year. Yes, we passed an austere budget – the legislature believed it was workable but the Governor saw different and followed through with his threat to veto the budget – but the silver lining is we must still address the budget shortfall. By passing a stripped down budget and not coming up with some 11th hour fix (of which we’ve done in years past) we are forced to address the foundational problems in our budgets. Readers should understand the budget in question doesn’t go into effect until October of this year – we still have time to come back together, focus singularly on the budgets and find some common ground – working together from the Governor’s office, the House and the Senate - and that’s what I’m looking for from leadership across the board.
Semper Fi – Bill