Monday, May 4, 2009

Last week of the session?

Well, it’s supposed to be the last week of the session. We’re still waiting on H. 11, the wills and estates bill and S. 86, the Vermont Trust Code. I expect that the house bill will take all week to resolve because of the language the senate added about assistant judges. I know it’s been a few weeks but I’m still trying to understand how that amendment was “germane” to the bill. A conference committee has to work this out.
The senate bill, on the other hand, needs only a few minutes in the Senate Finance Committee to explain the house amendments. But finding those few minutes is getting harder and harder as we get closer to adjournment.
It appears that the appropriations conferees are close to recommending a $16 million reduction in spending. But remember that the projected deficit is $34 million; so there’s still some way to go. Even the judiciary is thinking ahead to another cut and seeking legislative authority to adjust its spending if that happens.
The governor recommended a $1 million reduction in the court’s 2010 appropriation. The budget as passed reduced it by $550,000. At that funding level the courts would no longer need to close one day a month. Now the supreme court is concerned that the additional $450,000 may be in jeopardy. All of this is happening in the face of the work being done by the Vermont Commission on Judicial Operation which is due to report back to the legislature in January.
The legislature is meeting today, Monday, and I’ll be there most of the day and will report back as soon as I have an update.

No comments:

Post a Comment