Its Saturday morning and I'm sitting at my desk on the House floor. This weekend, the last weekend of the 2016 session is conference weekend. Today at 8:00 pm is the deadline for appropriation conference reports to be signed and submitted to the House for consideration. You may ask, What is a conference report? That is a good question, and one I had also.
As bills make their way thorough the legislative process they begin in either the House or the Senate, are discussed by the original chamber and if passed sent to the other legislative body. If the other body makes any changes to the bill it then returns to the originating chamber for concurrence with the changes or an invitation for conference. If conference is invited then three members of each body meet to work out their differences.
Tonight is the deadline for all conferees to report to their legislative chamber the final result of their appropriation conferences. Then on Sunday afternoon the House and the Senate must vote on the report before the bill is passed and sent to the governor. Either body can disagree with the results of the conference committee and the bill will die.
This week and next are important weeks for budgets. Yesterday the Joint Legislative Budget Committee meet and received the economic report from the state economic advisor. The Governor and the Committee adopted an estimate of $5,703,200,000 in General Fund receipts for FY 2017 under current law. House and Senate members are now busy hearing request from all the departments in the state, from Education to Mental Health, about how much money they need to do the job we've asked them to do. Now that the legislature knows how much money the state has for FY 2017 and all the departments have submitted their budgets request, today and tomorrow we are busy deciding where to put the money. The House will begin voting on budget items Sunday at 2:00 pm.
If you would like to read the full report from the State Economist use this link; State Economist Report.
Visiting Your Capitol
This week the MS House of Representatives was visited by the MS School for the Deaf Championship football and girls basketball teams. The House passed a resolution commending them on their outstanding athletic accomplishments. The team members received a Deaf Culture standing ovation from the House of Representatives. *waving hands*.