Watching and Waiting
Republican Senate and House leaders continue to work behind the scenes to round up votes for the big four: the FY 2013-14 budget, pension reform, transportation funding, and private liquor sales. Since the Democrats have essentially taken a lock-step position against all of these Gubernatorial priorities, the pressure is on a tiny number of republican legislators to provide enough votes for passage.
Word has it that several Republican Senators remain opposed to the liquor privatization plan and negotiators are working frantically to find some amendments that will get them back on board. If that happens, it is likely that the House will release its hold on the transportation package so that the two initiatives can move through the process at the same time.
On pension reform, both chambers have moved legislation through the committee process and there is still time for an agreement that gets some stripped-down version of pension reform to the Governor’s desk by the summer recess. With no votes from the Democrats, Republicans are working to change one remaining Republican from “no” to “aye” so that SB 922 can emerge from the Appropriations Committee and be placed on the Senate calendar for a vote.
The “head count” on pension reform in the Senate is too close to call. But the Governor and the Senate Republican leaders have identified the “hold-outs” and are working non-stop to bring them on board.
As of this writing, the Governor’s office and most of the Republican leadership remain optimistic that all of the big ticket items will move forward in the next 72 hours.