Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
02/09/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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SJR 1-CONST. AM: APPROPRIATION LIMIT 9:30:48 AM CHAIR SEEKINS announced SJR 1 was up for consideration. SENATOR FRED DYSON and Lucky Schultz, staff to Senator Dyson, introduced themselves as sponsors of SJR 1. SENATOR DYSON asked the committee to accept the conceptual amendment to SJR 1. CHAIR SEEKINS announced to the committee that they would consider the amendment. SENATOR DYSON informed Chair Seekins that the Finance committee would deal with the numbers portion of SJR 1. 9:33:36 AM CHAIR SEEKINS announced that his intent was to consider the judiciary portion of SJR 1 and to allow the Finance committee to look at the numbers. SENATOR DYSON advised Chair Seekins that the base number has been adjusted to cover the out years. CHAIR SEEKINS referred to a conceptual amendment before the committee and the committee members discussed the amendment language. CHAIR SEEKINS moved to adopt Amendment 2. Hearing no objection, the committee adopted Amendment 2. CHAIR SEEKINS referred back to Amendment 1 and asked the committee "what if the Legislature itself deems that there are extraordinary circumstances that needs to be addressed outside of the Governor's request?" MR. LUCKY SCHULTZ answered that a clause was added last year to accomplish that scenario and if the committee prefers it could be added to SJR 1. 9:38:34 AM CHAIR SEEKINS advised that he is attempting to be proactive. He said a political body (such as the Governor), which has fiscal responsibility should never be allowed to consider special circumstances. SENATOR FRENCH referred to separation of powers. CHAIR SEEKINS answered that he was not willing to give the Governor too much power. 9:39:32 AM SENATOR THERRIAULT said he wants to see a balance of power. CHAIR SEEKINS agreed saying he would like to see that the Legislature also has authority to determine what is an extraordinary circumstance, by a two-thirds vote. SENATOR THERRIAULT said the Governor can call a committee back into special session but can't force them to make an appropriation. The committee can pass an appropriation but the Governor can veto it. It is a check and balance. SENATOR DYSON advised that language from last year's bill covers the issue. He read the language: If the Legislature by law declares an extraordinary circumstance exists upon affirmative vote of two- thirds of the members of each house, Legislature may pass an appropriation that exceeds the appropriation limit under this section to address the extraordinary circumstances. Notwithstanding Section 17 of Article 2, a bill declaring an extraordinary circumstance passed by the Legislature may not become law unless signed by the Governor. Discussion last year was, "what if the Governor vetoes it? Would there have to be a three-quarter vote to overrule the Governor?" 9:41:34 AM CHAIR SEEKINS said when the Governor is faced with a veto or with declaring extraordinary circumstances; the cat is already out of the bag. SENATOR DYSON offered to add a conceptual amendment with language from last year's bill. CHAIR SEEKINS said he would be more comfortable with that. 9:42:21 AM SENATOR THERRIAULT asked Senator Dyson to work with the drafters and come back to committee with the appropriate committee substitute. MR. SCHULTZ said if the Legislature passes an appropriation for a special circumstance, it cannot become law until signed by the Governor, but SJR1 says both parties must agree. CHAIR SEEKINS said he feels more comfortable that it be subject to the same procedure that any other bill would be. 9:43:24 AM SENATOR HUGGINS agreed. SENATOR DYSON said there is some reason to move SJR 1 with some dispatch since budget decisions must be made soon. A spending limit has populace appeal. The committee could ask the Senate President to give additional referral back to the Judiciary Committee once the Finance Committee has done its work. CHAIR SEEKINS said the committee could pass SJR 1 out in the next meeting. 9:46:07 AM SENATOR DYSON said he would support any extra time and effort spent on constitutional issues when considering amending the constitution. CHAIR SEEKINS referred to a point made by Senator French, which was what if a big argument negatively affected the education budget? The Legislature needs the override ability of the normal course. SENATOR DYSON agreed to finish the amendment before next committee meeting. SJR 1 was held in committee.