Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/22/1996 03:32 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SSTA - 2/22/96 HB 90 CONVENING LEGISLATURE AFTER GOV ELECTION Number 180 SENATOR SHARP brought up HB 90 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called the first witness. Number 185 JONATHAN SPERBER, Aide to Representative Bettye Davis, prime sponsor of HB 90, stated that HB 90 would shift the beginning date of legislative sessions following gubernatorial elections by one day, in order to avoid having the opening day of the legislative session fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Mr. Sperber read the sponsor's statement. Number 200 MR. SPERBER stated that the administration believes HB 90 will minimally impact legislative business. In addition, the bill would result in some minor cost savings. Certain employees would not have to be paid overtime by working on the holiday. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked who that would be. MR. SPERBER responded that would be support staff in the executive branch. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS doesn't understand. SENATOR DONLEY thinks that would be people in the executive branch who stick around because the legislature is here, people who would normally have a holiday. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if we want them around. SENATOR DONLEY responded it is not up to us whether they're around. It's up to the executive branch. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked why the executive branch can't make that determination themselves. And actually, what can we do here on the first day, realistically. MR. SPERBER responded it is his understanding that it is a day of special importance by virtue of its being the first day of the legislative session. Even if only for ceremonial purposes, legislative staff and legislators would expect to be present. By simply shifting the first day of session to the following Tuesday, those legislators and staff would have the opportunity to pay full respect to Dr. King. Admittedly, any possible savings that might be realized here are extremely small. The fiscal note from OMB lists savings of $5,833.00 for FY99. Number 245 SENATOR LEMAN has a concern with a comment in the sponsor's statement that "hundreds of legislative staff would be impacted". That's probably what we need to deal with, more than changing the day. MR. SPERBER responded that Representative Davis has the belief that all legislators, as well as their staff, would want to be able to fully honor and celebrate Dr. King on this holiday, by being able to attend other events. He knows that Representative Davis has expressed her frustration in the past about not being able to attend certain other events honoring Dr. King, because of legislative scheduling conflicts. SENATOR LEMAN understands that. CHAIRMAN SHARP commented he can also see savings for all legislative staff of at least one day, because you would bring them on one day later. SENATOR LEMAN suggests that, instead of just moving the day one day, somehow we could get the first day, Monday, to still count as a day, so we wouldn't then just shift the whole session by one day. He also asked why the bill specifies "the third Tuesday", rather than specifying "the Tuesday following the third Monday". MR. SPERBER does not think there would be any difference. He thinks the net affect would be the same. SENATOR LEMAN stated that is not necessarily so. [If the month of January begins on a Tuesday, then the third Tuesday would follow the second Monday, and not the third Monday.] It is noted that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on the third Monday in January. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated he likes Senator Leman's idea of having that day still count towards the session limit. SENATOR DONLEY doesn't think that could be done, because the 120 day provision is set into the constitution. Actually, there is a starting time in the constitution, but it states "unless otherwise provided by statute". He thinks it would be pretty difficult to utilize Senator Leman's idea without amending the constitution. SENATOR LEMAN thinks that every once in a while, the schedule would be thrown off in such a way that the legislature would actually start four days prior to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked Senator Leman if he wishes to propose an amendment to HB 90. SENATOR LEMAN asked Mr. Sperber if he would have any objection to that. MR. SPERBER replied he does not believe that Representative Davis would have any objection. Her primary concern is to not have a conflict between a holiday and a legislative session. Number 320 SENATOR LEMAN thinks that would be a better way to define it. He offered an amendment to HB 90. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that basically on page 1, line 8, the wording would be changed at the end of the sentence to "on the Tuesday following the third Monday". SENATOR LEMAN said, either that, or "on the day following the third Monday". Obviously it would be a Tuesday. Whichever way the drafters- CHAIRMAN SHARP noted there would also have to be the same change on page 2, line 1. SENATOR LEMAN replied that is correct. Number 345 CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there were objections to the amendment. Hearing none, the chairman stated the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR DONLEY made a motion to discharge HB 90 and accompanying fiscal notes with individual recommendations from committee. Number 355 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, ordered HB 90 released from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.