Applause broke out on the house floor as members voted unanimously to concur with senate changes to the state budget bill. The $6.234 billion budget calls for a 1.3 percent increase in spending with reserves hovering at 8 percent.
Senate Republicans restored cuts made by House Democrats including cuts to athletics and public television, reflecting changes they had tried to get approved. So everyone shares in the joy. Now the budget goes to the governor who has to act on it by April 10, 20 days after the session ends.
House Bill (HB) 170, the Higher Education Endowment bill, unanimously passed the senate this afternoon and is headed to the governor. It contains the changes that will allow access to $5.5 million contained in HB 2.
Meanwhile, in the House Ways and Means Committee, approval of a far-reaching amendment to SB 159, the capital outlay bill, means that piece of legislation is destined for a conference committee as it seems unlikely the senate will concur with the changes. Basically, the amendment made major cuts to senior centers, higher education facilities and the courts to fund roads.
The amended bill will likely be approved by the republican majority in the House of Representatives, setting the stage for some tension-filled showdowns with senate democrats in the final hours.