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Measure would give House more time to consider appropriations bill in future sessions

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 6:32 PM

By John Guidroz / American Press

BATON ROUGE — A House committee voted 5-1 on Tuesday in favor of a measure that would allow the House to approve the budget bill 16 days before the end of the legislative session.

House Resolution 1, by Rep. Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur, heads to the House floor for consideration.

Danahay said House lawmakers will have more time to consider the appropriations bill, also known as House Bill 1, especially if the Senate makes changes to it. The measure would not apply to the current session.

“What has been taking place is we receive the budget on the last day, or one of the last days of the session,” he said. “We don’t have time to be able to have that healthy debate we need to have on the changes that are made.”

Danahay said the legislation would also give House lawmakers more time to consider holding a special session or a veto session if the governor vetoes the budget bill while the regular session is still going on. He said the House can also suspend the rules with a two-thirds vote and consider the budget bill after the 16-day window closes.

The measure would also require the House to receive any changes made by the Senate within three days of having to either concur or reject those changes.

Rep. Timothy Burns, R-Mandeville, was the only lawmaker who voted against the measure. He said it was “not quite flushed out enough.”

Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Moss Bluff, said the measure is a simple but important piece of the budget reform package. Geymann is a leader of a group called “Fiscal Hawks” that is working to reform the state’s budget process.

“I think it’s going to change the way we do things next year,” he said.

The committee also approved a similar measure by Rep. Raymond Garofalo Jr., R-Chalmette. H.B. 436 is a constitutional amendment that would require voters to decide if the appropriations bill should be approved earlier in the session. It heads to the House for consideration and requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

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