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Legislative Update: April 13

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 13, 2020

The Legislature is set to reconvene this week after a truncated and busy Easter/Passover recess. The Legislature normally takes the week leading up to Easter off and comes to finish the busiest part of the Legislative calendar after the break. This year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the recess started a few weeks early with the goal of coming back on April 14th and returning to normal business. But things did not play out quite that way, instead the Legislature has reconvened multiple times in order to pass COVID-19 related legislation and a return to business as usual is nowhere in sight.

The Legislature will still return on April 14th, but it will continue to practice social distancing and utilize remote hearings as much as possible. The remainder of the legislative session will focus on continuing to respond to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, assembling a bonding bill, and passing legislation that has broad bipartisan support. This narrows the focus of Session and all but closes the door on supplemental spending in any areas outside of COVID-19 response.

The amount of damage the last couple of weeks have had on the state’s fiscal health remains unknown, but the state will get some insight into that question by producing an updated budget projection in May. This is not a full blown economic forecast but would give lawmakers a look at a more accurate fiscal picture than the now extremely outdated February Forecast. State economists are trying to produce this update working with very volatile and incomplete data, but the initial projections indicate the state is likely to be looking at a deficit in the next budget year.

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