At midnight Wednesday, both houses packed it in for the night, announcing that they will return later in the day on Thursday to address the budget bill, HB318.
Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) told bystanders “We’ve got an agreement with the governor and the speaker, and tomorrow we’ll be in session with the five votes to pass it with their [Senate Democrats’] 12 votes. It will include the tax increase and construction reform,” Harris said, unwilling any longer to call the first provision a tax cut delay.
Asked whether House Democrats were in agreement with the proposed changes to the budget bill, HB318, Harris said, “To my knowledge, House Democrats have said yes. They are on board.”
A major breakthrough in the compromise relates to an agreement to implement three construction reform pilots. “There will be three model projects that will be directly implemented,” Harris said, the identity of which is still to be determined. “They’ll have to get the chancellor involved, and Bruce Johnson will also play a major role,” he said referring to the former lieutenant governor and current president of the Inter-University Council.
Inclusion of construction reform has been a key element in securing Republican support for the bill, with Harris repeatedly explaining that the state needs to begin taking steps to address spending.
The Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee is scheduled to reconvene at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday with Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) expecting the Senate vote to take place around 3 p.m.
The House is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.