Pace picks up as Legislature enters last three days; deadlock over oil taxes continues

Legislators ratcheted up the tempo sharply Friday with three days left in the 2012 legislative session. The Senate Finance Committee had a full plate of House-passed bills on its agenda and was voting them out at a fast pace late Friday morning.

On its agenda, the House Finance Committee had a long-delayed substitute proposal for a Senate-passed bill extending state tax incentives for film production.

Senate Bill 23 has been on and off the committee’s schedule for days as legislators negotiated possible changes to the film incentive bill.

The House committee is also scheduled to take up the state capital budget later today, Senate Bill 160. The bill has already passed the Senate with capital projects proposed by the governor and senators.

House members will now add their projects to the bill.

Meanwhile, a House-Senate conference committee continues to negotiate a compromise state operating budget bill. There are no significant differences in the operating budget bills passed by the House and Senate except for tourism promotion.

A deadlock continues in the Senate over the biggest unresolved issue of the 2012 session, possible changes to the state oil production tax. Senate Bill 192 was scheduled to be considered on the floor of the Senate Thursday but was sent back to the Rules Committee when it became clear there were not enough votes to pass it, sources in Senate said.

On Friday morning there were reports that senators may attempt to insert parts of the tax bill, measures that could lower taxes on new oil production, into another bill.

There was more consensus on those parts of SB 192 on others. Attaching parts of bills to others is a common technique in the closing days of a legislative session.

Whether that happens or not, Gov. Sean Parnell may call a special session over the oil tax bill when the Legislature adjourns at midnight Sunday. Parnell could call the session immediately or he could bring legislators back in June or July after a cooling-off period.



04/13/2012 - 10:36am