Legislative leaders keep saying they hope and expect to adjourn this week.
The next day or so could tell the story.
Here’s what to watch for:
- The 2013-14 public schools budget. The 2.2 percent increase passed the House last week, with ease. It faces a tougher battle on the Senate floor. A vote on the $1.3 billion House Bill 323 is planned for Wednesday morning.
- The 2012-13 public schools budget fix. Remember the scene from the movie “Poltergeist?” Well, House Bill 65 is back — on the agenda, at least. This $30.6 million bill, reallocating money from the rejected Students Come First laws, is on the Senate Education Committee’s agenda for this afternoon. We have seen this movie before; the committee held the bill last week. Will the committee pass the bill, send it to the Senate floor for amendments, or scuttle it?
- Salary spending bill. Also on the Senate Education agenda for today is House Bill 325, backed by Senate Education Chairman John Goedde and House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt. This bill would direct school districts to spend their 1.67 percent increase in teacher salary dollars to restore teaching positions or contract days.
- The charter bills. House Bill 206, the $1.4 million buildings stipend bill, is on tap for another round of amendments, perhaps as early as today. And the Senate still has to vote on House Bill 221, which would allow universities to authorize charters. Then the House will have to sign on with the Senate’s agenda, before adjournment.
- The scholarship/income tax credits bill. Last week, House Bill 286 passed the House by a razor-thin 35-33 margin. The Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee gets its look at the $10 million tax credit bill this afternoon.
- Personal property tax. Looming on the Senate’s third reading calendar is House Bill 315, the $20 million cut in this tax on business furnishings and equipment. Education groups favor this partial repeal. So did the House, on a 67-2 vote. So did Senate Local Government and Taxation, on a unanimous vote. To say this bill has momentum would probably be an understatement.
And one more thing to watch for: boxes.
Lawmakers can talk about adjournment, but cardboard boxes speak louder than words. When they start lining the hallways outside legislative chambers, and when lawmakers start packing their belongings, you know adjournment is nigh.
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