Statutory adjournment is six weeks away, and there’s plenty of work to be done before then.
The legislative committees have been working through their assigned bills. The Legislative Council and a few committees have successfully tested a hybrid model, allowing for both virtual and in-person participation. And the Legislative Council voted 8-0 to repeal the Statehouse mask mandate on Thursday, March 3. Yet, with the committee deadline of March 11 quickly approaching, it may be a struggle to have the volume of their proposals vetted thoroughly.
Hearings for the supplemental budget began this week and are scheduled through March 8 and will likely take some time to work through. In addition, following its meeting on March 1, the Revenue Forecasting Committee increased the projections for the State’s General Fund revenue forecast by approximately $411.6 million for the current biennium, which ends June 2023. How to allocate that money will also need to be addressed this session.
Once bills are voted out of committee, they head to the House and Senate for debate, discussion, and ultimately, disposition. The House and Senate will convene on March 9 and have set an additional five meeting dates – March 17, March 22, March 24, March 29, and March 31. There is definitely a lot of work to do before April 20!
Next week also marks the second anniversary of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Maine. We’ve learned a lot in these past two years – resilience, innovation, technology, creativity, and flexibility, to name just a few. While I know there are many parts of the past two years we would like to file under “distant memory” as we switch from pandemic to endemic, I hope you can bring some of the positive lessons from these challenges forward into your future successes.