Week Five Capitol Report

February 11, 2022

Next Friday, February 18 is the final date for bills introduced in the Senate to be passed out of a Senate committee and bills introduced in the House to be passed out of a House Committee. Appropriation and Ways and Means bills are exempt from the February 18 deadline.

Both chambers held numerous subcommittee and committee meetings this week, working to ensure legislative priorities remain eligible. On Wednesday, the Senate passed three bi-partisan bills related to education and labor, one of which was Senator David Rowley’s (R-Dickinson), his first time floor managing a bill. The House debated on Thursday, passing House File 2316 with a 57-39 vote.  HF 2316 relates to supplemental state aid, establishing a state percent of growth of 2.5%. The Senate is expected consider either HF 2316 or the Senate similar bill, Senate File 2204 next week.

Discussions on tax reform continued this week with the House Ways and Means Committee passing House Study Bill 626 out of committee on Tuesday. With both the Senate and House proposals out of committee, the bills are now eligible for floor debate in their respective chambers and were renumbered to House File 2317 and Senate File 2206.

Governor Reynolds' workforce shortage proposal Senate Study Bill 3093, was approved by the Senate Subcommittee this week. The House companion bill House File 2279 is eligible for floor debate. The bill is divided into two sections, one related to unemployment insurance and the other tort reform.

Division I: Unemployment Insurance

·  Reduces the maximum amount of time an individual can claim unemployment from 26 to 16 weeks.

·  Creates a one-week waiting period for benefits.

·  Defines "misconduct"

Division II: Tort Reform

·   Creates a hard cap of one million dollars for medical malpractice and commercial motor vehicle noneconomic damages.

Governor Reynolds’ introduced a second workforce shortage proposal this week related to building codes, work-based learning, and healthcare recruitment. Senate Study Bill 3123 passed out of subcommittee while the companion bill, House Study Bill 682 will be considered at a subcommittee next week.

Next week, both chambers will see a large increase in committee work to ensure priorities are funnel proof until the next funnel deadline on March 18.