[r75] BLT: Drawing near to the end of session (4/12/2011)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Start Date: 4/12/2011 All Day
End Date: 4/12/2011

Drawing near to the end of session

As we near the end of session, things at the Statehouse get both busy and exciting. This week we cleared our calendar of bills that are to go through the legislative process this session. That does not mean that we are done discussing or amending bills, however, and I'll get to that later.

A bill I authored that would form a summer study committee to study the unlawful ingestion of illegal substances, substance abuse by women that cause the death of their delivered child, and how offenders should be punished was approved in the Senate this week and will come back to the House for a final up or down vote. It will go to the Governor's desk for his approval should the House give it the final green light.

Currently it is only illegal to possess illegal substances, but current law does not specifically address what happens when a person actually ingests these substances. One of the main reasons I authored this bill was after hearing the horrid story of a pregnant woman ingesting illegal drugs that resulted in the death of her delivered baby. Having a study committee research these issues will hopefully lead to future legislation that will deal with these problems and provide guidelines on how to deal with offenders.

As I mentioned earlier, even though we cleared our calendar of bills to be heard this session, we are not done yet. Next week we will be ironing out final details for a number of bills in conference committees.

As you likely know, a bill must be approved in both the House and the Senate before it may go to the Governor's desk for his final approval. If a bill is amended in the other house, the original author of the bill may either consent or dissent to the changes. If the author consents to the changes, the bill will come back to the original house for a final up or down vote of approval; if the author expresses dissent, the bill comes to a conference committee made up of legislators from both houses in which the legislators and author of the bill must come to a compromise on the bill.

If a compromise is found, the bill will go to the original house for final approval by the legislators and continue on to the Governor's desk should it be approved. The bill will die if no compromise can be found. These conference committees are an important part of the legislative process where the fate of many bills is decided, and they will certainly keep us busy over the course of the next week.

I would like to thank everyone again for all of the valuable input you have provided me over the course of the session and encourage you to keep that feedback coming as we finish up next week. That's all for this week's update. Be sure to check in next week when I sum up the end of my first session here at the Statehouse.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)