Every year, the House and Senate agree to a set of deadlines to help structure the process of getting bills done before the end of session. This year, there are actually FIVE deadlines.
1st deadline – Friday, March 27 - by this point, a policy bill must have moved successfully through the committee process in either the House or Senate to stay alive.
2nd deadline – Tuesday, April 7 – by this point, a policy bill that made it through the 1st deadline must have made it successfully through the committee process in the other body to stay alive. Bills that fail to make deadline can be revived by going through the Rules committee.
Easter/Passover recess - [this portion updated 4/3/09] the Easter/Passover recess will begin on Wednesday, April 8 and last through Monday, April 13. On those days, there will be no committee hearings or floor sessions. Legislative offices, however, will only be closed on Friday.
3rd deadline – Thursday, April 16 - by this date, which falls immediately after the Easter/Passover recess, the major finance divisions in both bodies must have finished up the omnibus appropriations bills and sent them on to the House or Senate Finance committees. If a bill misses this deadline, it will have to go through the Rules committee to get a waiver.
4th deadline – Wednesday, April 22 - this is the deadline for the House and Senate Finance committees, the House Ways and Means committee, and the House and Senate Tax committees to act favorably on the omnibus appropriation and tax bills. In other words, the omnibus bills (finance and tax) must be on their way to the House and Senate floor by this deadline.
The House and Senate will need to act quickly to pass the omnibus bills on the floor and appoint conference committees. Otherwise, they will have a tough time meeting the next deadline.
5th deadline – Thursday, May 7 - by this date, the omnibus conference committees must have finished their work and sent the final bills back to the House and Senate floor for final passage.
Apparently, the goal is to have all the omnibus bills to the Governor by May 12th.
Wow…now we can all plan our time with family accordingly.