Legislative Report for Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Legislative session ends tomorrow, Thursday, at noon.   

The bills that have passed the Legislature and are on the way to the Governor are 1) increased salaries for teachers with starting pay at $50K, 2)  removing opioid test kits from the drug paraphilia list to making them legal to possess (deaths as the result of Fentanyl overdoses have skyrocketed in the state) and 3) slashing interest on PayDay loans from 175% to 36%.  These bill have passed and await the Governor’s signature.

Regarding Election Reform, Senate Bill 6, was a bill that allocated funds for training election poll watchers and challengers.  It was supported by both parties and could have been passed into law.

Senate Bill 8 would allow felons and 17 years the vote, allow online registration with only a Social Security number and would have allowed absentee ballots to be sent ongoingly after only one request.  The bill was stopped before debate on a procedural move by Republican

Senate Bill 144 would make it a crime to intimidate poll workers. 

Now SB 144 has been amended with all of the above.  It is called the Voting Rights Omnibus bill containing all 3 bills, training for election workers, making it a crime to intimidate election workers, allowing 17-year-olds to vote, online registration, and a lifetime of absentee ballots.  The Democrats, who are in control of both houses and the  Governorship, are hoping to pass the bill in one fell swoop.

The budget remains the big issue in the final hours to include the fate of the Social Security tax. 

As per usual, the last-minute deals and compromises will define the 2022 Legislative session.

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