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The legislature finally adjourned at midnight on May 12 (or did it slide a bit into May 13?) after several botched attempts and a more chaotic than usual scramble to the finish. Confusion about what was or should be in the Challenges for Change legislation (H.792) as well as several failed efforts to reach agreement on both Challenges and the budget (H.789) with the governor delayed adjournment. Other bills hung in the balance until the very end of the session as well – the Miscellaneous Tax Bill (H.783), Health Care (S.88), and Corrections (S.292) were still up in the air on the final day. By the time the last gavel fell, everyone was tremendously relieved to depart the State House for the summer.

You will read in this report about the battles over use of the education property tax, responsibility for water quality, riparian buffers, and stormwater, renewable energy project permitting, current use, and corrections policy impacts in municipalities. No matter the session is over, these conversations are not! If the governor vetoes a bill, the legislature will reconvene to act on it June 9. Last year, the nine-member Joint Fiscal Committee met in July, August, September, October, and November, and while the straits are not as dire this year nor their latitude as broad, we should expect multiple meetings to address changes in revenue projections. The Government Accountability Committee, charged with legislative oversight of implementation of the Challenges for Change, already has scheduled meetings for June 7, July 12, August 2, September 13, October 4, November 8, and December 6. And a host of summer study committees were authorized on all kinds of subjects that relate to local governments – from charging for fire calls to regional planning and economic development to undergrounding of utilities in downtowns.

Use the link below to get the coplete report.

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, July 12, 2011