Today 2013.01.29 the Senate moved to commit s.22 (the Department of Administration bill) to the Senate Finance Committee (sfc) for further study. The sfc wished to examine the bill because Senate Rule 19A states that legislation dealing with the State Budget and Control Board are under their purview.
As part of the motion the Senate also set a date certain of Wednesday, February 20th for the bill to be considered by the full Senate. By doing this the bill has been placed in Interrupted Debate status thus ensuring s.22 will be under consideration on Wednesday, February 20th and on days going forward until the bill receives 2nd reading.
Upon receiving 3rd reading the bill will then be placed in the status of 3rd reading Interrupted Debate. Interrupted Debate is important because a single Senator object cannot desire to delay debate and must be considered by the Senate. This was a unanimous consent motion, receiving no objection.
Here’s what’s important to remember about this procedural motion:
1-s.22 is automatically placed in interrupted debate. This status is a higher priority than even bills placed on special order. Special order status requires 31 votes and is sometimes difficult to achieve.
2-A time is set certain to debate the bill. Many folks (including myself) were concerned that committing s.22 to sfc may lead to slowing down or killing its progress. Setting a time certain satisfies this concern.
3-Point of order. If someone made the point of order that s.22 was out of order by the Senate Judiciary Committee based on rule 19*, this point of order could be sustained, thus killing s.22 altogether.
*Rule 19.a – Standing Committees of the Senate. The Standing Committees of the Senate shall be as follows and shall have jurisdiction over legislation, appointments and other matters which fall within the title or titles of the Code of Laws as are herein below enumerated for each of the Committees:
Finance – Titles 1 (State Budget and Control Board), 4 through 6 (bonding authority, taxation, finances), 8 (employment standards, retirement, deferred compensation), 9, 10, 11, and 12
4-sfc cannot amend s.22. Since the restricting bill is a Judiciary Committee Bill, any amendments passed is sfc, will not be applied to the bill without the vote of the full senate.
I was committed to voting against any effort to commit s.22 to sfc unless there was a concrete agreement that it would be back on the calendar. This agreement is much better than I’d hoped and I am comfortable that this agreement will ultimately lead to a full floor debate on s.22.