The State’s Biennial Budget Bill is moving forward after the Joint Committee on Finance completed agency briefings and held public hearings around the state. The committee has been voting on measures in the bill. The Assembly leadership has announced that the house will only be in session during May on the 10th, 11th and 18th. It had previously scheduled other dates but has now scrapped them. Primary focus over the next two months will be on adoption of the budget which is designed to resolve the  state’s $3.6 billion budget deficit. The Republican-dominated Joint Finance Committee is expected to endorse the major items in the Governor’s original proposal, but a number of strictly policy items have been removed for separate action.   The Legislative Fiscal Bureau had released its list of 46 separate non-fiscal policy items contained in the Governor’s bill on April 20. The committee co-chairs also released a memo on April 20 outlining 21 non-fiscal policy items that would be stripped from the budget and not taken up by the Committee. The Committee expects to complete its action on the budget by the end of May, and observers believe that most of the significant changes to the Governor’s budget will be made in committee.

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