The Senate is moving forward with its exit plan by convening Thursday night to consider an adjournment resolution. The House and Senate have not been able to agree on the terms and dates of adjournment.
Senate leaders want the House to agree to leave town until November, and take up legislation on coal ash and Medicaid then. But if the House doesn’t budge from its position to take up coal ash and other bills this week, Senate leaders are willing to approve the House adjournment resolution that calls for a Medicaid debate in November and leave coal ash and those other issues that would be eligible for consideration undone for now. Since the conference committee that was trying to work out a coal ash compromise has been dissolved, that isn’t going to happen this week.
Thursday had been set aside by both chambers to deal with any vetoes, but there were none.
Earlier Wednesday, the House Rules Committee announced it will meet Friday morning. No word yet on what is on the agenda. Democratic Representatives Tricia Cotham and Joe Sam Queen tweeted that there would be a Friday morning session of the full House.
Amy Auth, communications director for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, on Wednesday afternoon reiterated that the Senate considers its business done until Nov. 17.
“Because the short session cannot go on indefinitely, the Senate will meet on Thursday to once again take up an adjournment resolution,” she said in a statement. “We are hopeful the House of Representatives will agree to the terms the Senate recommended earlier this month – that we conclude all substantive business until a special session on both Medicaid reform and coal ash mitigation in November. We are waiting to see if they agree, and will proceed from there.”
The House adjournment resolution and its rewrite of the Senate’s resolution, both presented to the Senate on Aug. 2, would have reconvened the chambers on Thursday to take up coal ash and several other bills, and then return in November for Medicaid.
Since the Senate has made it clear it doesn’t want to talk about coal ash now, if the House doesn’t agree to postpone a coal ash discussion until November, then it very well won’t get done this year. There were differences between the two chambers’ versions of coal ash regulation legislation; an expected compromise fell through in the final hours of the session earlier this month, and the Senate dissolved the conference committee that had been working on a deal.
One of the main coal ash players, Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Republican from Hendersonville, tweeted at mid-day Wednesday that he wasn’t expecting a coal ash bill at all.