We’re nearing the halfway point of the legislative session, and the legislature still has a long way to go. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says lawmakers tend to be most productive as they get closer to a deadline. The session ends June 8th and Dubos says most of the work will likely get done in the final two weeks.
"We tend to put things off, especially the difficult decisions and there's no shortage of difficult decisions this year, so we are at the halfway point and not nearly half of the work has gotten done," Dubos said.
The budget remains the biggest priority. The House has sent next fiscal year’s spending plan to the Senate for approval. It appropriates 97.5 percent of the revenues that the State Treasury will make available. The governor says this will lead to difficult cuts, so Dubos expects the Senate will add money to the budget bill.
"So the Senate will make some changes, most of them in line with what the governor wants, but the Senate has its own ideas," Dubos said.
Another key agenda item is criminal justice reform. Dubos expects lawmakers to focus primarily on nonviolent crime during this session. He says it will take the 2018 session to accomplish the goal of overall reform.
"We're talking about criminal justice reform, reforming the entire criminal justice code in terms of sentencing. That's a big, big issue to tackle," Dubos said.