The year’s General Assembly session will last for 90 days, after it started at noon on Wednesday January 9.
Major dates of interest:
January 22 (14th Day) — SENATE AND HOUSE BILL REQUEST GUARANTEE DATE
Legislators seeking to introduce bills are asked to place requests with bill drafter by this time to guarantee delivery in time for the chambers’ introduction deadlines. Stakeholders seeking to work with supportive legislators are aware of this date as an informal “cutoff” for new ideas for the current session.
February 1 (24th Day) — SENATE BILL INTRODUCTION DATE
February 8 (31st Day) — HOUSE BILL INTRODUCTION DATE
Bills introduced after this date referred to the Rules Committee of the appropriate chamber, requiring an additional hearing and process before being released to the appropriate policy committee. An obstacle, though in recent years a generally surmountable one.
In the month of February, with all bills introduced and assigned to policy committees, the most intensive work of the General Assembly will take place in committees, where the public hearings are conducted to gain stakeholder input, and refinements to legislation are resolved where warranted.
March 12 (70th Day) — Committee Reporting Courtesy Date
March 18 (76th Day) — Opposite Chamber Bill Crossover Date
By these dates, where there is sentiment to pass a bill, it should be “moving” — out of its original committee by March 13, and out of its chamber of origin by the following week. Again, not hard-and-firm deadlines, but in general this is a busy stage of the session with both chambers working long hours in committee and on their respective floors to complete work on bills they seek to pass.
April 8 (90th Day) — ADJOURNMENT “SINE DIE” (Monday)
The session ends at midnight Monday, and any legislation not completely through the full approval process by that time is defeated. The Governor then has a period of time to consider signing/vetoing legislation, and proposals that do not become law may be re-introduced at the next General Assembly session to begin the full introduction/hearing process again.
For more on the session schedule and related terminology, check out the January 2018 episode of MACo’s Conduit Street Podcast titled “Session 101” — a handy walk-through of terms and timetables for county officials and anyone following legislative activity. (Note – all the descriptions in the podcast are accurate, but mentions of dates are pinned to the 2018 session… just adjust forward by one day for the right date this year, for example last year’s Adjournment was April 9, this year it’s April 8)