The Legislature is working its way through a large set of conference committees to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of the big policy developments for 2018 and the two-year term. Formal sessions end on midnight Tuesday, July 31st and the rush is on to rack up some legislative accomplishments. A final FY19 budget was sent to Gov. Baker on July 18th and he returned a few dozen line item vetoes along with several policy matters that were sent back with suggested changes. The Legislature is likely to override the vast majority of these and each requires a two-thirds majority, roll call vote in both branches to be overridden. While the majority party has plenty of votes to get over this hurdle, timing will play a bigger factor in the eventual outcome. All override votes must start in the House so they set the pace and with several conference committees still in negotiations, the House could put the Senate in a difficult position by delaying action on these and forcing the Senate into a race against the clock.
The Legislature has reached agreement on several matters including an environmental bond bill (H.4835) that has been engrossed by the House and should receive a similar vote by the Senate today. You may recall there were a couple of pollinator protection-related amendments filed during the Senate debate, but those were withdrawn and therefore not part of the final package. The stand-along bill (H.4041) remains before the House Committee on Ways and Means and the advocates continue to push for a favorable report. If that does not happen before July 31st, which we do not expect, then it is dead, along with all the other bills that could be deemed controversial.