Thursday, December 07, 2006

Senate Review by Senator Randy Bass

Even though the 2007 Legislative session will not formally begin for several more weeks, preparation is well underway and in fact has been going on for the past several months.

Once the regular session ends at the end of May, many lawmakers turn their attention to issues that are on the horizon for the next year's session. Many of these issues can be complicated and require in-depth studies. For that reason, members may request interim studies on a particular topic. Generally, meetings examining these issues begin anywhere from the summer to the early fall and generally conclude before the end of the year. Often, the interim study committee will prepare a final report summarizing what has been learned in those meetings and what recommendations they may have for changes to existing law or for a new law to address the problems they've identified.

The first hard deadline Senators must meet in the legislative process is December 8, 2006. When members want to write a bill proposing a new law or a change one already on the books, they work with staff members to put that proposal into bill form and determine which part of state statutes that measure would deal with. December 8 is our deadline for making such requests.

Our next important date will be January 2,2007. In sessions that follow an election cycle, the State Constitution gives us one organizational day in January to elect the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and to adopt the rules by which we will operate for the rest of the session. That will occur on January 2.

The next import date is January 18, 2007. That is the deadline for filing all the bills a member has previously requested. Any bills that are not filed by that deadline will not be heard during the upcoming session.

Finally, the actual 2007 Legislative session will formally begin on February 5, 2007. For the next several weeks, we will then meet a series of deadlines for moving bills through the committee* process, onto the floor for full consideration by our chamber, and then face additional deadlines to move those same measures through an identical process in the House of Representatives. By law, we must conclude the 2007 session by no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, May 25th.

If you would like to learn more about our legislative calendar, or read bills that will be filed in the coming weeks, go to and follow the links for schedules, legislation, or any other area that may interest you.

As always if you have a question about a legislative matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (405) 521-5567 or by email at