Legislative Report – Senator Phil Murphy, District 20 – Week 11
Now I remember why March can be tough to handle – at least last winter was a reprieve. This time of year begins to tell the tale in the Legislature as well. We are beginning to either concur or not with the House bills. What happens is that a bill originating in the Senate upon passage is sent to the House for the entire process of hearings and committee deliberation again. If it passes without amendment in the House it will be messaged to the Governor for his signature or veto. If the House amends the Senate version and passes it, the bill is sent back to us in the Senate to concur (agree with the newly amended bill). If we do it goes to the Governor. If we do not concur with the House amendment(s), we form a Conference Committee made up of members from both houses that dealt with the bill in their committees. These confreres hash it over until they reach some sort of compromise, which can be either house’s version or some sort of middle ground.
This arena of Conference Committee is often called “The Third Half” of each session and it can get pretty creative. We still have a lot of House bills to hear for the first time in the Senate, but some are filtering back and we have begun that time whereby the second half and the third or ending period of concurrence overlap for a few weeks.
Today, Wednesday the 20th, I am going to testify in favor of 2229, our Pre-K or Early Childhood bill in the House Education committee. I have heard from Appropriations and leadership on the House side that they are going to strip the funding out, which is disheartening. Also needing my presence outside of my IB&L committee today is 2323, which mandates reporting of elderly abuse or neglect if one knows of it. You may recall that this initiative would seek to bring us to some level of protecting our senior citizens as 48 other states do. Colorado is outside the norm with us, but their Attorney General, a Republican, is pushing their legislature to adopt mandatory reporting and they are expecting to do so this session. The attorneys in the Senate are with me on this and that helps.
In IB&L we have been working on Workforce Safety Insurance in terms of the compensability of pain. This is extremely complex as both legal and medical expertise must be combined in a coherent matter. It has been contended that the language and procedure of diagnosing pain as to when and where the worsening takes place is poorly understood when combining these conditions with law. I will let you know how these turn out. Phil.