House and Senate Committees reconvened this past week. The House debated a variety of bills, including Governor Bill Lee’s permit-less carry bill, which passed out of subcommittee. The Senate only held one Committee, Senate Finance, and heard from Butch Eley, Commission of Finance and Administration. Commissioner Eley gave an overview of federal funding received by state and local governments within the State in response to COVID-19. He stated we could see a new budget proposal, which would include budget cuts across state government. Though sales-tax numbers for April are not expected until mid-June, Eley said early numbers indicate a 15 percent drop, even more severe than the 6 percent drop seen in March. The Administration is looking at ways to reduce government spending without having to tap into the rainy-day fund, possibly including looking at reserves held by agencies and regulatory boards.
Both chambers will begin floor sessions the week of June 1 as well as Committee meetings. The Senate has been vocal that they plan to pass only budget and coronavirus related legislation and other time-sensitive measures.
Among these is a safe harbor bill insulating businesses and governmental entities from liability for their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure will be considered by the House and Senate judiciary committees.