There comes a time when lawmakers have just had enough. That point was reached late Wednesday afternoon when Senators who had been waiting for the House to complete work on budget bills and send the legislation to the Senate learned no bills would be headed their way. Senator Kevin Engler (R-Farmington), the Majority Floor Leader, made clear his frustration with the lack of action on the budget.
"They say, in their wisdom, their grown-upness, that they’re not going to give us any bills until they get their conference report," said Engler. "And, if not, they’re going to take their toys and go home."
The budget process must be completed by Friday at 6 pm, meaning failure to complete work on the budget bills on Thursday would mean lawmakers could not leave Jefferson City Thursday afternoon, as is standard procedure. That would lead to quite a few Senators not being able to work at their "real" jobs on Friday. And Engler says that doesn’t appear to be a problem for Representatives.
"Over half those members down there aren’t gainfully employed, so they don’t care if they’re here Friday. They get another day of per diem, which is, you know, better than I guess going home."
Senator Tim Green (D-Spanish Lake) expressed his anger, as well.
"It can’t get any more childish than it has," said Green. "And this is a chamber – January, February, and March – did nothing the entire three months but order breakfast, lunch, and dinner for theri committee hearings. And the only thing that has increased over there is not their IQ, but their waistline."
About three hours after Senators expressed their displeasure a compromise was reached on House Bill 11 – the budget bill for the Department of Social Services. It was the only budget bill voted on Wednesday and it went down to defeat. The latest version of HB 11, along with all the other budget bills, will be voted on by the House on Thursday and sent to the Senate.