11 March 2010

Bring Out Yer Dead

As the Legislature's regular session enters its final days, The Associated Press checks for measures that appear stalled or too far behind.

The state constitution requires that the House and Senate read each bill on three separate days before voting on passage. Suspending that rule requires a four-fifths majority.

So, if a bill has not had at least its first reading by Thursday, its chances of passing by Saturday's midnight deadline appear slim.

"This year, measures that will likely miss the cut range from stiffer penalties for animal fighting rings to raising the age at which students can drop out of school," AP reports. "Teenage tanners and seat belt scofflaws are among those who have avoided new restrictions" because bills targeting them have idled.

AP also notes that "the Legislature also failed to produce any bills addressing the $8 billion liability in public retiree costs known as other post-employment benefits. Some lawmakers hope a special session later this year revisits that issue."

The Charleston Daily Mail focuses on two all-but-dead measures, the seat belt bill and one that would ban text-messaging while driving. Of the latter measure, the article said that "Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeff Kessler said Wednesday he didn't even realize the bill had been sitting in his committee."

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