Hammering Out the Budget

In Floor sessions Monday each houses was dealing with the changes the other had made in the process. Often today the vote was not to accept the other houses version of the bill. That means compromises will have be hammered out in conference committee. And this session will have a lot of them before its over. There were 50 in 2003, the estimate is 80 this time around.
But it won't be the work of those committees that determines if this session ends on time. It will be the work of a small group of lawmakers meeting behind closed doors, trying to find compromises on the budget. Just a few items divide them. All day kindergarten versus the needs of higher education, new buildings at UNR or UNLV and how to keep funding the millenium scholarship. Negotiations left lawmakers this weekend angry and frustrated.
Assembly Morse Arberry, democrat from Las Vegas says "There's some anger yes, but there's also some good things. That's why were working as a small group to work things out."
Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick says "There's a much better attitude than last weekend when things blew up. We're making progress we have to get this done, and we have to get it done today."
Of course once compromises are reached the legislature staff has to crunch the numbers, write, and print the bills. That takes time, and time is running out.
Lorne Malkowich, from the Legislative Council Bureau says "We would have liked to have the budget finished by last Friday, and as we continue there's an increasing danger we won't be able to finish in time. Ever minute that passes that danger is greater."


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