Monday lawmakers and lobbyists hustled across the rotunda that connects the chambers to assemble the votes to keep their bills alive, lest they fall victim to “Drop Dead Day” at the Capitol.
Drop Dead Day is the last day for lawmakers to debate bills from the opposite chamber. After 6 p.m. Monday, both chambers have to agree in a two-thirds vote to let a bill even be considered, so if a bill wasn't heard yesterday, it's more than likely dead.
There were a few casualties: after part of Senate Education Chairman Conrad Appel’s higher education funding package failed, the rest was left behind.
Sen. Bodi White’s bill to cleave another chunk of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System was not debated. But Rep. Erich Ponti, who is carrying the bill in the House, isn’t concerned because they’ll need the same two-thirds vote to debate it as to pass it.
Rep. Terry Landry tried twice to tack on an amendment onto Sen. Appel’s higher ed bill.
“It’s the ruling of the Chair that the amendment is not germain," Speaker Chuck Kleckley twice ruled. "The bill deals with a funding formula for higher ed, and the amendment deals with limiting LSU to enter contracts.”
Sen. Dan Morrish tried to attach an entire failed bill to delay new rules for teacher evaluations to a bill that would restructure the Department of Education. Senate President John Alario shot it down.
But the scramble didn’t overshadow the bigger frenzy, to conclude budget negotiations in the remaining 3 days of session. The House will likely turn down the Senate’s version of the budget, which will force three members from each side of the rotunda to the negotiating table.