Speaker Dean Cannon has written a memo to his colleagues laying out the rules for the last week of Session. It’s worth a read:
As we enter the final week, it seems an appropriate time for a reminder regarding the basics of House Rules, practices, and procedures.
Chairman Grimsley and Chairman Alexander are expected to resolve all outstanding items in the General Appropriations Act and Implementing Bill today. They will continue to meet over the next several days to resolve outstanding issues related to conforming bills.
House Bills on Second Reading
Sunday, March 4, 2012, was the 55th day of the regular session. Pursuant to House Rule 10.18, the House may no longer consider a House bill on second reading. If your House bill was not on a Special Order Calendar by last Friday, March 2, 2012, then you should not anticipate that your House bill will be considered by the House.
Senate Bills Not Previously Considered by the House
Pursuant to Rule 10.19, the House may not take up (for the first time) Senate bills after Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Over the last two years, our consistent House practice has been not to vote on a Senate bill unless the House companion bill has been reported favorably out of all of its committees or the Senate bill itself has been referred to and voted out of House committees.
In the past, some Members have confused House messages with returning messages. A bill in House messages is a Senate bill first passed by the Senate that has not yet been heard in the House. The House’s consideration of that bill will be governed by the rules and procedures outlined in the paragraph above. A bill in returning messages is a bill (either a House bill or a Senate bill) that has already passed the House and has been amended by the Senate.
The House may consider returning messages from the Senate until Day 60 of Session.
In working with your Senate sponsors on the content of returning messages, please be aware that the House will not accept returning messages that seek to bypass the prohibition on considering bills that are dead in committee. I have tasked our House Committee Chairs with reviewing returning messages to ensure that unctuous, unvetted policy issues are not introduced during the last week of Session.
We will begin Session each day at 10:00 a.m. However, due to the large volume of House bills in Senate messages and the comparatively few Senate bills in House messages, Members should anticipate extended recesses throughout the day. Until final adjournment for each day, Members are advised to remain within 30 minutes of the Capitol.