Legislative Flavor for March 25, 2021

By the time many of you read this, the Commission will have released their budget proposal summaries for the draft operating and capital budgets put out by the House and Senate. At this point on Thursday evening, we are still waiting on the House operating budget to be released. I will leave the full details to their expert opinion, focusing instead on the major highlight thus far and what comes next.

As I have been accused of burying the lead of a good story more than once, I will shout from the rooftops that $5,000,000 in Conservation Technical Assistance is included in the proposed Senate Operating budget for the ’21 – ’23 biennium. Yes, that is $5 million with a capital M. A couple of Senators will be receiving very sincere thank you note once this is all over. And I’m sure their local districts will be doing the same for the work put in by their local legislators.

Why WACD will likely wait to send thank you cards is because seeing the money in the draft budget is not the be-all end-all. We have to see it in the compromise budget worked out between the House and the Senate and sent to the Governor. The legislators are now in a headlong rush to get their proposals through their respective committees and voted out before whatever deals were struck fall apart. WACD will work to ensure CDs don’t fall out of the boat along the way and ensure any little leaks that spring up will get patched. Where most districts can make their voices heard is once the House and Senate vote out their respective budgets and are negotiating between the two versions. That process will play out next week, and we will have more details once we know all the pieces in play.