The legislative session isn’t three weeks old yet and already it looks like rules are starting to be bent to meet internal deadlines.
Email alerts from the legislative information system at 6:42 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. Friday alerted the public of bills added to the agendas for Monday morning hearings before the House Agriculture and Housing committees.
The housing committee added HB1117 to its 8:45 a.m. agenda, while the agriculture committee added two bills and deleted two other bills from its 11:30 a.m. agenda.
The problem is that House rules seem to require public notice of Monday or Tuesday agendas before 4:30 p.m. “on the last work day” of the prior week.
Here’s Rule 11.5(1) of the House Rules:
Meetings, including decision-making sessions, of standing committees shall be public. Notice shall be publicly posted or announced on the House floor at least forty-eight hours prior to the meeting. Except for notices posted by the Committee on Finance, notice shall be posted before 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the work week for a hearing to be held on the following Monday or Tuesday. Notice of meetings may be shortened at the discretion of the Speaker upon request on the House floor by a chair or vice-chair and upon good cause shown.
It’s possible, I suppose, that the respective chairs could request a retroactive waivers from the 4:30 p.m. notice requirement during the floor session on Monday, but such after-the-fact remedies wouldn’t seem very fair to the public.
It’s still early in the session, so there will be lots of chances for those who are specifically concerned about these measures to catch up. But it’s still not a good to see the rules being sidestepped so early.