The Capital Budget
If you have ever wondered what the House of Delegates is voting on, you can see our daily floor agenda here. The floor agenda is organized by "reports" from committees and other "calendars." Each bill is "read" on the House floor three times: First, when it is introduced and assigned to committee. Second, when it is reported out of committee (this is called second reader) and available for discussion or amendment. Third, when it is considered for final passage (this is called third reader). On the same page, you can see links to the Senate agenda as well as proceedings in both chambers from prior days.
As I was finishing drafting this email, the House passed an amended version of Board of Public Works Transparency Act that I authored with Senator Rich Madaleno. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk. The House and Senate conference committee on the budget also released the conference report on the budget, which is the final version that the House and Senate will pass. The operating budget does not require the Governor's signature. More information on both of these issues will be in a future email.
Last week I discussed the operating budget which passed the House with just five Republican dissenting votes last week. This week, the House is considering the capital budget which constitutes our state's investment in building projects such as schools, affordable housing, or health centers. The capital budget authorizes the sale of bonds for specific projects. The state has a robust process to cap the amount of debt issued to make sure it can be serviced (i.e., repaid). The Capital Debt Affordability Committee ("CDAC") is made up of the State Treasurer, Comptroller, Budget Secretary, Transportation Secretary and a public member and recommend annually a cap on new bond issuances. The Spending Affordability Committee ("SAC") is a legislative committee that makes numerous spending recommendations, including on the issuance of debt.
This year, the Governor's proposed capital budget included $995 million in new bonds, in line with the recommendation of the Capital Debt Affordability Committee and below the Spending Affordability Committee's recommendation of $1.055 billion. The legislature's capital budget altered some of the spending items but stayed at the same $995 million overall level proposed by the Governor. You can read the House's Capital Budget Committee report here.
Some of the important items in the Capital Budget for our community include:
As we do most Fridays, the WMATA-Metro Work Group met last week. Our guest was Larry Lockley, Chief Safety Officer for ATU Local 689, the labor union for WMATA's workers. We discussed many issues including safety, employee discipline, and customer service. The WMATA-Metro Work Group will have one more meeting this session. Here is a list of other topics we discussed during the year and those we heard from.
District 16 Notes
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