“The bill will streamline the process and help us not to load up our prisons with non-violent offenders,” Miller said.
Thompson said this session has moved along very smoothly due to better scheduling at the Statehouse.
“We’ve had the best schedule management ever,” he said. “We’ve had over 100 bills on the schedule and we’ve only had to work past dinner a few times. In the past, it has been routine to work up until after 11 p.m.”
Thompson said he is currently “knee-deep” in fine tuning the budget bill (House Bill 1001) which has passed by the House and Senate.
He said the bill maintains healthy reserves and accelerates the phase-out of the death tax; reduces taxpayer-funded debt by paying off bonds on state-owned facilities; provides an additional $354 million for K-12 education; prioritizes higher education without adding a penny of debt, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest by investing $197 million into infrastructure projects on university campuses; provides an additional $250 million per year in sustainable funding for roads and bridges; and invests an additional $33 million into workforce training programs and another $23 million into programs for economic innovation.
The bill passed the House 68-28 and the Senate 38-12, and is in conference committee.
He said legislators are focusing on the economy.
“When I first entered the House in 1999, 28 percent of students were receiving free or reduced lunches,” Thompson said. “Now 47 percent are receiving free and reduced lunches. What if that goes up to 66 percent? We need to figure out what’s going on in our society that’s making this happen.”