Final Week of 2024 Legislative Session

May 14, 2024
Lawmakers are attempting to wrap up their work for the 2024 legislative session this week, and must do so by 7:00 am on Monday morning. There is much left to do, with 20 conference committees still needing to agree on policy and spending priorities as well as passage of a bonding bill. Progress appears to have been made on the bonding front with a joint hearing of the House and Senate Capital Investment Committees scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. The funding levels for the DEED bonding programs, BDPI and TEDI remain unchanged in the latest version of the bill, both being funded at $2 million. As a reminder, no budget or policy bills are required to be passed this year, so there could be conference committees that do not come to agreement before the session is adjourned.

The Jobs and Economic Development Conference Committee finally met for their first hearing on Monday evening, with a walk through of the House and Senate bills and adoption of some provisions that were carried in both bills. Negotiations will continue behind the scenes as they try to work out differences, the main one being the amount of spending from the Workforce Development Account, which the House bill spends at a much higher level than the Senate.

The other major conference committee EDAM is tracking is the Transportation/Labor/Housing Committee which contains the prevailing wage expansions that we have touched on in previous updates. The House and Senate take different approaches to these new prevailing wage requirements, with the House applying prevailing wage to all tax increment financed (TIF) projects as well as any projects utilizing low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC). The Senate version does not apply to TIF projects, but does apply to LIHTC projects.

A handful of labor-related provisions have been adopted by the conference committee, but they have not yet addressed the prevailing wage language. EDAM submitted a letter on this issue to the conference committee and has had conversations with conferees to outline our concerns, but are at this time unsure what if any will be included in the final conference committee report. The committee is likely to meet every day until final agreement is reached on all three budget areas of the bill.

The Tax Conference Committee has also been meeting regularly with House and Senate conferees meeting over the weekend and trading public offers back and forth. A less expansive additional prevailing wage requirement is in play in the tax bills as well with conferees attempting to make changes to how local sales taxes are authorized and utilized. Major capital projects such as convention centers and airports that utilize local taxes could be subject to prevailing wage requirements. The House and Senate have different approaches on this and many other tax policy that have yet to be ironed out.

With only a handful of legislative days remaining, it promises to be a busy week and weekend at the Capitol!