For those curious about the legislative process we’re entering, here’s some general info on the next steps.
In general, a bill has to be entered and passed in one chamber of the legislature before the 30th day of the legislative session (“crossover day”). We’re around day 16 now. After a bill passes in one chamber, it goes to a Committee in the other chamber. For anything to happen, that Committee has to approve a bill; then it goes to the full Chamber for a vote. If the second bill is different in any way from the first bill, a Committeeof the two chambers reconciles the bills and then sends it back to the two separate chambers for a final vote, before the 40th day of the session.
There is no need for separate bills to be entered in the legislature; all of the discussion will be around the first bill to be entered. Other bills will be submitted in Committee as “substitutes” for the initial bill.
The Lakeside City bill has been entered in the Senate (with a new map that’s not on their website). It has gone through a sub-committee hearing and passed. Everybody expects that it will pass in the full Committee, and then in the Senate. The Senate is easy for a starter.
Then the unknowns and fun begins.
The Speaker of the House will decide on a House Committee/ Sub-Committee to consider the Senate bill. The first hint of the outcome will be: Where is the bill assigned? For example, it might be assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee. That’s a sign that the House leadership has decided to take action this year. On the other hand, Speaker Ralston could assign the bill to the special sub-committee of the DeKalb Delegation. That’s a sign that the leadership doesn’t want to deal with it this year.
If the House leadership decides that they want to take action this year, then a proposal to substitute the Briarcliff bill for the Lakeside bill will be entered in the committee. (And a Tucker bill will also be proposed, and a moratorium bill.)
The Committee (or Sub-Committee) will hear testimony, and will vote on its modified version of the Senate bill. That modified version may be the Briarcliff bill; the Tucker bill; or a changed version of the Lakeside bill; or it could be a bill encompassing two separate cities. They really can do anything they want.
This House bill will then be voted on in the full House, and will go to a conference committee of the House and Senate to come up with a final version. That bill will go to both chambers for a vote.
If the modified bill passes in both chambers, it goes to the Governor for his signature; then after another series of events, it goes to the voters in a referendum. (If there are two cities in the bill, there would be two referendums.)
There are a lot of permutations possible in this process. And the leadership of the House could just decide at any point that it’s alltoo complex; or there’s not enough time; or House membersdon’t want to antagonize any potential voters. Then a bill will emerge to delay action for a year.
It’s unfortunate that there’s still no “merger” or combination among the cityhood proposals. There’s still time, and if even two could get together, there probably could be a simple agreement for something. So far that hasn’t happened. This plays into the “do nothing” hand, because much of the House would prefer to spend their time on something else (campaign fundraising).
So we’ll see soon.