LAWMAKERS SET REVENUE ESTIMATE
Lawmakers paved the way for budget discussions for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year, which begins July 1, by advancing $33.719 billion as the official revenue estimate.
Determined after a serious bipartisan discussion of fiscal experts’ reports and projections, the estimate is about $221 million below estimates from the Governor's office and $271 million below estimates from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.
The revenue estimate must not be viewed as a spending target, and are opposed to any budget plan that includes increased and unsustainable spending. Cuts and reforms will need to be made across the board, including the Medicaid program and public employee pensions and healthcare.
BILL NARROWS SCOPE OF CONTROVERSIAL LAW
We spent much of our week in committees, advancing bills through the legislative process in anticipation of the March 9 committee approval deadline.
One measure, which passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee, will amend a controversial law passed in 2011.
That law targeted the criminal use of industrial-grade cleaning products as a way to harm or disfigure victims. It required customers to provide identification and sign a log when purchasing these types of caustic materials. However, varying interpretations of the law led retailers to strictly apply the restrictions to many commonly-used household products, for fear of being found in non-compliance.
Senate Bill 3655 narrows the scope of the 2011 law by specifically exempting “household products” from the requirements and providing greater clarification for retailers as to what products are covered by the registry. Under the new measure, customers would not have to sign a log and provide identification to purchase products customarily made or sold for home use, such as cleaning agents, drain cleaners, pesticides, epoxy, paint, stain, and similar items.