This was another quiet week at the General Assembly as legislators continued work on the budget behind closed doors.
Budget chairs have indicated that a finalized budget could be released early next week and could be passed by June 1st. The two chambers plan to release an already negotiated conference report that cannot be amended. This means that members will only have a chance to vote up or down on the bill. It is likely legislators will stick around for a few weeks to address other issues once the budget process is completed.
Legislative leaders this week announced a number of funding measures to address school safety. It appears the final budget package will include more money for school resource officers, school psychologists, and school nurses. Democratic legislators also announced their plans to file companion bills on this topic.
This week the House voted to require plaintiffs in mesothelioma lawsuits to first seek out potential payments from related bankruptcy trusts before going after solvent companies. Proponents of the measure argue that this prevents attorneys from winning a claim against an employer then also receiving damages from the trust, while opponents are concerned that this added step represents a burden to the victims.