What is there, really, to say about the end of the session? I feel like I can’t say much, because so much of the real work has yet to be done. Budget negotiations are at an absolute standstill, which is where they’ve been for months. The new fiscal year begins July 1st.
What did this session accomplish? There were a few noteworthy pieces of legislation, including the health care plan SustiNet, the codification of gay marriage into our statutes, and the repeal of the death penalty. There were also some rather spectacular failures, like the attempt to change the governance structure of the Catholic Church.
However, that 500 pound gorilla, the budget, is still sitting in the room. They’ve been ignoring it all session long, but they really can’t ignore it much longer. They can’t do what they did last year, which was to stay absolutely still, change nothing, and hope it went away (it didn’t). Major decisions regarding service cuts and/or tax increases need to be made. No budget gimmicks will save them this time. Whatever they and the governor eventually decide, a lot of people will be unhappy. It will not be pleasant, which is why, like a college student faced with a 20-page paper, they’ve been putting it off.
The 2009 session is over. But really, I feel like it hasn’t even started.