Do You Feel Like You’re Winning? | June 2023 Legislative Update

By Aaron Zappia, Senior Government Relations Manager

Do You Feel Like You’re Winning?

In the final days of budget negotiations, rumors and speculation abound regarding the state budget’s timeliness and what may or may not be funded.  As far as budget negotiations go, this one seems relatively low on drama with a much smoother ride than the more memorable budget sagas of the past; however, bets are still on that it will run over the July 4th weekend. 

I was recently asked by a lobbyist friend, “Do you feel like you’re winning?”.  It’s a wonderfully blunt question in a business where folks often prefer to speak in riddles.  The simple answer is yes.  Easily yes. 

Legislators of radically different politics and geographies have advanced a bill in each Chamber increasing the PHARE cap to $100 million.  SB 532 and HB 1316 are identical companion bills unanimously approved by House and Senate committees.  The Senate bill is making a stop in the Appropriations Committee for a fiscal note and the House Bill has been re-referred to the Committee on Rules.  These are not bad things, just necessary stops along the way.  The lawmaking process generally moves along very slowly, and then suddenly.

I can report with great confidence that both PHARE and Whole Home Repair are well known to all those in leadership in both the House and the Senate.  Understandably, no legislative leader can make promises, but the case has been to those who are negotiating a final spending plan.  As one Senator put it to me this week, “Yep, it’s all in the soup”—and that’s encouraging coming from someone who stirs the pot. 

“Do you feel like you’re winning?” might not always be an easy question to answer, but it will always make us answer the most important question, “what do I need to do to win.”  So many of our members and partners are doing what it takes to win, and it has positioned our issue to get done.