Omnibus Bills March toward Passage

Prior to the legislative break, omnibus budget bills concluded their committee paths. A handful have already been voted on by their chambers of origin. Most bills have substantial differences between House and Senate versions that will need to be resolved either by additional floor votes or conference committees.

Committees Wrapping…with Notable Exceptions

With omnibus bill packages heading off to the floor for votes by the full chamber, most committees have concluded their work for the session. Both chambers’ Taxes committees continue to meet as they prepare to release their omnibus bills next week. The overarching finance committees—House Ways & Means and Senate Finance—had a busy few weeks examining the budgetary components of omnibus bills and will hold additional meetings throughout the next month. Informational hearings, during which no formal action is taken by the committee, may still be held between now and the start of next year’s session.

Paperwork Slows as Tensions Grow

As committees have largely concluded their work, bill introductions have slowed to a trickle, but to date there have been more than 3,200 introductions in each chamber this session. Bills that are introduced now will not be acted upon until the next session begins. The legislative session now moves into the phase of frequent, lengthy floor sessions with spirited debate.

Proposed Ban on Non-Compete Agreements

This session, both chambers have considered legislation that would render non-compete agreements unenforceable. The provisions are included in a standalone bill in the House (H.F. 1237) and also appear in the Senate Labor committee’s omnibus bill (S.F. 2782). Both sets of language include independent contractors in their definition of an employee, and define a non-compete agreement as any provision that applies after conclusion of employment to restrict (1) work for another employer for a specified period of time; (2) work in a specified geographical area; or (3) work for another employer in a capacity that is similar to the employee’s work for the employer that is party to the agreement.

Broadband Funding

On Thursday, the Senate passed its Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development omnibus bill (S.F. 1955), which includes a $60 million increase over base spending on the border-to-border broadband program as well as $40 million for the low-density program. In the House, the Agriculture omnibus bill (H.F. 2278) includes a $100 million increase in border-to-border broadband program spending and makes no change to the low-density program.

April 14, 2023