The state operating budget is the largest policy and funding bill that is introduced at the beginning of each General Assembly. The operating budget allocates funding for two state fiscal years that begin annually on July 1. Budgets are typically introduced in February, but in terms with a newly elected Governor, they must be introduced no later than March 15. The budget is introduced in the House of Representatives and is vetted by the House Finance Committee along with a number of subcommittees by topic area. Once the full chamber votes to approve the budget proposal, the process starts over in the Senate. Statutorily, the budget must be passed by June 30, however, extensions are sometimes approved, as was the case in 2019. Once the two chambers work through their differences, the bill is sent back to the Governor where there is an opportunity for line-item vetoes. If the legislature is in disagreement with the Governor’s vetoes, the state constitution requires a three-fifth’s majority for an override.
Stay tuned for the review of the state operating budget as it relates to mental health and addiction disorders.