Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marcellus Shale Bill Apparently Headed To Formal Conference Committee

After more than 2 hours of debate and voting on more than a half dozen amendments by Senate Democrats, the Senate tonight voted 28 to 22 to send House Bill 1950 (Ellis-R-Butler), the Marcellus Shale legislation, back to the House.
Last week, Senate Republicans gutted the bill in Committee and added the language from Senate Bill 1100 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) passed earlier by the Senate.
Sen. Scarnati said during the debate the intent is to have the House vote to nonconcur in the Senate amendments and send the bill to a formal conference committee.
This maneuver simply means negotiations will continue between the Senate and House Republicans and the Governor's Office to come to some sort of compromise on a workable Marcellus Shale drilling proposal and a laundry list of environmental protection measures.
A conference committee consists of six members-- three from the House and three from the Senate. Two members from each chamber are from the majority party and one from each chamber from the minority party. Four votes are needed to approve a conference committee report.
If an agreement is approved by the committee, the conference committee report is presented to the Senate and House for an up or down vote. Amendments are not allowed unless the rules of each chamber are suspended by a two-thirds vote.

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