While the status of many high profile bills being considered this legislative session has been well-publicized, today's crossover deadline provides a good indication of where hundreds of other bills are likely to end up when the session ends next month.
On crossover day, bills proposed in one chamber that have not passed and been sent along to the other chamber are likely dead. Bills could still make it through, but they would have to go through the Rules Committee, and history suggests that doesn't happen often.
And just because a bill has made it through one of the chambers, it still may not automatically make it through the other.
The state government website listed more than 1,100 bills that had been proposed in the Senate Friday. The status update for those bills spanned 65 pages. The website also listed more than 1,500 bills in the House of Delegates. The status updates for those bills spanned 105 pages.
By far, the vast majority of bills never make it out of committee. In many cases, once they are introduced and assigned to a committee at the beginning of the session, they are for all intents and purposes dead. Committee chairs have drawers full of bills that are not even brought up for debate.
But there is value for lawmakers in proposing bills, even if they know there is little chance of them passing. Ideas contained in those bills can be transferred to other relevant bills. For instance, a budget-savings idea might not get a hearing in committee, but may have even support to be included in the discussions held for the budget bill.
Other ideas take time for lawmakers and the public to warm up to. It is not uncommon for bills to return year after year, perhaps undergoing minor tweaks, and gaining more and more support until eventually they pass. Supporters of bills to legalize marijuana conceded early on that there probably wasn't much chance of that happening this session, but myriad other bills related to such things as decriminalization and medical marijuana have gotten considerable attention. And you can be sure that the effort to legalize the drug will be back in future legislative sessions.
Of more concern for local communities is the status of bills that have been introduced by our own representatives, especially the ones that apply strictly to Carroll. As we have seen in past years, passage of a local bill in one chamber doesn't mean it is going to make it through the other chamber. But if they do make it through, at least their chance is still alive, and we can continue to hold out hope the bills will pass.