Annapolis Handbook Series Baltimore Citys Legislative Office Fiscal and Policy Notes Overview from the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) and also specifically relating to Baltimore City 1 Statutory Requirements The Department of Legislative Services is
required to prepare a fiscal and policy note for each bill Must be provided to committee prior to voting on a bill (in practice, submitted to committee a day or so before bill hearing) A copy of the fiscal and policy note must also be submitted to the primary sponsor of the bill 2 What a Fiscal and Policy Note Does Provides unbiased information on the fiscal and policy implications of a bill
Coordinates information from multiple State agencies, local governments, and other sources Provides guidance for committee decisions 3 Components
Policy Analysis Bill Summary (Plain English version of what the bill does) Current Law Background Legislative History Fiscal Analysis impact on the State, local governments and small businesses Provides unbiased specific analysis of bills fiscal impact on the State over a five-year period and the general fiscal impact on local governments Identifies local government mandates and State mandated appropriations Provides a rating of the economic impact on small businesses
(meaningful, minimal, or none) and discussion if meaningful 4 The Process Assign fiscal and policy note to analyst based on subject area Examine bill drafting file and contact bill drafter, committee staff, and budget analysts for relevant information Contact affected State agencies, local governments, and others that may have relevant information/data Conduct own research (library, reports, internet, etc.) Review information ask questions Develop own revenue/expenditure projections based on various sources or models
Review by review analyst and coordinator Print and distribute to committees, sponsor and post on web site Revise when bill crosses over to opposite chamber with amendments 5 The role of State agencies and Local Governments Required by law to provide information upon request Given instructions on how to respond to DLS requests prior to session Provide prompt and accurate responses
Provide any relevant information they may have, even if not directly affected Submit information via excel spreadsheet, email or fax 6 Fiscal/Committee Staff Collaboration Legislative proposals are sometimes identical to or developed from prior bill introductions Committee staff know of areas of consensus or controversies that were the basis for committee deliberations and amendments Fiscal and policy note writers use this information to provide a more complete picture of the bills overall
impact Committee staff and legislators refer to the fiscal and policy note to answer questions about what the law is and how the law would change under the bill 7 Fiscal/Committee Staff Collaboration (continued) Fiscal and policy note writers work with committee staff and the bills sponsor to: Provide preliminary estimates prior to bill introduction Alter existing proposals or craft new proposals to achieve the sponsors objectives within a cost limitation
Estimate the impact of amendments and/or work with committee staff to amend a bill to achieve the sponsors objective given cost constraints Fiscal estimates allow committees to compare the impact of different proposals and identify which/how many bills may be passed given the States constitutional mandate to balance the budget Fiscal and policy note writers also work with committee staff to identify legislation that balances the budget 8 Fiscal/Committee Staff Collaboration (continued)
When a committee bill is debated on the floor, the committee chairs floor report is developed from the fiscal and policy note with information from committee staff to reflect recent developments, testimony, issues and committee deliberations Upon adjournment, fiscal and policy note writers work with committee staff and others to develop The 90 Day Report, a summary of legislative actions, issues, and bills passed during the session. 9 Conclusions (DLS perspective)
Fiscal and policy notes are required by law and are essential to the legislative process Good communication among bill drafters, committee staff, fiscal and policy note writers, budget analysts, State agencies, and local governments is essential Provide an unbiased analysis of legislation that is complete, accurate and timely Provide guidance for committee decisions 10 Baltimore Citys role in Fiscal and Policy Note Process
DLS sends Fiscal Note Information Requests to a sample of local governments it feels might be affected by the proposed bill.
DLS provides a response time of 10 days or less (depending on hearing date) Baltimore Citys Mayors Office of Government Relations Legislative Fiscal Analyst scans through the bill to see which agencies may be affected by the proposed bill and then sends an email requesting information from each of those agencies. Email includes a local fiscal estimate worksheet an excel file which contains standard questions/information typically required from DLS. Fiscal Analyst typically asks for slightly earlier response time than DLS because he/she will still need to edit and possibly combine responses from several city agencies in order to provide the Administration response to DLS. MOGR and/or DLS may also have follow-up questions. Cannot use the legislative tracking system to submit fiscal impact responses (please return the spreadsheet via email). Final responses will be uploaded to the tracking system for reference. It may be helpful for Agency liaisons to keep their own spreadsheet or list of fiscal notes they
have been assigned, making sure to note the deadlines. Unfortunately, MOGR has not found a satisfactory method to do this for fiscal notes using the legislative tracking system. 11 Baltimore Citys role continued
Not only looking for just the fiscal or numerical response/impact, but also the policy affect/impact on each agency/the City of Baltimore. Will the bill change any process of the agency/City? Do you have any background information about this bill? Do you know why the sponsor is proposing this legislation? Was there a prior introduction to this bill? Has the impact changed? Agency can respond no impact or unable to determine impact, but it is very helpful to explain why. Agencies should complete the excel worksheet and email it to the Legislative Fiscal Analyst by the date requested. If the agency is unable to meet the deadline, please keep the Legislative Fiscal Analyst informed. When does the agency expect to be able to complete it? If the agency is unable to return the impact spreadsheet, please also make the Fiscal Analyst aware of this. If the agency believes another City Agency would be affected by the legislation
please alert the agency liaison and the Fiscal Analyst in a timely fashion so the City can still meet its deadline, and is able to provide as accurate a response as possible. 12 Example of Email Received from DLS 13 Local Impact Worksheet Cover Page(Example) 14
Fiscal Estimate Worksheet First Page/Tab of Questions 15 Fiscal Estimate Worksheet Second Page/Tab of Questions 16
Fiscal Estimate Worksheet Second Page/Tab of Questions 17 Example Final Fiscal & Policy Note (DLS version) FN SB 205 2011 RS Page 1 FN SB 205 2011 RS Page 2 18
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