Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Cameron announced this morning that hearings that more than 1,700 citizens to the Capitol in the past two years have been cancelled because leadership asked the joint budget committee end the practice.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee was to have held two hearings this year: Feb. 1 on education, natural resources and general government agencies, and Feb. 8 on health and human services, public safety and economic development agencies.
Cameron said he was disappointed, but had to accept the will of leadership. House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill both told me they asked Cameron and his co-chair, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Maxine Bell, to suspend the hearings. JFAC will return to its historic status as the only committee not to take public testimony; JFAC only hears from state agency chiefs as it writes the state budget.
I'll have more on this in Saturday's print edition.
Meanwhile, here is the report on Cameron's statement from Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review.