Fiscal notes are attached to all non-appropriation bills to show the financial impact of the legislation on an agency. Many bills have fiscal notes that show no fiscal impact (i.e., a zero fiscal note or a statement of zero fiscal impact). Fiscal notes can go through multiple versions as a bill progresses and changes.
Who prepares fiscal notes?
Fiscal notes are typically prepared by each agency affected by a bill and uploaded into the LFD Fiscal Note System. The Governor's Office reviews fiscal notes and makes them public.
Occasionally the sponsor of a bill will prepare a fiscal note or a committee will revise a fiscal note. Once a bill passes a committee, the committee aide is responsible for passing the correct fiscal note(s) in the Legislative Finance system as well as attaching a paper copy to the bill file for the Senate Secretary or Chief Clerk. The latest fiscal note instructions can be found here.
Where do I get copies of fiscal notes?
Copies of fiscal notes that have passed out of committee maybe found on BASIS or the LFD Fiscal Note System. Both websites provide the current status of a fiscal note.
What is the difference between BASIS and the LFD Fiscal Note System?
BASIS reflects the actions of the committee and will only contain notes that have been officially passed by the committee. The LFD system contains the notes that the committee is currently considering. Once those notes have passed, they will be posted on BASIS.
In addition, the LFD system contains the ability to run reports. This shows the chronology of the notes as they are modified throughout the legislative process.
Why do some bills have multiple fiscal notes?
Bills may have multiple fiscal notes for the following reasons:
- More than one agency is affected by the bill. A bill that affects more than one agency will have a fiscal note prepared by each of those agencies.
- More than one appropriation or allocation within the agency is affected. A separate fiscal note must be prepared for each allocation.
- A bill revision may change the estimated cost of the legislation. A new note needs to be prepared if the new Committee Substitute(CS)alters the fiscal impact.
- Fiscal note assumptions are questioned or updated. Even if a bill is unchanged, a committee member (or agency) may change a fiscal note to reflect updated information.
No, a fiscal note by itself does not appropriate money. A fiscal note represents an agency's estimate of the cost of implementing a new law and can be viewed as a budget request. As with any request for a budget change, the legislature may fund less (or more) than the agency's request. The following must occur for a fiscal note to become an appropriation:
- the fiscal note must be referenced in an enacted appropriation bill;
- the reference must survive the Governor's veto; and
- the associated bill must be enacted.