The Senate took up the House's copy of the state budget today, tacked on amendments to conform it to its own version and sent the whole thing back across the hall to the House.
With that, the Democratic leadership resolved week-long bickering over which house would prevail on the budget--an issue that had more to do with ritual and legislative egos than with substantive disputes over spending priorities in the last half of the 1982-1984 biennial.
In years past, the budget always originated in the House Appropriations Committee, where most major changes in the governor's proposal were made. But this year, tired of getting second crack at spending priorities, the Senate Finance Committee weighed in and produced its own amendments to Gov. Charles S. Robb's proposed budget on the same day as the House committee.
The two budget bills passed their respective houses last week, and since then the two committees have argued over which one should serve as the final vehicle to be reshaped during a joint conference committee next week. House Appropriations chairman Richard Bagley has staunchly insisted on the House's traditional perogatives and today, the Senate acquiesced.
After the Senate's action, the House Appropriations committee today began its official review of the differences between the two budget bills. It will likely recommend rejection of many Senate-sponsored items, propelling the budget into a joint six-member conference committee.