One of the things that did change in the wake of the arrest of former House Speaker Ray Sansom is that lawmakers changed the way they handled the state budget.
Sansom was charged with using his power as budget chairman to slip in $6 million for a project being sought by a developer and donor.
The charges against the Destin Republican were dropped mid-trial after State Attorney Willie Meggs said he could not proceed due to a bench ruling limiting testimony from a key witness. But that happened after top Republicans changed many ways they finalized the annual state budget.
Chief among some of these changes is that there had to be a public hearing on funding for construction projects if the projects had not been recommended by the boards that oversee public schools and the state university system.
But other substantive changes also included forcing the release of all budget proviso language and all conforming bill language before it shows up in the budget. The idea was to create more transparency.
Then Senate President Jeff Atwater at the time conceded the grand jury indictment of Sansom prompted lawmakers to change how they were doing things.
"I think their feedback was valuable to us to say, 'This is the people's budget, why shouldn't we go an extra mile to make sure they see it,'' Atwater said in January 2010.
Well, it's a year later and some of the changes in place last year have already begun to fade away.
Lawmakers did hold a so-called "PECO parade" - which is where officials were asked to explain funding requests for construction projects funded as part of the "public education capital outlay" list.
But there has been a lot less information when it comes to conforming bills and even proviso language that winds up in the final budget. Why is this important? Because the conforming bills and the budget itself can only be voted up or down and they cannot be amended.
Case in point: While budget negotiators mentioned briefly $400,000 for a study of the state court system earlier this week, they did not reveal the actual substance of the study until Tuesday night when the final budget was released.
There it was revealed that the state courts study would look at consider the civil and criminal justice workload of the state Supreme Court - as well as the threshold used for merit retention vote of judges. These were concepts that were discarded in the final court reform bill, but it seems by doing a study that the issue could be revived next year depending on what the study comes up with.
But beyond that there has been scant information about the dozens of conforming bills that accompany the budget. There is a meeting scheduled on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. to discuss them, but it's unclear just what will be discussed and how much information will be revealed.
UPDATE: During that meeting, House and Senate budget chiefs exchanged offers regarding several conforming bills that accompany the budget. And while nearly all the bills were in fact presented - there are two key bills where the concepts but not the actual language has not been reviewed in public. That's the final pension bill and the bill that creates a new economic development agency.