Legislative news – 04/27/2012
Budget Deal is Elusive
The final budget deal which is necessary to conclude the 2012 legislative session remains out of reach. This leaves the various budget conference committees in limbo as they await the final allocations. In addition, the major policy issues – mental health, education and property taxes – remain unresolved. While the overall spending number has apparently been agreed to, the two sides cannot come to agreement on how to allocate that number across the various state programs or how to spend one-time money. The House sent members home after debate on Wednesday and indicated that the earliest they would return to work is Tuesday. The Senate continued to move forward some bills but is also running out of legislation to debate. This may seem like déjà vu as a similar impasse occurred last year with the Legislature finally adjourning on the last day of the state’s fiscal year. Insiders predict that if significant progress toward a final deal is not made in the next week or so, the Legislature will take time off for primary elections and return in mid-June.
House Passes Mental Health Reform
The House adopted SF 2315, the bill which redesigns the state’s mental health delivery system. The bill was amended on the House floor and returns to the Senate for further consideration. The bill, as amended, does not create scope of practice issues and resolved many concerns raised by IMHCA. The financing issue is still problematic and the question of how much funding to provide continues to be debated. The Senate has not yet taken action on the House amendment. IMHCA is monitoring the bill.
HHS Conference Committee Meets
The conference committee on SF 2336, the FY 2013 health and human services budget, met briefly in an organizational meeting. No action was taken other than to adopt the two chairs of the conference committee. The committee did not meet again and is not expected to meet until the final budget allocations are determined.
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