Kentucky Political News Headlines

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Special Session - Day 3 Update

Here is an update on legislative activities in each chamber from Day 3 of the Special Session, the Senate letter to the Governor regarding the Medicaid budget shortfall is available HERE:

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee met this morning and continued testimony from provider groups who would be impacted by 35% cuts if the Medicaid deficit isn't resolved.  The groups that spoke to the impact of the cuts were Kentucky Assoc of Homes and Services for the Aging, KY Dental Association, KY Association of Regional Mental Health/Mental Retardation Programs, KY Association of Private Providers, and the KY Association of Adult Day Centers.  All groups urged the General Assembly to resolve the budget problems and detailed how they would be forced to implement a  35% cut in reimbursement.  The A&R committee plans to take additional testimony tomorrow afternoon and Chairman Rand said it could be early next week before the committee takes action on HB 1 - the Governor's proposal.
The House voted on HB 2 on the floor this afternoon while in Session.  HB 2 is the legislation the Governor has touted the past several sessions that would increase the age at which students can drop-out of school.  The measure passed the House and will be sent to the Senate.  The Senate has not acted on this bill in previous sessions, and we have no indication they will do so during this special session.
Following action on HB 2, the House adjourned for both parties to caucus with their members. 
While the Senate has been fairly quiet in the previous few days, we saw activity today on a couple of fronts.  The Senate A&R committee met briefly during a recess this afternoon and passed SB 1.  SB 1 is legislation that addresses the post-secondary education funds that allow the state to comply with Federal maintenance of effort provisions. This was part of HB 305 from the regular session and while there seems to be no opposition from either side, the Medicaid budget disagreements prevented any action from being taken.

In addition, Senator Leeper (chair of the A&R committee) communicated with the body, when the Senate reconvened.  He announced to members that the Senate Leadership had sent a letter to the Governor outlining 9 principles that they have entitled Roadmap to a Responsible Solution.  The letter is available here.  It seems as though this is their attempt to begin the discussion on reaching a solution.  Speaker Stumbo and all members of the General Assembly were copied on the letter.
Prior to adjourning for the day, Senator Stivers announced that they will reconvene at 2pm tomorrow afternoon and then again at 9am on Friday.  He told members that at this time he doesn't have information as to whether some or all members would need to be in Frankfort over the weekend.  He also said that it was the Senate's hope to have HB 1 in their possession for action on Monday morning.  That doesn't seem to fit with the time guidelines provided by the House this morning.