Daily Legislative Update
Thursday, February 13, 2014
4th Day of 89th General Assembly—Fiscal Session
Written by Kenny Hall, Angela DeLille and Andrew Parker of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, this Daily Update is provided by the Springdale Chamber to interested members.
YESTERDAY AT THE CAPITOL
No new bills were filed in either Chamber yesterday, leaving the Senate total at 138 and the House total at 150.
The Special Language Committee met yesterday afternoon to consider three amendments to legislation concerning the private option. First, Sen. Hendren proposed an amendment to cap enrollment of the private option at the end of June and end the program on December 31. The committee rejected the amendment. An identical proposal by Sen. Bledsoe was not considered.
Rep. Nate Bell offered an amendment to halt all promotion of the private option, ending advertising, direct mail and navigators for the exchange marketplace. This special language also appears to limit promotion of the state healthcare exchange in general. The exchange marketplace will continue no matter the final outcome of the private option funding, but the growth would undoubtedly slow with no state promotion. This special language was approved and attached to several bills: SB 111 and HB 1150, but also HB 1053 and HB 1130. Rep. Bell said that it's possible the language would need to be attached to additional bills in the future.
Rep. Burris then offered special language that makes continued private option funding conditional upon the approval of a federal waiver by the end of the calendar year for the following three items: a waiver of the requirement that the state provide non-emergency medical transportation, the creation of a Health Savings Accounts program, and a cost-sharing measure for private option beneficiaries between 50 percent and 100 percent of the federal poverty line. Should the federal government not approve the waiver for all three items, private option funding would end completely. DHS Director John Selig said that he was confident the federal authorities would agree to all three conditions. This special language, which attaches to SB 1111 and HB 1150, was also approved.
Joint Budget met this morning and passed the private option appropriation bill with the attached special language.
In a meeting yesterday, the Joint Budget Committee amended HB 1149, the appropriation bill for the Department of Finance & Administration, the state’s disbursing officer for miscellaneous grants and expenses and various agency transfers. The amendment reduces the amount that state employee maximum salaries may be increased, from a 2 percent increase to a 1 percent increase for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Also yesterday, the Rules Committees passed out resolutions that will allow the introduction of a few non-budget items. The full chambers will vote on resolutions concerning four possible Revenue Stabilization Acts, the vacancy and prohibited special election of a Lt. Governor, a multi-state balanced budget compact, and approval of proposed ballot titles for the legislatively referred constitutional amendments.
State Senators: 501-682-2902
State Representatives: 501-682-6211
To view schedules, calendars, bill information and legislator information, visit: www.arkleg.state.ar.us.
To view live stream video and audio from the Arkansas House of Representatives, visitwww.arkansashouse.org.
State Chamber/AIA Staff:
Randy Zook, President/CEO: eat0@eau0eav0eaw0" target="_blank">eat0@eau0eav0eaw0
Kenny Hall, Executive Vice President: eat2@eau2eav2eaw2" target="_blank">eat2@eau2eav2eaw2
Angela DeLille, Director of Governmental Affairs:
Andrew Parker, Director of Governmental Affairs:
State Chamber/AIA phone: (501) 372-2222
State Chamber/AIA web site: www.arkansasstatechamber.com