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Daily Legislative Update

Friday, February 14, 2014

5th 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

As we previously reported, Joint Budget met yesterday morning and passed the private option appropriation bills with the attached special language. In addition, numerous other bills received a Do Pass recommendation from the committee. However, a large number of bills remain in the committee with holds placed on them. 

As a point of clarification, an amendment is usually thought of as a specific change to a particular bill. By contrast, the special language sections considered by the subcommittee Wednesday and adopted by Joint Budget yesterday can be attached to multiple bills as needed. However, the specific bills still need an actual amendment to be filed in order to complete the process. It is the amendment itself that is the vehicle to actually engross the bill with the special language. Following the Joint Budget meeting, yesterday amendments were filed to HB 1053 and HB 1130 to add Rep. Bell's special language and to HB 1150 and SB 111 to add both Rep. Bell's and an updated version of Rep. Burris's special language. See below:

 Amendment No. 1 to both HB 1053 and HB 1130 (identical legislation) prohibits the State Insurance Department (AID) from expending any state appropriation for advertising or promotion that is designed to encourage enrollment in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace or the Health Care Independence Program (the “private option”), but allows AID to respond to specific, directed inquiries and solicitations. It also prohibits AID from applying for or accepting any funds for promotion, including federal funds and prohibits AID from expending any state appropriation for guides, navigators, or counselors for the Marketplace, with the exception of counselors at health-related institutions, including UAMS.

 

 Similarly, Amendment No. 1 to HB 1150 and SB 111 (identical legislation) prohibits the Department of Human Services from expending any state appropriation for advertising or promotion that is designed to encourage enrollment in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace or the Health Care Independence Program (the “private option”), but allows DHS to respond to specific, directed inquiries and solicitations. It further prohibits DHS from applying for or accepting any funds for promotion, including federal funds and prohibits DHS from expending any state appropriation for guides, navigators or counselors for the Marketplace, with the exception of counselors at health-related institutions, including UAMS.

 

 Under the amendment, DHS will also be required to seek approval of a federal waiver for revisions to the private option, to be effective by February 1, 2015, for approval of the following three items:

 

1.    a waiver of the requirement that the state provide non-emergency medical transportation;

2.    the creation of a Health Savings Accounts program; and,

3.    a cost-sharing measure for private option beneficiaries between 50 percent and 100 percent of the federal poverty line.

 DHS will be required to submit a draft of the waiver for public comment by August 1, 2014 and to file the waiver with the US Department of Health and Human Services by September 15, 2014.  If these items are not approved at the federal level, funding for the private option will halt on February 1, 2015.

 

 NEXT WEEK AT THE CAPITOL

The Legislature will not convene on Monday, February 17 in observance of George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day.

CONTACT INFORMATION

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:

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Andrew Parker, Director of Governmental Affairs:

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 State Chamber/AIA phone: (501) 372-2222

State Chamber/AIA web site: www.arkansasstatechamber.com

 

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