Friday, October 31, 2014

News
Lawmakers Discuss Final Days Of Legislature Session
By Catalina Trivino


Twenty-seven days have passed in this 2013 Legislative Session and there are only three meeting days left before their last day on May 20th -- and lawmakers still have a full plate to deal with.

The final days of the 2013 legislative session are here, but Alabama's lawmakers are no where near finished.

They still need to pass the next fiscal year's budgets, including the general fund and the education fund.

The general fund has passed in the House and Senate, but lawmakers tell us they're not identical bills, which means there needs to be a compromised version before sending it to Governor Bentley.

"The budgets, those are the only things we're constitutionally required to pass. I think the general fund budget should hopefully be passed out of the House and sent to the Governor on Tuesday," Said Montgomery Republican Representative, Jay Love.

"We have fooled around with a bunch of other things. Some of them important, some of them less of, but out only constitutionally mandated obligation... we have yet to fullfill. And time is slipping away," Said Montgomery Democratic Representative, Joe Hubbard.

As for other bills to tackle, Hubbard says he hopes the House will consider changes in the Common Core Standards, which are a set of rules to give a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn in school. He also hopes the Medicaid "overhaul" bill is looked into.

"It would change the way providers get paid on Medicaid and make a Medicaid more efficient and create more patient accountability and responsibility," Said Hubbard.

Love says he's primarily concerned about passing the two general fund budget bills.

"There's one dealing with hospitals and one dealing with nursing homes that deal with provider fees that are a continuation or extension of those unless those bills pass in their current form, the general fund doesn't work," Said Love.

The House and Senate will meet this Tuesday, and are expected to be nose deep in debating these bills.

 

Last year lawmakers couldn't finish their work on time, and went into a special session. If it happens again, it will cost the state tens of thousands of dollars, but Representatives Love and Hubbard believe that won't happen this year.