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Senate | June 25, 2013 | Committee Room | Appropriations

Full MP3 Audio File

Ya'll take your seats. Let's go ahead and get started. Senator Stevens here, so we can proceed. Senator Stevens is here, so we can proceed. Let me introduce the pages; [??] for Senator McKissick; Dana Walker, Senator Kinnaird. Ya'll raise your hands so we know you. Thank you. Rebecca Howard, Senator Jackson; A.J. Smith, Senator Hartzell; Garrett Barlowe, Senator Soucek; McKenzie Aimes, Senator Brock; Taylor Dozier, Senator Brock; and our illustrious, thank ya'll for serving very much, pages. Hope ya'll enjoy your time here and that you actually learn something. Our Sergeants-at-Arms, are Steve Wilson, Ernie Sherrill, Anderson Meadows, Charles Harper, and Steve [??] McKegg. Today we're going to--we have a committee substitute--I need a motion to adopt the committee substitute for purpose of discussion. So moved by Senator Tillman. All in favor, say aye; all opposed. Senator Brunstetter is going to introduce the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Members, this is our continuing resolution--continuing resolution is in a fairly standard continuing resolution format. A couple of things to point out to you--one is that the spend rate in Section 1 is at 95% of the current--of the current year spend rate. And, let's see, another--the--it also, in the last section of the bill, there is a further Medicaid shortfall fix, which is a little unusual to find in a continuing resolution. What this does, it takes House Bill 980's amount, and moves it from 451 million up to 496 million; the Medicaid situation continues to be difficult to get a handle on; the check writes have been high, and so this will give some additional ability to deal with current year Medicaid shortfall. The expiration date--this is a 30 day CR--and we'll evaluate where we are when we get to the end of this CR. So, with that, I'd be happy to answer any questions, Mr. Chairman. Appreciate your support on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Brunstetter. Any, any comments from the public? Senator Ford. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Quick question as it relates to this process. If it's at 95%, does that mean that 5% won't get funded, and what's that 5% that won't be funded for the 30 days? [SPEAKER CHANGES] It--it does mean that the--OSBM has to manage the budget within a lower dollar figure--and that's done in part because we know with the Medicaid increases that are coming this year, we've had to find offsetting savings in other areas. To put it in perspective, it's not unusual to have a percentage number in there--I think the last time there was a significant CR, it might have been 2007, that that number was 84%. Essentially, this is just a stop-gap. The idea is to get us past these negotiations--to keep the government going for a period of time--but give everybody the incentive to get a deal done. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman, Mr. Chairman, I want to make a motion, but I want a question for Senator Brunstetter. The check writes are high now, at this time of the year. Traditionally, I think they are high. Are we projecting that high rate of check writes to continue, or are we projecting it to fall back to a more normal rate? And, in our figures that we're--we're adding money to the budget. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The answer I'm sure that everybody would like to know what a normal rate is on--on the Medicaid check writes. There was--there has been a spike in the last week or two in the check writes. We had some of the same activity last year towards the end. One thing that's possible is that people are getting their claims in in anticipation of a shift over to the MMIS system. But, I think that what you'll find is that fiscal staff, OSBM, and others are still evaluating the reason for the spike. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What I'm interpreting from that answer is, though, they are high now, we really don't know what the trend will be as it seems to change, the numbers changed from week to week--month to month, on this continuing problem with Medicaid. With all that [end of data]

though, I'll make a motion for favorable? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Well hold that motion. Senator Robinson, did you have a question? [SPEAKER CHANGE] oral health items were items that were not funded in either the House or Senate budget so they are not in controversy. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Just one follow up to. I noticed that in 10-A you set in-state tuition rates for community colleges, and out of state, I don't see, and I am going real quick, I don't see anything for university systems. Are there any changes since their budget is also going to be ?? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Essentially some of the factors as you know the university budgets are still in controversy and the idea here is not to disadvantage either the House or the Senate in their position on negotiations. The items on community colleges are not in controversy. [SPEAKER CHANGE] so the universities will still be, sorry, follow up, the universities will be as is right now? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Well everybody is at 95% but yes. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Other questions, comments from the committee? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Mr. Chair? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes, Senator Nesbitt. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Can you explain to us why we are going 30 days or 31, I guess, past June 30 as opposed to 10 days or 15 days or even 5 days would suit? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Well we could have picked an unlimited time, we could have picked a longer time. I think 30 days accommodates enough time to go ahead and get the tax package finalized and get the budget negotiated. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Well, let me ask you this, on Medicaid, does this mean you all take back all of those bad things you said about us on Medicaid overruns? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Nesbitt, I don't remember ever saying anything bad about you in public. [SPEAKER CHANGE] We usually read it on your blog. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Alright, is there any comments from the public? If there are no more questions from the Committee, we have a motion from Senator Tillman, unfavorable as to the bill but favorable as to the Senate Committee Substitute. All in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGE] All opposed? Motion passes. Senate is adjourned. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Bryant came in and I'm sure she has a question but she doesn't realize we just passed a bill. You don't? Well I came for your question