Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gov. Steve Beshear vetoes most provisions of Medicaid bill

This from the Courier-Journal:

Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday stripped the Medicaid budget bill of cuts to education as well as other provisions, leaving what amounts to his original proposal for dealing with the program’s funding shortfall.

“I'm coming forward to restore common sense to the mission of rebalancing the state's Medicaid budget,” Beshear said at a news conference where he detailed his veto of most parts of House Bill 1, sent to him by a special session of the General
Assembly Thursday night.

“… I will not make drastic cuts to classroom teaching, to our veterans programs, to public safety, to our social workers, to higher education and numerous other services when there is no need to do so,” he said...

Still to be resolved is how the session finally ends. The House adjourned for good Thursday night, with no intention to return. The Senate adjourned until a final day on April 6 — when Beshear's deadline for issuing vetoes would have expired.

And the major players continued to squabble Friday over the issue of pay for all legislators for each day until the Senate finally adjourns. A legislative session costs taxpayers about $64,000 per day.

The Senate included in its version of HB 1 a provision that no lawmaker could be paid during the 12-day waiting period for vetoes. But the governor struck that language from the bill as one of his vetoes Friday.

He said that clashed with a provision in the Kentucky Constitution that he said “states something to the effect that legislators can't change their pay during the session in which they vote to make such a change.”

Stumbo agreed with that. And he urged Williams to convene the Senate as soon as possible to adjourn and thus conclude the session.

But Williams said no lawmakers will be paid for any days after Thursday if the House returns and overrides Beshear's veto of the provision that bans legislative pay for the 12 days.

“The Senate will come back on the scheduled day (April 6) unless we are able to convince the House to come back sooner,” he said.

Stumbo said the House has no intention of returning...

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