|March 23, 2013||Ed bills face Thursday deadline||no comments|
|March 18, 2013||Medicaid solutions numerous, but not guaranteed||no comments|
|March 08, 2013||Rural Caucus formed in House||no comments|
|March 01, 2013||Charter schools likely to conference?||no comments|
JACKSON -- The House has until Thursday to send three significant education bills to conference or they die.
* The omnibus bill that includes charter schools, third grade reading gate and enhanced standards for students going into teaching.
* A proposal to have the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula for local school districts recalculated every year instead of every four years.
* A proposal to put into law the definition of how long a student must stay at school each day to be considered in attendance, thus, eligible to be counted by the district for state Adequate Education funds.
It appears the Republican leadership in the House does not have the votes to pass the omnibus bill and send it to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature. But the other proposals in the legislation already are in conference in other bills where House and Senate leaders on education issues will meet in the coming days to try to hammer out differences.
The MAEP funding formula changes and the attendance proposal are not alive in other bills in conference, but there might be an opportunity to add those issues to legislation already in conference.
Sometimes it seems that proposals never die during the legislative process.
JACKSON -- With the legislative session quickly coming to an end (scheduled to conclude April 7) the question is what will become of Medicaid.
I am not talking about the proposal to expand Medicaid. I am simply referring to the current Medicaid program that provides health care for poor children, poor pregnant women the disabled and for some services for the elderly, such as keeping granny in the nursing home.
The legislation that would re-authroize Medicaid was killed in a fight over whether to expand the program as part of federal law.
At this point, the leadership could attempt to garner a two-thirds majority in both chambers to revive legislation to expand the program. But that seems difficult since Republicans and Democrats are still fighting over whether to expand the program.
Gov. Phil Bryant could call a special session -- either within the current session or after the regular session ends. Medicaid's current authorization runs through June so there is a little time, though, there is no guarantee an agreement could be reached in special session.
The final option would be for the governor to run the program through some type of executive order/court conservatorship garnered by Attorney General Jim Hood. Hood got such as court order early in former Gov. Haley Barbour's tenure for the governor to run the Department of Human Services for a brief time. There is a possibility any action to run the program without legislation could be challenged in court.
There are many possible solutions to the pending Medicaid crisis but all could face roadblocks.
JACKSON -- A new rural caucus has been formed in the Mississippi House.
The group consists of more than 30 members and of both Democrats and Republicans representing rural areas of the state.
"We formed this group so that those of us who represent Mississippians living in rural areas will have a strong voice on behalf of our citizens," said Rep. Preston Sullivan, D-Okolona, who along with Willie Bailey, D-Greenville. and Bill Pigott, R-Tylertown, are the co-chairs of the group.
"We know that the interests and issues facing Mississippi's rural communities are important to the welfare of our state," Sullivan added.
It is yet to be determined how effective the new group will be in the 122-member House under the chamber's Republican leadership.
JACKSON -- It appears that charter school legislation is heading to conference where leaders from the House and Senate will try to hammer out their differences near the end of the session.
The Senate Education Committee has inserted its charter school language in the House charter school bill. If the House Education Committee takes up the Senate bill, it is expected to return the favor by placing its language in the Senate bill.
Groups such as the Parents Campaign have endorsed the House proposal while supporters of a more expansive charter school law have endorsed the Senate plan.
If they choose to, the groups supporting the House bill could try to lobby the full Senate to adopt the more restrictive House version when the bill is brought up for a vote before the full chamber.
If they were successful, the proposal would go straight to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature.
That appears unlikely, especially considering Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' mastery of the Senate and the likelihood he wants to go to conference to try to garner more concessions from the House resulting in a more expansive charter school program.