Wednesday was a busy "committee day " for INARF issues at the State House.
INARF President Kim Opsahl spoke to the House Ways and Means Committee on the proposed biennial budget, HB 1001, during a "public comment" opportunity.
Linking to the jobs and workforce development priorities of legislators and the administration, she told the committee INARF supports full funding for Vocational Rehabilitation Services as included in the Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA) budget request and investing in the professional development of Indiana's 26,000 Direct Support Professionals. She also stated INARF's support for restored funding to the Indiana Adult Guardianship program.
Earlier today, the House Ways & Means Budget Chairman's Amendment to HB 1001 was released. INARF staff and consultants are in the process of comparing the Amendment to the Governor's budget request. INARF will share additional information after completing a full analysis of the Amendment.
Wednesday also saw the House Public Health Committee get its first look at a proposal reinforcing Gov. Mike Pence's position regarding not participating in the Medicaid Expansion included in the Affordable Care Act unless it can be accomplished through the existing Healthy Indiana Plan. Committee Chair Ed Clere (R-New Albany) laid out his plan to use managed care to control costs in the aged and disabled areas in an amendment to HB 1591.
Ms. Opsahl cautioned that "any system re-design must be developed carefully, cautiously, and collaboratively with those who understand their needs best." HB 1591 passed the Public Health Committee, 11-0.
SB 551, authored by Sen. Pat Miller (R-Indianapolis), is a similarly focused bill which passed from the Senate Health Committee by a vote of 9-3 . Senate rules require that it be reassigned to the Senate Appropriations committee for further consideration.
Supporters of HB 1011, the central Indiana mass transportation bill, cheered when they learned the bill had cleared its second hurdle-the House Ways and Means Committee. It passed 20-2. The bill would allow residents of Marion and Hamilton or other "donut" counties to establish a metropolitan transit district. A voter referendum could authorize an additional local income tax to fund the district. The bill now goes to the House floor on Monday.
SB 500, Sen. Miller's group home conversion bill, passed the Senate 49-0 on Tuesday. Rep. Ed Clere will be the House sponsor.
Sen. Mike Delph's (R-Carmel) version of a bill creating a Veterans' Set-aside for state contracts, SB 564, passed from the Senate Commerce Committee, 6-1. In addition to the set-aside provisions, it establishes a goal per agency of 5 percent of all purchase expenditures. The bill also creates a program to encourage all units of local government to adopt a 5% goal for purchases from veteran owned small businesses. The bill has been reassigned to Senate Appropriations for further consideration.
Session activity continues next week with Tuesday being the deadline for committee action in the House. Thursday is the Senate's committee deadline.