The Senate revealed its $31.5-billion biennial budget proposal Thursday in the Senate Appropriations committee. While the total amount is very near the House budget, the Senate had different expenditures than the House-passed budget—higher education, highways, and community corrections/offender drug treatment appropriations were all increased.
While the 2.5% rate restoration for Respite, Facility Habilitation Individual, Community Habilitation Individual, and Residential Habilitation and Support remains in the Senate version of the budget for both years of the biennium, the $1-million appropriation per year for group homes was removed.
The $6-million annual appropriation for RHS 20 was not part of the Senate budget. From this point, the Senate will pass HB 1001 Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The Revised Revenue Forecast will be released Thursday, and HB 1001 will go to Conference Committee to work through the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. We will continue to speak with legislators in both the House and Senate and work with our partners in the industry to communicate the importance of restoring rates to the 2010 levels. Final budget adoption will likely occur very near or on April 29th, the last day for the session.
The session returned to “normal” after a week of scrambling to repair the damage done by the national furor over the Religions Freedom Act’s original passage.
Of the bills on the INARF “watch list”, two passed on Third Reading. They are:
SB 380, requiring the Law Enforcement Training Academy to include an overview of Crisis Intervention Training for new police officers, passed the House, 96-0.
HB 1401, which broadens the definition of Medicaid Fraud, passed the Senate 49-0.
The “DD Terminology bill”, SB 420, replacing “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” throughout the code, passed a Senate Concurrence vote, 49-0. A House amendment added more places within the code where the terminology needed updating, and the Senate agreed with that amendment.
Here are four bills which passed from committee this week and are eligible for Second Reading before the Tuesday deadline:
SB 166, expanding the permitted uses for the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury fund, passed from the Ways and Means Committee, 24-0.
SB 327, making changes to the charity gaming provisions, passed the House Public Policy Committee, 9-3.
HB 1265 requires a hospital to provide each admitted patient or their representative the opportunity to designate a “lay caregiver” to receive information from the hospital. It passed Senate Health 8-0.
HB 1303 was amended in the Senate Commerce Committee to increase the requirements to allow an individual “credentialed or certified” by a national professional/occupational organization to seek to place themselves on a State registry. It passed, 6-4.
A resolution asking the Legislative Council to assign the topic of employment for persons with disabilities to an Interim Study Committee passed Senate Health, 7-0. It will now go to the Senate floor for a final vote.
The full text of these and other bills that INARF is watching can be found at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/.