It’s been a busy time at the General Assembly as hundreds of bills were rushed to be filed to meet the Senate’s bill filing deadline on April 2nd. The House will have a few more weeks to prepare for their bill filing deadline on Tuesday, April 16th (bills not related to the budget). Once both chambers’ deadlines have passed, legislators will turn their attention to meeting the May 9th crossover date, by which time bills must be passed by the chamber in which it was introduced in order to remain eligible for the remainder of the 2-year session, unless the bill has a fiscal impact on the State. Read the full report here.
The budget process continues to inch forward. Last week House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger announced that top legislative leaders have agreed that expenditures for the year starting July 1st will be just over $24 billion. That amount represents a roughly 3.5 percent increase over this year’s budget, but less that the amount proposed by Governor Cooper. As legislative opposition to Treasurer Folwell’s proposed changes to the State Health Plan continues to heat up, Folwell has made changes to boost payments to rural hospitals. The State Health Plan has agreed to increase by $52 million the annual reimbursement rates for many rural hospitals. Folwell said the adjustments would increase payments to rural providers by 20 percent from the original proposal, “while still saving taxpayers almost $258 million and plan members almost $57 million.” Discussion about Medicaid expansion also continued last week, with a new poll showing strong support for the idea. A poll conducted by well-known Republican consultant, Paul Shumaker found that 72 percent of voters’ support Medicaid expansion. The poll also found that support remained above 70 percent even after messages supporting and opposing expansion were given to respondents. Read the full report here.
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