On Wednesday, after several weeks of building tension between the chambers on the budget, Medicaid reform and teacher pay, something unusual took place at the General Assembly. A public meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations committees was held, during which offers and counter-offers were made, in full view not only of the rank-and-file members, but also leadership, lobbyists, staff and the press. This meeting was entirely unprecedented – normally these kinds of negotiations take place behind closed doors, and involve only the senior budget writers. To be clear, all that was being negotiated was the budget availability – specifically the amounts needed to cover the estimated Medicaid shortfall and to fund reserve accounts for next year – not the specifics on how to spend the remaining state dollars. Read the full report here.