Time is running out for the Alabama Legislature to work out a general fund budget, but the state Senate is beginning to iron out the details.
State agency heads told members of the Senate Budget Committee yesterday that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence.
Committee Chairman Arthur Orr says there are close to $150 million in revenue-generating bills under discussion that could reduce the cuts if they win legislative approval.
Alabama’s general fund budget is slowly starting to take shape after some action in the state house.
The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee has approved a budget that makes deep cuts to state agencies. The budget would cut Medicaid, mental health and state prisons corrections by five percent. Other state agencies would be cut by nine percent.
This proposal would impact the general fund budget. Alabama’s schools are funded by a separate spending plan.
The Alabama Supreme Court has heard arguments on the constitutionality of a law that gives low-income families tax credits to pay for private school.
A lawyer representing individuals challenging the Alabama Accountability Act said Wednesday that it does an end run on Alabama's prohibition of using education funds to support private religious schools.
However, a lawyer representing families using the credits said it supports parents seeking education opportunities for their children, not private schools.
State officials say Alabama Medicaid's monthly enrollment has topped 1 million for the first time.
Officials said Thursday that a review of data for the first five months of the year show the milestone happened in February. Officials attribute the increase to a federally required transfer of children from the state's All Kids program and changes in how Medicaid eligibility is determined. Officials say the numbers also reflect the first enrollment of individuals who applied for coverage through the federal health exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Voting rights groups and Alabama officials have reached an agreement to make sure people applying for social services receive voter registration material.
The Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and others announced the agreement Tuesday. It calls for the state to proactively offer voter registration services to people when they apply for, renew or submit a change of address to the state Medicaid Agency or state Department of Human Resources.
A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. representative offered a proposal to a state Medicaid reform panel that would make the chain Alabama's main provider of drugs through Medicaid.
Members of the Alabama Medicaid Pharmacy Study Commission heard the proposal Thursday. Panel members were appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to look for ways to save money on drugs dispensed through Medicaid, the state and federal medical insurance program.
Alabama Medicaid officials have divided the state into five districts under a new care management plan that's supposed to streamline the system.
The Legislature earlier this year approved a reorganization of Medicaid into districts around the state. State Health Officer Don Williamson, the acting Medicaid director, said it was difficult to decide how to divide the counties, and added that some counties could be shifted before the map is finalized Oct. 1.
Alabama Medicaid officials have divided the state into five districts under a new care management plan.
The Legislature earlier this year approved a reorganization of Medicaid into districts around the state. Acting Medicaid Director State Health Officer Don Williamson says it was difficult to decide how to divide the counties, and added that some counties could be shifted before the map is finalized Oct. 1.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to extend two taxes that support the state Medicaid program.
The assessments on nursing homes and hospitals were due to expire this year, but the Senate gave final approval Thursday to bills that extend the nursing home tax for two years and the hospital tax for three years. The bills passed the House earlier and now go to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur says the bills were critical to maintaining Medicaid services for low-income Alabamians.