Appropriations Committee makes modest progress on critical unfinished business

Long and frequently frustrating day in Appropriations slogging to rebuild a supplementary emergency funding package intended to resolve critical business left unresolved when House Republican caucus forced legislative adjournment last month.

By 9:00 in the evening, our committee reached agreement only on fulfilling last year’s commitment to maintain the reimbursement rate increases for home-based direct care workers and allocation of necessary funding for county jails.

Despite steadily increasing available funds, we were unable to win support from House Republicans for the rest of the package of critical bills, including funding for disabled individuals on waiting lists for services, mental health services, nursing homes, addiction treatment, and emergency funding for preschool-aged children with disabilities.

Also unresolved is next year’s allocation of school funding, fixing a technical error which  impedes the distribution of public campaign funding in the current election cycle, and the bonds for transportation and higher education facilities.

Providing the funding that the Governor has said he requires for voter-approved Medicaid expansion also remains unresolved. Implementing this program — as the law requires — is currently a subject of legal action.

While the progress remains slow and agreement elusive, I hope that this movement is the first step towards greater progress in the coming weeks.

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