MILLEDGEVILLE — The Georgia 2013 Session of the Legislature ended March 28, 2013 at 11:50 p.m. The following is a brief summary from State Representative Rusty Kidd of some of the major issues that were acted on by the House this session.
Appropriations & Fiscal Affairs
HB 105 (Supplemental Appropriations): The Amended Fiscal Year 2013 budget totals $19.3 billion in state funds and provides for a Mid-year adjustment for Education of $172.7 million. The revenue estimate for this cycle has been reduced by $26.3 million in state funds to reflect an estimated 3.9% growth in revenues for the year ending June 30, 2013. Several cuts, including ones to school nutrition programs and medical education, were restored. Status: Signed by the Governor on March 27.
HB 106 (FY 2014 Budget): The Fiscal Year 2014 budget appropriates $19.8 billion in state funds. The budget fully funds Quality Basic Education for the first time and restores the sparsity grants for education. It also funds elder protective services and child protective services at higher levels than originally proposed in the Governor's budget. However, it fails to address the continued $1 billion deficit in education funding that has led to more than 60 percent of classrooms having shortened school days and years and over-sized classes. It also continues to increase the employee share of healthcare costs, while failing to authorize a cost-of-living adjustment for the 5th consecutive year. The conference committee approved additional funding for several colleges and universities, as well as funding for Grady Hospital and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Status: Awaiting signature of the Governor.
HR 107 (Joint Study Committee on Medicaid Reform): Creates a joint 18-member study committee for the purposes of evaluating the state's Medicaid program, examining other states' best practices and planning for future actions necessary to sustain appropriate levels of services and funding. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.
SB 24 (Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act): Provides the Board of Community Health the authority to set the rate, to assess and to collect a “provider payment” from hospitals. The funds will be kept in an account separate from the General Fund and may only be used to qualify for federal Medicaid financial assistance. While the General Assembly retains appropriation authority over the provider payment account, any appropriations are limited to use for federal Medicaid financial assistance. The Board’s authority sunsets on June 30, 2017. The authority also ends if the federal Medicaid financial assistance is no longer available, or the Department of Community Health reduces Medicaid payments to hospitals. Status: Signed by Governor on Feb 13.