Below is the Legislative update from Lurena Mead at JCDS:
Early last week the Senate passed the rescission bill agreed upon by the Senate Ways and Means committee. This bill included $25 million for K-12 special education funding. The House rescission bill does not include these funds. By keeping in these dollars, the Senate is preventing a loss of $21 to $25 million in federal dollars that would be pulled for failure to demonstrate a “maintenance of effort” for funding special education. There are a few additional, but minor discrepancies between the two bills.
Both versions of the rescission bill have now gone to Conference committee. This committee consists of key members of the House and the Senate. Their charge is to come to agreement on one bill. That’s where the gloves come off and the match begins!
- The first meeting of this committee resulted with the House demanding that the $25 million be removed. They offered a few verbal jabs, but the Senate bobbed and weaved, then maintained their stance. No one was on the ropes. Thus ended round one.
- Round two started Thursday morning. The House Appropriations chair struck quickly and demanded that the Senate throw in the towel as well as the K-12 special education funding. The Senate Ways and Means leadership deflected that blow saying they had no intention of backing down. Round two lasted a mere 14 minutes. Both are back in their neutral corners.
- Round three will begin sometime this week. Many are of the opinion that the outcome of this fight will determine whether the House or the Senate will be in command of this year’s legislative outcomes. A punch here, a counterpunch there. All eyes are on the conclusion.
Last Wednesday, our own Senator Terrie Huntington introduced SB 210 (also known as “Provider Assessment”) in the Senate Ways and Means committee. The intent of this bill is to bring additional funding to the Kansas DD system.
- It would assess DD providers for each individual served on the HCBS waiver
- The monies would be put into a fund which would then draw federal matching dollars
- Providers then would be paid increased rates for providing HCBS services T
These much needed reimbursement rates could be used to increase the recruiting of skilled workers,provide wage or benefit enhancements, or improve quality of care .
As much as $25 million in new funds would go back into the community DD system. It is an innovative way to address some today’s funding challenges. There will be no losers if this bill passes!!!
Your TO DO list:
1- Go to www.invisiblekansans.org and send your weekly email
2- Pick up a KC Star and read the “Letters to the Editors”. If you’re not already, familiarize yourself with them because next week I’m going to ask you to write one!