There’s more than a week to go before the start of the 2015 special session but planning details continue to emerge.
In a memo sent to senators, Senate President Andy Gardiner outlined the timeline that he plans on following during the session showing that the chamber will focus on healthcare access the first day. He will “likely” plan budget conferences with the House the weekend of June 5-7.
“So you should plan on staying in Tallahassee,” Gardiner told members of the first weekend.
The memo also laid out the financial impact of the federal government’s tentative decision this week to allow $1 billion Low Income Pool program for the 2015-16 year and a $600 million program for the following year. The $1 billion figure is less than half of what is currently authorized and, in short, the announcement could have a $1.2 billion impact on the entire budget, based on decisions the Legislature makes regarding hospital Medicaid rates. The impact on the budget could balloon to $1.4 billion in 2016-17, he said in the memo.
“Consequently, yesterday’s announcement will have a ripple effect throughout our entire budget, providing a renewed and elevated importance to the discussion of a Florida solution to coverage for the uninsured as we head into Special Session.”
With a reiterated commitment to developing a Florida solution to the uninsured problem, Gardiner said the Senate’s proposal to expand access to health care for 800,000 people, called the FHIX plan, will be filed by state Sen. Aaron Bean before the start of the session and will be heard in the Committee on Health Policy on June 1 . It will be heard the following day in the Appropriations and will be heard by the full Senate on June 3.
The memo shows that the Senate will–during the second and third week of the special session–meet and if necessary consider any other bills consistent with the criteria outlined in the joint proclamation. Additionally Gardiner advised members that every Monday and Friday afternoon a “sitting” will be planned. Sittings will also be planned for one other day during the week but the memo doesn’t indicate what days will be picked.
“I hope this brief outline is helpful in your planning. Should you have any foreseeable conflicts with the schedule outlined above, please inform my office as soon as possible.”
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli outlined his chamber’s tentative schedule in a memo to members on Thursday.