From the Desk of Don Gehring Date: February 20, 2009
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on Saturday, February 28th.
The Senate passed their budget (SB 850) on Wednesday as well as amended the House budget bill (HB 1600). The House rejected the Senate amendments to HB 1600, thus sending the bill into conference. The House named Delegates Putney, Hamilton, Cox, Sherwood, Hogan, and Joannou as budget conferees while the Senate named Senators Colgan, Houck, Howell, Saslaw, Wampler and Stosch.
The Senate amendments to HB 1600 differed in what was originally proposed by the Senate Finance Committee on Sunday, February 8th. The revised Senate amendments restored the three percent reduction to teaching hospitals as well as Medicaid cuts outlined in the Governor’s introduced budget by using federal money allocated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Currently 1847 bills and 486 resolutions have been introduced. We are tracking 147 higher education and administration bills and 217 health related bills, totaling 364 bills.
Certificate of Public Need (COPN) – The Senate unanimously reported HB 1598 and the House concurred with the amendments made in the Senate. VCU worked extensively with the patron and VHHA to make sure that there was language in the bill that protects teaching hospitals.
Anti-Smoking Legislation – Multiple bills were introduced relating to smoking in public places, especially restaurants. Both HB 1703 and SB 1105 have been conformed in conference to include compromise language agreed upon by the House, Senate and the Governor. The Senate version passed the House on Thursday, February 19th, while the House version is still awaiting action by the Senate. The bill now outlaws smoking in public restaurants, unless there is a smoking area structurally separated or has an outside eating area. This bill would not apply to private clubs, and any restaurant or person in violation of this new law would pay a civil penalty of $25.
Management of Investment Funds (HB 1725, SB 1395) – This legislation authorizes the boards of visitors of the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech and VCU to invest and manage endowment funds, endowment income, gifts, and all other nongeneral fund reserves. HB 1725 passed the Senate unanimously on Thursday, February 19th. The identical bill, SB 1395, will be heard in the Higher Education subcommittee of House Appropriations on Monday, February 23rd.
Tier 3 Management Agreements (HB 2462, SB 1156) – This legislation extends the expiration date of the four Tier 3 universities: University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, William and Mary and VCU. In addition, these identical bills make adjustments to the policies governing capital projects, procurement, and financial operations and management. The Higher Education subcommittee of House Appropriations will hear SB 1156 on Monday, February 23rd, while the HB 2462 will be on final passage of the Senate Floor on Monday as well.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Tuesday, February 17th. The new law includes the following provisions:
Temporary Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase ($86.7 billion)
Increase in Disproportionate Share Hospital allotments by 2.5%
Moratorium on CMS Regulations
Blocks FY 09 Medicare payment reduction to teaching hospitals related to capital payments for indirect medical education
Health Information Technology ($19 billion)
$39.5 billion would be appropriated to the states explicitly for elementary, secondary, and public higher education to restore cuts to state budgets
$3 billion for National Science Foundation (NSF)
$10.4 billion for National Institutes of Health (NIH)
If you have questions, contact Don Gehring (email@example.com) or Mark Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our office phone number is: 804-828-1235.