Assembly back to work on budget

From Illinois News Network

Two weeks have passed in FY2016 for the state; still there’s no budget in place for most state operations.

Both chambers of the General Assembly will be in session this week and the Senate Democrats could concur on a one-month funding measure the House passed Thursday.

The measure originally passed the Senate the week before but was amended Thursday by Democrats to include state employee pay as continuing appropriations, despite a standalone measure to pay state employees pushed by Republicans. The GOP contends Governor Bruce Rauner will veto the stop-gap measure.

Most state employees expect a paycheck this week, something the Comptroller indicated she would start processing after a St. Clair County Circuit Court judge ruled state workers could get paid in the absence of appropriation.

That conflicts with a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruling earlier last week.

Committees planned on range of issues

The score someone needs for services through the state’s Community Care Program will be the subject of a hearing this week.

Senators will hold a joint Appropriations and Human Service Committee Hearing Tuesday afternoon about the DON Score–that’s the Determination of Need for services metric. A higher score means greater need of services.

However the 2012 Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together, or SMART Act, pushed for a change in the DON Score from 29 to 37 points.

Governor Bruce Rauner wants the SMART Act to be implemented and re-determination efforts to be prioritized, something he says could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Opponents of the score change contend it would hurt more than 20,000 individuals.

“The Home Service program is for people with disabilities who need a personal assistant in home to help them remain independent,” Eric Brown of RAMP told The Rock River Times.

“So with this proposal, you’d have individuals going back to nursing homes, back with their families. It’s going to push costs back onto individuals who need help and ultimately back onto the state.”

There will also be House hearings on the Governor’s pension reform proposal revealed last week, and a hearing featuring the 2014 report from the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.

Among several other hearings, the House Revenue and Finance Committee will hold a fourth hearing regarding salaries within the Governor’s office.

With Staff Reports.

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