Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Legislature speeds through agenda; midnight finish set

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM

The Senate completed its work quickly today on the insurance-prisons-lottery special session agenda and the House followed not long behind. The chambers were to reconvene shortly after midnight tonight to complete action on the bills and be done.

As before, the measures make changes to reduce the impact of rising costs in the school employee insurance program; put $6 million into prisons and county detention facilities to open more beds, and ban keno games in the Arkansas lottery until March 13. The lottery issue will be debated again in the 2015 legislative session. Neither insurance nor prisons have been fixed by this session, either.

Rep. Harold Copenhaver, in introducing his insurance bill, talked of having individual school districts in the future seek private insurance and see what the rates would be. Privatize insurance, in other words. I don't think it can work without more state money. Odds are even longer on that than in making the state's self-insurance plan work with more money.

Copenhaver said he had no estimates on how many spouses would be affected by the rule to eliminate their coverage on state insurance, both for state and school employees, if they have insurance where they work.


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