The House passed the revenue stabilization act and the general improvement fund bill this afternoon. The end is near. Again, here's how the legislature will divide up a small surplus for favorite projects this year.
As predicted earlier, the House approved the Insurance Department appropriation 83-7, including the federal money for eventual implementation of health insurance exchanges anticipated in the federal health care law. A separate bill authorizing immediate work on the project by the Insurance Department was killed for this session by being referred for interim study. Republicans are claiming a big victory. Some victory. If health care moves foward, Obama adminstration bureaucrats will be in charge of health care in Arkansas, not Arkansas officials. There will be another opportunity in January, if not before, to finish this job.
Rep. Kathy Webb, who shepherded the money bills through Joint Budget, emphasized the positive about final-week theatrics: "I think we got a good budget and we got the Insurance Department budget intact. I think folks saw that passing the Insurance Department bill was the right thing to do."
Republicans hailed the delay of "Obamacare" and said it would ensure a "slow and deliberate process."
The Senate also passed the revenue stabilization and general improvement fund bills. Lawmakers WILL be going home.