News: WALHDAB News

Final Passage of 2019-2021 State Budget

Friday, June 28, 2019  
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On Tuesday, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 56, the 2019-2021 State Budget, on a vote of 60 to 39. Yesterday, the State Senate passed the bill on a vote of 17 to 16.

The bill is now headed to Governor Evers' desk. Upon receiving the bill, Governor Evers can sign it, veto it in whole, or veto it in part. As of this morning, it is likely Governor Evers will veto specific sections of the bill. However, he and his office have not publicly stated which items may be vetoed. When he officially receives the bill, he will have six days (excluding Sundays) to veto the bill and issue a veto report to the legislature. 

As always, we will continue to monitor the process and keep you informed of any actions the Governor may take.

In the meantime, we want to highlight the following provisions included in Assembly Bill 56 of importance to you:

·  Medicaid Funding Level: Increase total funding for Medicaid programs and services by $917.3 million for the biennium.

·  Lead Exposure and Poisoning Prevention: Provide over $14 million total to fund lead abatement to residential properties occupied by children and pregnant women eligible for MA or CHIP. 

·  Child Psychiatry Consultation Program: Provide an additional $500,000 to expand the program statewide. 

·  Birth to Three Program Expansion: Transfer $2,250,000 on a one-time basis to the Birth to Three program. 

·  Dementia Initiatives: Provide $846,000 annually to fund eight new dementia care specialists and one tribal dementia care specialist.

·  Dental Initiatives: Provide $2 million total to increase funding for dental services funded by the Division of Public Health. 

·  Minority Health: Adopt the Governor's proposal to provide $250,000 annually to increase funding for grants under the minority health program, and modify the criteria to distribute to specify that DHS must give priority to applicants that provide maternal and child health services. 

·  Well Woman Program: Adopt the Governor's proposal to increase funding for the program by $100,000 annually. 

·  Infant Mortality Prevention: Adopt the Governor's proposal to reallocate 5 full time DHS employees to staff an infant mortality prevention program. 

·  Nitrate Testing For Private Wells: Create a continuing appropriation of $3 million at the Division of Public Health from which DHS must award grants up to $2,500 to eligible private well owners to cover remediation costs if the owner has a well that has nitrate levels exceeding ten parts per million. 

·  Free and Charitable Clinics: Provide $1 million for grants to free and charitable health clinics. 

·  Comprehensive Mental Health Consultation Program: Provide $66,700 for developing a plan for a mental health consultation program.

·  Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities: Provide $1.5 million annually to county transportation assistance programs for seniors and individuals with disabilities. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, this is a 10.4% increase to these programs. 

The bill also includes a 5-cent per milliliter tax on the volume of vapor liquid sold. Additionally, the bill does not include e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. As previously discussed, these actions do not adequately address our concerns regarding the regulation and taxation of e-cigarettes and vaping liquid. We are working with a coalition to request Governor Evers veto these provisions. 



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