The biggest changes were in SB1619, more specifically on AHCCCS.
As amended, the bill allows AHCCCS to adopt rules necessary to implement a program given available funds, providing the agency the ability to make changes to its services, eligibility and rates. Also, the bill contains an intent clause for certain transplant services that were eliminated last year to be funded, and a “notwithstanding” language that the Governor’s Office says gives the agency broad leeway to restore the services.
The bill still eliminates non-emergency transportation as a covered service for AHCCCS patients. But it now exempts stretcher vans and ambulances from the elimination of covered service, and the change is subject to federal approval.
The rationale behind the changes is to give the governor as much leeway as necessary in order to save $510 million to help balance the budget.
SB1612 includes an intent statement for the Arizona Department of Administration to offer an enhanced Health Savings Account option, which is expected to generate about $12 million in savings.
SB1614 increases the employee contribution for employees’ retirement. The split is now 53 percent paid by employees and 47 percent paid by the state, instead of 50-50. This will generate $40 million for the state.
The bill also delays benefits to public employees. Under the legislation, employees must work for at least 90 days to become eligible for employee benefits and they must work for six months to become a member of the Arizona State Retirement System, yielding $10 million in savings.
SB1621 will require counties to house inmates with less than a year to serve. Those who are convicted after July 1, 2012, may still be housed with the Corrections Department if counties reimburse the agency for the cost.
SB1617 prohibits schools offering vocational educational programs from including 9th graders for their average daily membership counts.
The bill also replaces the Student Accountability Information System (SAIS) with the Education Learning and Accountability (ELA) system. It also establishes the ELA Fund, and requires each community college and public university to cough up $6 per student to the Arizona Department of Education to be deposited in the fund by December 2011.
Also, the final plan deletes the provision giving schools more bonding capacity.
SB1616 holds harmless the 10 smallest counties for any shift of Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) funds from the State Highway Fund to the Highway User Revenue Fund in FY12.
The Senate version required Maricopa County to transfer $28.6 million and Pima County, $6 million, to the state general fund. The final bill revised the numbers. Pima will instead fork up about $6.8 million and Maricopa, about $26.4 million.
Also, Pinal County must transfer $2.6 million, Mohave, $1.4 million, and Yavapai, $1.5 million, to the state.