The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 2/4/9

The Legislature saw a flurry of action Tuesday as bills were kept alive or killed on a key deadline day.

Tuesday was the deadline for bills to be passed out of committee in the chamber where they originated.

In the Senate Appropriations Committee, a combination of Democrats and Republicans killed legislation that would have placed a tax on hospitals to fund Medicaid and would have given the governor broad-ranging authority over Medicaid. The measure had the support of the Senate leadership and Gov. Haley Barbour

Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, and Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, pleaded with the committee members to keep the legislation alive – if for no other reason than it reauthorized the Division of Medicaid. Without the legislation, the health care agency would cease to exist on July 1, they argued.

The majority of the committee rejected the plea.

“Right now the official position of the Appropriations Committee is that we killed Medicaid,” Nunnenlee said. “I cannot support that.”

But members who opposed Nunnelee pointed out after the meeting that there is a House bill alive in his committee that would continue the authorization of Medicaid. That bill was not affected by Tuesday’s deadline.