The Clarion-Ledger, 2/14/8

Senators on Wednesday approved a bill that would put the state prison system in the black for the current year but leave 15 Community Mental Health Centers still in need.

Also, Senate Bill 3051 covers less than a third of Medicaid’s $90 million money shortage, setting the stage for a battle in the House over how to find the rest of the money for the program that helps give hundreds of thousands of Mississippians access to health care.

Only $27.6 million would go toward Medicaid’s deficit under the bill. The rest could be made up by a tax on hospitals and cuts.

Some House leaders, however, want to raise the cigarette tax to fund the shortfall instead.

The bill passed unanimously among members who were present.