ADEA State Update

Many State Legislatures Enter Special Session, Others Adjourn for the Year

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Most state legislatures operate on a part-time schedule and many have adjourned for the year. However, some states remain deadlocked in fights over Medicaid expansion or the state budget, resulting in special sessions beyond the normal schedule.

Alaska’s legislature adjourned April 27, 2015 (after already extending past the original adjournment date of April 19, 2015) with only a partially funded state budget and no decision on Medicaid expansion. The governor called a 30-day special session on April 28, 2015, to address these, and other, issues. However, the Republican-led legislature voted along party lines on April 30 to take a 12-day recess in defiance of the governor’s order. Sen. Peter Micciche (R-AK) called it irresponsible of Gov. Bill Walker (I-AK)  to request the legislature address Medicaid expansion in the special session. Sen. Micciche, and others, would like more time to conduct research on a possible expansion plan.

The Florida legislative session was marked by a battle over Medicaid expansion, ultimately leading to a chaotic, and abrupt, adjournment. Following months of bitter division between the House and Senate on Medicaid expansion, the Florida House opted to unilaterally adjourn sine die (a Latin phrase meaning the body has completed their work for the year) three days early on April 28, 2015, without passing the required state budget. Senate Democrats filed a lawsuit against the Florida House arguing that the unilateral adjournment violated Florida’s Constitution. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with Senate Democrats but noted that it was too late to mandate the Florida House of Representatives to return to Tallahassee. The Florida legislature will convene for a special session June 1-20 to address the unresolved budget issues, including Medicaid expansion. 

The following state legislatures have adjourned for the year: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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