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
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.