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Legislative leaders aren't expecting much, if any, action when the 92nd General Assembly reconvenes at noon Wednesday at the state Capitol to wrap up the regular session.

After meeting for 87 days, lawmakers recessed their regular session April 10 for a two-week break with plans to return Wednesday to take any necessary action such as fixing the bills or overriding vetoes before adjourning for good. But Gov. Asa Hutchinson hasn't vetoed any bills this session. Under a resolution approved earlier, the Legislature may reconvene before noon May 6.

If lawmakers adjourn as expected, this year's regular session will have lasted 88 days.

By comparison, the General Assembly met in regular session for 96 days in 2011, 101 days in 2013, 82 days in 2015 and 86 days in 2017. (Fiscal sessions, in even-numbered years, are of shorter duration.)

"There ain't a lot going on," said Senate President Pro Tempore Jim Hendren, a Republican from Sulphur Springs.

There might be a chance that a bill or two needs concurrence on an amendment, but "that's not very likely" and would require at least 24 votes to suspend the rules in the 35-member Senate, Hendren said.

"Really, all that is going to happen is a formal adjournment," he said Friday. He said that based on past experience, he expects somewhere between 20 and 30 senators to show up.

House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, said he is only planning on coming in and adjourning the regular session.

"I am not aware of any other action that needs to be taken. The plan is to come in and sine die," he said. He was referring to the Latin phrase that means "without day" and to adjourn sine die means to adjourn without setting a future meeting date.

Shepherd said based on his experience, he expects the vast majority of the House's 100 members to show up to formally adjourn the regular session, regardless of whether there is any business to be conducted.

Other legislative panels are scheduled to meet afterward.

Upon adjournment, the Legislative Council's Executive Subcommittee is scheduled to meet to consider proposed amendments to the Legislative Council's rules.

A copy of the proposed rule changes will be posted on the General Assembly's website hopefully by today and probably by Tuesday, said Bureau of Legislative Research Director Marty Garrity.

At 1 p.m. Wednesday, the House and Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs committees and Public Health, Welfare and Labor committees plan to meet jointly to hear officials from the Department of Human Services and from companies known as Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entities, or PASSEs, explain more about why payments aren't being made to health care providers, said Sen. Ron Caldwell, R-Wynne.

Caldwell, who is chairman of the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Friday that he's "wondering who is at fault and what we can do to find a solution."

On April 10, an executive from the Hot Springs mental health and substance abuse provider Quapaw House told state lawmakers that the slow process for becoming enrolled in the state Medicaid program forced it to lay off 100 employees and close 13 of the more than 40 clinics it took over from Preferred Family Healthcare of Springfield, Mo., last year.

At that meeting, Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie told lawmakers that the department has been working to speed up its process for enrolling providers, which she said is "way too slow, way too cumbersome."

The issue was one reason for recent management changes within the department, including the hiring in January of Janet Mann as director of the department's Division of Medical Services, Gillespie told lawmakers.

SundayMonday on 04/22/2019

Print Headline: Capitol session wraps up this week

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