Legislative Update 5-4-20

by Devon Green
Vice President of Government Relations
This time of year usually marks the all-out sprint towards the end of the legislative session, but, as has happened elsewhere, COVID-19 turned the legislative schedule on its head. Due to extending the filing of tax returns and loss of anticipated revenue, the Scott administration and legislative leadership look to enact a second budget adjustment act for FY20 as well as just a first quarter budget for FY21 in May. Additionally, the Scott administration and legislature will have to determine how to spend the $1.25 billion in federal funding from the CARES Act. As with our other COVID-19 related efforts, this is shaping up to be much more of a marathon than a sprint.

Last Week

Essential Workers Grant Program: The Senate passed S.346, a $60 million program to provide an extra $600-$1000 per month for workers providing essential services that may expose them to COVID-19. The program applies to all nursing home and home health employees and any other essential employees who earn less than $25 per hour. The House will begin reviewing the bill next week. For more details on the bill, go here.
COVID-19 Coverage for the Uninsured: VAHHS testified last week on a new program put out by the federal government that will reimburse all testing and treatment for individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis who do not have health care coverage. For more information, go here.

This Week

Telehealth: The Senate Health and Welfare and House Health Care committees will be focusing on telehealth—what has worked during this crisis and what needs to be preserved. We support continued expansion of telehealth and very much appreciate the health care committees’ efforts in this area.