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News & Press: State Legislative News

H. 1996 a Casualty of a Divided Legislature

Monday, August 1, 2016  
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After moving through the legislative process and overcoming major hurdles, H. 1996 did not pass.
It was released from the Joint Committee on Public Health, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and on July 14th from the House Committee on Ways & Means and the House Committee on Steering & Policy. During all these advances, the bill was favorably moved along and never even amended or changed. In dramatic fashion, just as the bill was about to be sent to the House Committee on Bills in Third Reading it was yanked backward and recommitted to House Ways & Means. This is a very unusual course and is a testament to organized medicine's surprise about our global support in both chambers on the merit of the bill and the number of other credible organizations also supporting us.
Ultimately, political forces that had nothing to do with our bill added to its demise. Members should understand that the backdrop of the politics between the House and Senate leadership has been very contentious all session. The State House News Service covered this factor well over this past weekend in excerpts from the article below:
"House Speaker Robert DeLeo, accustomed to performing delicate end-of-session negotiations with former Senate President Therese Murray, this year is tangoing with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Senate Democrats who are pushing a more activist, progressive agenda.

Gaps that need to be closed between dueling House and Senate policy proposals seem larger this session. And those differences are magnified by an undercurrent of disenchantment among senators remaining after a months-long power-sharing fight back in early 2015 over rules reforms and the flow of bills.

After House Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad suggested early Saturday afternoon that House-Senate talks had been impeded by senators, including several serving on conference committees, attending this week's Democratic National Convention, Rosenberg said later in the day that some of the late-session problems stemmed from the House waiting too long to deliver major bills to the Senate.

"Didn't help," said one House Democrat of Rosenberg's comments, who said it felt like the Senate was setting itself up to blame the House if something doesn't get across the finish line."
The result was that policy ideas that were well advocated and deserving of consideration, never even made it to the floor for debate in the House. Those that passed the Senate were disregarded by the House.
For MCNP and MANA, this means that for this session our bill is dead. This news is very difficult for the countless members who advocated for H. 1996, promoted its merits, and met with and developed personal relationships with lawmakers. For our legislative supporters, who also worked incredibly hard, it's bitter-sweet. They acknowledged that the bill went very far in the bill making process, but this time, it was not enough. They too share our pain over its ultimate demise, as we were in fact very close to getting this done.

The MCNP and MANA legislative teams thank everyone who fought so hard for H. 1996 and helped us throughout this legislative session. 

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