Senate Saturday session includes Medicaid, immigration still on holdby Dara Kam | April 28th, 2011
As budget talks on health and human services appropriations stalled, the Senate is moving forward with its Medicaid overhaul. Senate GOP leaders have not scheduled the immigration bill for Saturday, although only two hours of notice are required to add it to the agenda.
The Senate will take up its proposal (SB 1972) on Saturday along with dozens of local bills and Senate confirmations of Gov. Rick Scott’s appointees. But no word yet on whether the chamber will address immigration reform, still in flux as Senate Budget Chief J.D. Alexander, now shepherding the bill (SB 2040), weighs his options.
The House and Senate are both looking to put most of the state’s 2.9 million Medicaid patients into HMO-style plans. But differences abound between the two approaches. The Senate would divide the state into 19 regions, based on state court circuits; the House proposes eight.
The chambers are far apart on immigration reform as well. The House’s Arizona-style plan is on hold as the Senate considers a more moderate approach.
Late Thursday, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said the Senate’s plan immigration plan will include an E-verify component requiring government agencies, including workforce centers, to screen potential employees and also potential benefit recipients. It will also include a requirement that prisoners who are illegal immigrants be deported after their sentences are complete, Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said.
But Alexander, a citrus farmer, was tight-lipped about exactly how far the E-verify plan will go and how much leeway law enforcement officers will have to request documentation of criminal suspects, one of components of the Arizona bill struck down by the courts.
The Senate plan will likely require law enforcement officials to request proof of immigration status after someone has been arrested and read their Miranda rights, Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said.
“I’m uncomfortable with anything that might be perceived as profiling,” he said.