Much of the legislative session is likely to center around the predicted $900 million budget shortfall which means that the proposed $1.50 cigarette tax will likely come back into play. Last session the measure did not get off the House floor but the coalition continues to push for the cigarette tax increase and new budget leaders in the House and Senate are discussing it as a way to raise revenue. The cigarette tax coalition will weigh in on how funds are to be used and will likely push for funds to go toward healthcare costs like restoring provider rates. The bill authors Rep. Leslie Osborn and Sen. Kim David would like to move the legislation quickly and not wait for the appropriations process at the end of session. So expect to see HB1841 move quickly.
Also because of the budget as expected we are finding several pieces of legislation targeting the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. We will be watching that very closely and will work with TSET staff and other interested organizations to continue to protect TSET.
Of course, we will be watching for any other legislation that might interest the Academy and look forward to any questions you might have.