Lawmakers to hold special session

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Lawmakers are heading back to Capitol Hill Wednesday to correct some mistakes made during the last legislative session.

Senate President Michael Waddoups explained, "Sometimes there's a mistake or two made, and there were some technical mistakes made on half a dozen bills."

The special legislative session will begin at 2 p.m. When it does, lawmakers will tackle over a dozen issues, many of them relating to the state budget.

During the regular session in January, there were a lot of laws passed and several mistakes made when writing those laws. For example, an "and" may have needed to be an "or." This year, though, Sen. Waddoups says many of the mistakes from the most recent session were financial ones, with money put in the wrong place.

In public education funding, Sen. Waddoups says some of the money intended for the 2009 budget was placed into the 2010 budget.

He also says they realized that higher education had a problem when it came to applying for grant money. In a statute written last session, any money higher education received from a grant would be taken out of their general fund, so during this special session a new bill will be introduced to change that.

"So we've got a bill coming this time that will allow that grant money to not be supplanted. They'll still have their general fund money, but they'll also be able to do additional research with that grant money," he said.

Lawmakers will also correct a mistake made in Medicaid funding. Instead of taking a 15 percent budget reduction like most government agencies did, Medicaid funding for hospitals ended up taking a 24 percent hit. To fix that gap, about $6.4 million will be put back.

"My understanding is that this will help them stay open, help them keep them from raising the rates on everybody else. It will still be a hit for them at 15 percent, but 15 percent is more manageable than 24 percent cut," Sen. Waddoups said.

Waddoups says lawmakers will address several other bills that include zoning for subdivisions and one that deals with Wal-Mart and how it screens its employees.

He says there are 15 items on the agenda but that several of them have just technical changes that will be rolled into one bill.


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