Money bills move out of committee including flood costs |

Money bills move out of committee including flood costs

Geoff Dornan

The money committees at the Nevada Legislature approved a series of bills pumping money into different needs including $2.4 million to cover the cost of flood damage in January and February.

Several areas in western Nevada suffered flood damage including Carson City, Lyon, Churchill and Douglas counties. Fiscal staff warned the Senate Finance Committee that the cost in SB529 will grow as more bills come in and given the fact that there may be more flood damage as the massive snowpack continues to melt.

The largest appropriation on the list was the total of more than $130 million in Assembly Bill 494. That supplemental appropriation is necessary to cover the increase in the Medicaid caseload that sharply exceeded the amount projected when the current budget was approved. But nearly all of the cost, a bit over $124 million, is federal money. The state is on the hook for $5.8 million of the total.

Also in the Medicaid budget is a $3.26 million appropriation to continue the Medicaid Management Information System modernization project. That state funding is the match to receive $20.5 million in federal funding. In addition, there is $3.68 million in state money and $24.37 million in federal money to cover costs of expanding from two to four Medicaid managed care organizations.

The federal government will provide $20 million and the state $9.4 million to continue modernizing the computer system that processes child support debts — the former NOMADS system.

The Ways and Means Committee voted to put $500,000 a year into AB388, helping to fund the Women’s Health Connection program to support the cost of breast and cervical cancer exams and screenings for low income, high risk and uninsured women.

Teresa Benitez Thompson, D-Reno, said the program is currently 100 percent federally funded but that money may be reduced.

“This bill is to retain or expand services whatever the case may be,” she said. “The state for the first time is putting dollars into this program.”

The committee also voted to put $20 million in the budget to cover the cost of operating the Millennium Scholarship Trust Fund through the coming biennium.

Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, said it’s unfortunate that lawmakers have to continue looking for money to support that scholarship program because tobacco settlement money is slowly going away. She said lawmakers need to find a more permanent solution.