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franklin county times

Snowden: Lawmakers dropped the ball'

By By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
July 4, 2004
State Rep. Greg Snowden said the Mississippi Legislature should have done its part to fully fund the state Department of Human Services during a one-day special session last week.
Instead, state Attorney General Jim Hood obtained a court order from Hinds County Chancery Court on Wednesday to keep the agency in business when the state's new fiscal year started Thursday.
Gov. Haley Barbour also issued an executive order he said keeps the agency running, but the attorney general said the governor's order carries no legal weight.
Barbour called lawmakers into special session on Wednesday to fund DHS an agency that employs 3,400 people and serves almost 650,000 Mississippians.
DHS offers a host of benefits, ranging from in-home meal delivery for shut-ins to foster-care payments and food stamps. Many of the people who benefit are poor, disabled or elderly.
But when the state House tried Wednesday to add changes to the Medicaid program into a proposal to fund DHS, the state Senate ruled the move was improper and out of order.
Some House members are upset with plans to remove 65,000 people from Medicaid roles beginning Sept. 15. They wanted Barbour to add the issue to the special session; the governor didn't.
Snowden said he believes about 47,000 of the 65,000 people are eligible for the federal Medicare program; he said the remaining 18,000 could receive federal waivers to remain on Medicaid.
Lawmakers, he said, should have been focused on DHS during the special session.