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Cuccinelli's Opinion On Medicaid Panel Threatens Virginia Budget

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A quickly done overnight opinion by conservative attorney general Ken Cuccinelli on a Medicaid expansion compromise threatens to derail transportation funding reform legislation.

Votes on both issues were expected Saturday on the last day of the legislative session.

At the request of Republican Del. Ben Cline, Cuccinelli penned an opinion Friday night that says a proposed legislative panel to oversee reforms necessary to expand Medicaid to 400,000 uninsured Virginians near the poverty level is unconstitutional.

That would void a letter from Gov. Bob McDonnell to Senate Democrats who had promised to block passage of the transportation package without written assurance from McDonnell affirming the panel.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Senior budget writers have circumvented a ruling by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that a legislative Medicaid reform oversight panel was unconstitutional, preventing meltdown of the 2013 General Assembly hours before it adjourns.
Cuccinelli ruled that lawmakers can't delegate final legislative authority to a commission that would oversee cost-cutting reforms necessary to expand Medicaid is unconstitutional.
But a last-minute rewrite to the final budget compromise reached shortly before midnight Friday took away the commission's discretion, making Cuccinelli's ruling moot.
That satisfied dissident Senate Democrats who had promised to block passage of the budget and major transportation funding reforms. The highway financing overhaul bill passed the Senate 25-15 with most Democrats backing it and most Republicans opposed.
Still, Republican Delegate Bob Marshall promised Saturday to sue and challenge the commission's validity.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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