JABSOM Bill — and Others — In Limbo, Legislature Ends This Week
From Burns School of Medicine
A bill allowing the John A. Burns School of Medicine to use all of the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement funds the state has allocated to the school failed to make it to a vote — along with several other key measures — as of Friday, April 29′s legislative “decking” deadline.
The JABSOM measure appeared to have support in both houses, but the conference committees deadlocked over a different bill-one the House of Representatives supported to tax pension income over $200,000. The Senate firmly opposed any pension tax.
The JABSOM bill involves $3-$4 million annually which the school needs to continue to increase the MD class size, establish a residency on the Big Island and other efforts, including extensive tobacco cessation activities by the school’s medical students, faculty physicians and public health professionals. The authorization for JABSOM to use the money expires on June 30, 2011 unless the new bill is passed. In February, medical students traveled to the Capitol to speak with lawmakers about JABSOM’s role in the community, to appear at a legislative hearing and to ask for continued support for the school.
Earlier in the day on Friday, House-Senate negotiators had agreed to lessen JABSOM’s tobacco money by 1% a year in 2014 and 2015. But then the final negotiating sessions collapsed before 10 p.m., even though the deadline wasn’t until 12 midnight.
The “decking” deadline is the Hawai’i State Legislature’s own deadline for positioning bills for final approval on May 3 and May 5, when the last floor sessions are scheduled.
There is a possibility stalled bills could be recalled and approved in floor votes, but it’s a difficult process requiring action by both House and Senate leadership.
The State is now Senior Partner in the Tobacco Business and all those pesky Doctors keep telling people to quit….