- Associated Press - Monday, March 26, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on budget talks in the Mississippi Legislature (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

Top lawmakers have filed a proposal to keep the Mississippi Medicaid program in operation July 1 and beyond.

Negotiators from the state House and Senate filed a plan Monday night. The full House and Senate will consider it before a Wednesday deadline.

Medicaid is a government health insurance program for the needy, and it is paid with federal and state dollars. The program comes up for a thorough legislative review every few years, including this one.

Hospital administrators have been pushing lawmakers to let hospitals get a piece of Medicaid’s managed care program that is now run by other companies. Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman Brice Wiggins says negotiators rejected that idea.

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4 p.m.

Mississippi lawmakers continue to discuss a budget and rules for the state-federal Medicaid program, as deadlines for action near.

The House on Sunday sent the Medicaid budget back for more talks, with representatives saying they wanted an agreement on a separate bill governing who gets paid for providing health care and how.

Failure to pass the bills could spark a special session to pass a budget and give Gov. Phil Bryant full control of how the program is run. The program provides health care for 1-in-4 Mississippi residents.

Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman Brice Wiggins, a Pascagoula Republican, says three Senate negotiators have signed a conference report on the second measure, known as the technical amendments bill. House negotiators have yet to sign though, and its outlook remains unclear ahead of an 8 p.m. Monday deadline.

The Senate on Monday passed the Medicaid budget, but the House is still standing still pending a deal on the technical amendment bill. The budget must pass by midnight Monday.

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1:45 p.m.

Lawmakers are approving a slight increase in Mississippi’s K-12 education budget, although most of additional money won’t go to the main formula that funds public schools.

The House and Senate on Monday approved House Bill 1592, sending it to Gov. Phil Bryant for his approval or veto.

The measure provides $2.2 billion in state money for school spending in the budget year beginning July 1. The Mississippi Adequate Education Program, as the public school funding formula is called, will get a slight increase to pay higher health insurance costs for teachers.

Lawmakers will expand spending on a program that pays for 4 year olds to attend preschool, allowing expansion to more communities.

The state will spend more on teacher bonuses for schools that perform well in the state’s rating system.

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