Medicaid expansion debate derails up-or-down vote on agencies’ “sunset”

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The clock is ticking for several state agencies and the Senate had scheduled to spend much of Tuesday morning deciding whether to let them continue working or to allow their charters to expire.

Instead, Senate Democrats continued to slow the process with extended floor speeches after dissent over a resolution by the Republican majority opposing Medicaid expansion.

Alabama law builds an expiration date into the charter that governs certain state agencies. The Sunset Committee then conducts reviews of each agency and determines whether it should terminate, continue business as usual, or modify itself toward a new purpose.

The issue has taken on national importance as Republican U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama introduced legislation last week to submit federal government agencies to a similar standard. His Sunset Inefficient and Unaccountable Government Act would subject agencies to 10-year reviews by Congress, followed by a congressional vote to renew or eliminate them.

Among the agencies slated for review in the Senate on Tuesday morning were those responsible for licensing and regulating athletic agents, massage therapists, polygraph examiners, and admission to the State Bar.

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