MFA NEWS SCAN FEBRUARY 16, 2015
- Friday, April 10, 2015
MA HOUSE & senate at odds over rules & procedures
The Massachusetts House and Senate appear to be at odds over rules that would govern their procedures through the hearing and legislative process. Last Thursday, the Senate passed a new rule that would make it easier for Senators to move legislation from committees to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Since there are only 40 state Senators and 160 House members, Senators are outnumbered on Committees, which are dominated by House members by a ratio of about four to one. The measure was added to a larger packet of proposed rules changes by the Senate and would allow a majority of Senate members on a Joint Committee to release a bill out of Committee without a majority of House members support on the Committee, and vice-versa. This was not included in the House rules proposal that they sent to the Senate two weeks ago and still must be accepted by the House to take effect. An alternative offered by the Senate would create separate Senate Committees, in all 27, rather than Joint Committees (House and Senate members) and have all Senate bills referred to their respective Senate Committees. A number of other procedural provisions are being debated between the two branches and must be worked out before any hearings can take place. House leadership and Committee assignments must also be completed.
WIC NEWS -
· No more paper WIC checks - As of February 10 there were no new WIC checks distributed, and stores can discard vendor stamps as of February 28, 2015 as stores complete the phase in of the new WIC card electronic benefit system;
· Balance inquiries requested by customers - As part of the new WIC card system, stores must provide WIC customers with a printout receipt of their account balance when requested, providing them with a list of all WIC foods available in their account balance;
· Invalid PIN numbers – WIC customers Personal Identification Number (PIN) will lock if not correctly entered by the third try. Customers can then call the WIC number or the number on the back of their card to get help, or if they forget their PIN number;
· Message – Insufficient Funds – This message will appear at the cash register if the customer is using their card before the benefits are valid, or there are none available on their account.
An informative presentation was distributed at a recent WIC Vendor Advisory Committee available for your review. Please contact the office if you would like a copy of the presentation describing some of the common problems WIC customers may encounter during a WIC transaction.
HEALTH CARE SIGN-UP DEADLINE MOVED AHEAD
The Massachusetts Health Connector and MassHealth announced they are extending the deadline to complete an application and pick a plan to Feb. 23, due to the unusual amount of winter storm weather. The original deadline was February 15.
2015 IRS MILEAGE RATES SET
The Internal Revenue Service has set the following rates for mileage allowance effective January 1, 2015: 57.5 cents per business mile (up from 56 in 2014); 23 cents for medical or moving purposes (down from 24 in 2014); 14 cents in service of charitable organizations.
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