Lawmaker Calls 2004 Session Worst Of His Career

It's been long, grueling and controversial but the 2004 state legislative session is finally over. Late Sunday night state, lawmakers signed off on a $3.7 billion spending plan that is expected to cut deeply into the budgets of many state agencies.

One agency that's affected is Medicaid. Lawmakers voted to drop about 65-thousand disabled and elderly from the Medicaid rolls which is expected to save the state $92 million.

To help pay for Medicaid expenses, as well as mental health and the Department of Human Services, the legislature will take more than $110 million from the tobacco trust fund.

K-thru-12 education will get $79 million less than requested.

These compromises came after some bitter debate. One state representative describes the 2004 session one of the low points of his political career.

Rep. Jim Simpson of Long Beach said, "The budget battle was so difficult. We just didn't have any money, and it was very difficult. It was made worse by such an ugly partisan year. People were mean to each other and talked nasty about each other and it made the work so much more difficult."

Simpson says he supports a special session to address tort reform.