Category Archives: Arizona State Legislature

How the Senate health care bill would affect Arizona

Howard Fischer reports on an analysis by Arizona’s AHCCCS office. Analysis: Senate health-care plan could cost Arizona $2.9B or more:

The new Senate health-care plan would cost Arizona at least $2.9 billion between next year and 2026 — and perhaps as much as $7.1 billion — according to a new analysis by the Ducey administration.

Or the state could avoid most of those costs simply by cutting off health care for more than 400,000 who got coverage in 2013 when Arizona took advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act — the law Congress is working to repeal.

The analysis by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, shows the Senate proposal is only marginally better than the one approved by the House. That has an Arizona price tag of $3.3 billion over the same period.

The $2.9 billion is just in lost federal dollars that provide care for nearly 320,000 childless adults with income below the federal poverty level, about $11,800 a year for a single person. Plus, there are another 82,000 adults considered the “working poor,” earning up to $16,400 a year, whom the feds would no longer fund.

That’s only a piece of the picture.

If federal funding goes away, the assessment on hospitals that lawmakers approved in 2013 to pay the state’s costs for those people automatically self-destructs. That means the loss of another $2 billion over the same period, money the taxpayers would have to pick up.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature would pass “emergency” legislation to make sure that this does not happen.

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Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan goes to Arizona Supreme Court

Back in March, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the Maricopa County Superior Court decision upholding former governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan in 2013. AZ Court of Appeals upholds Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan.

The “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, naturally appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, who was vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation at the time this lawsuit was filed, should be required to recuse himself from participating in this appeal under the court’s rules of ethics.

The parties are now filing their pleadings with the Arizona Supreme Court. Ducey administration argues to keep hospital levy paying for AHCCCS care:

The Ducey administration is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to preserve the levy that pays for an expanded Medicaid program — assuming that expansion isn’t undermined by Congress killing the program.

In legal papers filed Friday, attorney Doug Northup wants the justices to reject arguments by Republican lawmakers that money being paid by hospitals to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System is a tax. Instead, he contends, it is simply an “assessment” on hospitals.

That difference is more than wordplay.

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Another GOP voter suppression plan

Why is it every time I see a piece of bad legislation in the Arizona legislature, this guy’s name appears to be attached to it? What the heck is wrong with voters living in legislative district 6 (specifically in Navajo, Gila and Yavapai Counties)? You ought to be embarrassed to send someone as backwards as this to the Arizona legislature.

The latest bad legislation is yet another GOP voter suppression plan sponsored by Rep. Bob Thorpe still seeking to bar student voting on campus:

The proposal by Rep. Bob Thorpe would put a provision that students who want to vote would be able to do so only by signing up to get an early ballot from the voting precinct where they were living before they went to college, presumably the address of their parents.

More to the point, they would not be able to use their college address. And that would apply not only to those who live in a campus dormitory but even those who have off-campus apartments or houses.

This is where Howard Fischer in his reporting should have stated up front (he puts it at the very end of his report) that the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed (no opinion) that this was unconstitutional in SYMM v. U.S., 439 U.S. 1105 (1979), in which the Court summarily affirmed United States v. Texas, 445 F.Supp. 1245 (S.D.Tex. 1978), holding unconstitutional the denial to Prairie View students of the presumption of bona fide residency extended to other Waller County students. The three-judge District Court panel relied on a series of college student voting rights precedents under the Voting Rights Act and the 26th Amendment.

In other words, this issue has long ago been decided. Yet every election cycle some jurisdiction tries to keep college students from voting where they are attending college, and every election cycle this unconstitutional voter suppression effort is enjoined by the courts. The baffling part is the regularity with which jurisdictions keep trying to do this even when the law is clearly established.

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Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: there’s hope for us yet

Holy shit! Pigs really do fly!

Something remarkable, truly amazing happened in Brownbackistan fna the state of Kansas this week.

A Tea-Publican controlled legislature overrode the veto of its Tea-Publican governor to increase taxes and to reverse Gov. Sam Brownback’s failed “trickle down tax cuts” eutopian experiment in Kansas.

The Wichita Eagle reports, Lawmakers override Brownback veto of tax increases, rolling back 2012 cuts:

Lawmakers rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy over his objections Tuesday night, forcing into law tax increases to fix a budget shortfall and provide more money for schools.

The legislation ends the “march to zero” income tax cuts that Brownback heralded for much of his time as governor.

(Sound familiar? Our own Koch-bot Governor Doug Ducey also promises to reduce taxes every year with the goal to drive income tax rates to “as close to zero as possible.”)

Income taxes will rise across the board but most tax rates will remain lower than they were before the 2012 tax cuts. The increases are expected to generate more than $1.2 billion for the state over the next two years.

The Senate and House voted 27-13 and 88-31, respectively, to override Brownback’s veto. The action took place on the 109th day of the legislative session and paves the way for lawmakers to wrap up their work quickly, potentially this week.

The override represents a blow to the legacy of one of the most unpopular governors in America, amid speculation that he may not serve out his remaining time in office but instead take a federal position.

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Dem Statewide Meeting: ‘We Can Win with a Progressive Message’

Pamela Powers Hannley

Pamela Powers Hannley giving the Legislative Update to the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus.

I have been back in Tucson for two weeks now, and it’s been a fun whirlwind of visits, phone calls, and events with Tucson friends and family, LD9 constituents, fellow Unitarian Universalist church members, labor union members, and Progressives.

Saturday, May 20 was my first campaign event of the 2018 season– the Arizona Democratic Party’s State Committee Meeting in Tucson. In addition to tabling, I gave Legislative updates to the Arizona Democratic Women’s Federation and to the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus. Scott Prior and I co-chaired the Progressive Caucus for three years. This was the first full meeting with the new co-chairs Jenise Porter (Pima County) and Joe Murphy (Maricopa County).

Here is my speech to the Progressive Caucus.

Everyone says that this session of the Arizona Legislature was “different”. There are several reasons why it was different. For one, Speaker J.D. Mesnard assigned Democratic bills to committees and allowed floor votes on many of them. According to people on both sides of the aisle, he also ran the House much more efficiently than the previous speaker. In my opinion, the real reason that this session was different is that the House Freshman Class is the largest  in recent history (or ever). Many House incumbents lost, termed out, retired, or tried to move to the Senate. For House Democrats, this meant a demographic shift with our caucus now being majority Latino, half women, and surprisingly progressive on many policy issues.

I’m here to tell you that Progressives– particularly the women– made a difference in the Arizona House this session.

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JFK, Where Are You Now That We Need You?

By Larry Bodine, Precinct Committeeman, Precinct #238, Tucson.

I remember when as a young boy, still in grade school, I shook JFK’s hand. JFK would be 100 years old this week, were he still alive.

The day was August 17, 1962, and President John F. Kennedy spoke at the opening of the Oahe Dam in South Dakota. It was a beautiful day in the summer, and cars from hundreds of miles around lined up in rows on a big hillside.

At the bottom of the hill was a podium with cloth fluttering in the wind. The hydroelectric dam is the second largest one on the Missouri River. It took 14 years to build.

JFK stood at the podium and spoke in that unmistakable accent. You can listen to his speech on Youtube.

I was so optimistic that I wanted to join the Peace Corps.

I felt so idealistic that I wanted to serve my country.

Before he left, he walked into the crowd of well-wishers and shook my hand.

Then he climbed into a black Lincoln Continental convertible with two American flags flying on the front bumper and rode off as thousands of people cheered. I have never forgotten that day, 55 years ago.

Where have you gone, Jack Kennedy?

As I look around the toxic Arizona legislative leadership and governor, I ask myself, “where are the political leaders who inspire us?”

I don’t see them. Certainly not in our state Capitol.

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