Budget almost completed; sine die possible today

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

A quick review of the Arizona Legislature's web site: the House Appropriations Committee hearing that had been scheduled for 8: 00 a.m. this morning was cancelled. There are no senate committee agendas posted.

The House Committee of the Whole (COW) calendar does include the CAP "poison pill" strike everything amendment, SB 1069, providing for no warrant inspections of abortion clinics. . . apparently not quite dead yet. Rep. Eric Meyer's amendment to refer this to a study committee presumably is still in play. Hopefully the votes for Meyer's amendment are still there, if needed. See COW Calendar #1, and COW Calendar #2.

The House Third Read calendars do not appear to contain other controversial bills. See Third Reading Calendar #1 and Third Reading Calendar #2.

The Senate was scheduled for a live broadcast at 9:00 a.m. (regular session lasted only a few minutes) before returning to the special session. Caucus meeting will occur throughout the day. A motion was made to form a committee to inform the House that the Senate has completed its business and will sine die, but the motion failed this morning.

The House is scheduled for a live broadcast at 11:00 a.m. today.

After last night's acrimonious all-night session in the House, it appears that there is a full-blown GOP civil war, and the bad blood will sideline any further legislative action this session. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) is reporting, Lawmakers
prepare to adjourn as Medicaid expansion moves toward approval

Lawmakers are prepared to sine die Thursday afternoon and leave what’s become an increasingly toxic atmosphere at the Capitol as bipartisan coalitions in each chamber have seized control and began systematically approving Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget proposal in special session.

Senate President Andy Biggs said he’s hesitant to raise expectations, but hopes to adjourn both the budget and Medicaid expansion special session and the 51st Legislative regular session shortly after noon Thursday.

Other lawmakers and political observers agreed that few would want to continue working on bills in an environment where the Majority Party has been torn apart by the divisive Medicaid issue. It split the Republican Party and left some GOP lawmakers to watch helplessly as a budget that includes what they’ve labeled Obamacare was approved in the Senate Committee of the Whole.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona
House approves Medicaid expansion, $8.8 billion budget

Legislators were expected to adjourn the special session today, and perhaps the regular session as well.

* * *

Among the measures that could fall by the wayside is another top Brewer priority — simplifying the state’s system for collecting sales tax. Lawmakers, cities, the governor's staff and other stakeholders have been working for months to cut through the clutter of the current process, but the effort quickly bogged down with objections from many local governments.

Republicans also wanted a slew of changes to election law that included dropping names from the permanent early voting list, limiting who can return ballots on behalf of a voter and tightening procedures for citizen initiatives and referendums.

These bad bills should die. Come back in January after you have met with all interested stakeholders and draft a reasonable bill on which all sides can agree.

Let's hope today is the end of this session.

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