Here’s Biggs’ deal: Medicaid restoration in exchange for reducing voting rights


By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

Correction added on 5/15 – during my initial perusal of SB1492, it
appeared as if some Medicaid expansion provisions were included in it
already.  While there are some changes to AHCCCS provisions contained in
it, they are minor and *not* part of a Medicaid restoration package.


Well, the Senate has introduced its budget package, placing the
Medicaid restoration plan in the budget itself but adding a kicker, SB1493.

It has the rather innocuous subject of "elections; omnibus".

It really should be called "extortion; all-in-one; every bad election-related scheme offered by the Republicans this year".

summarily removing voters from the permanent early voting list (PEVL),
effectively barring most schools from serving as polling places, making
successful recall elections all but impossible, barring organizations
and campaigns from collecting and returning early ballots, elevating
administrative barriers to initiative petition drives, and more.

Any one scheme would render a bill "unpassable" (and has, many times during this session); placing them all in one bill means that the Senate leadership (read: Andy Biggs) expects factors other than the merits of the proposals to influence legislators' votes on the bill.

The other bills in the package are:

SB1483, general appropriations

SB1484, capital outlay

SB1485, budget procedures

SB1486, revenue; budget reconciliation

SB1487, K-12 education, budget reconciliation

SB1488, higher education, budget reconciliation

SB1489, government, budget reconciliation

SB1490, criminal justice; budget reconciliation

SB1491, environment; budget reconciliation

SB1492, health, welfare; budget reconciliation (yes, probably the one that eventually will have the Medicaid restoration provisions.)


Senate Appropriations is scheduled to hold a hearing
on the bills tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11 a.m. in SHR109.  If you plan to
attend, plan to arrive early because seats will be at a premium.  Bring
a strong bladder, too – it's going to be a long meeting. 

More later…


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  1. The omnibus elections bill is not an appropriations bill. As I have written about extensively, the election “reforms” proposed are unnecessary and counter-productive. The measure should not advance, and the bill should be pulled for a stakeholders meeting of all interested parties to craft a bipartisan elections bill for next year.

    No Democrat should vote for the omnibus elections bill, and it is my understanding that there are several Republicans opposed to various provisions contained in the bill. Whether they will vote their conscience or their party loyalty remains to be seen. Call your state senator NOW.

  2. Not just a crappy deal for Democrats, but a crappy deal for Arizonans. They are despicable. I hope Dems don’t give her the votes.

    On another note here are some highlights of SB1487.
    the K-12 portion of tomorrow’s program

    Surprise! More money to private schools:

    “All monies remaining in the early graduation scholarship fund established by section 15-105, Arizona Revised Statutes, are transferred on the effective date of this act to the commission for postsecondary education IGA and ISA fund for the purpose of funding a one-year continuation of the special education grant program that provides forgivable student loans to juniors and seniors who attend private postsecondary educational institutions in this state.

    And this: School district sponsors a charter and then converts it back to a district school. The state wants the extra money back in a lump sum.

    “If a school district converts one or more of its district public schools to a charter school and receives assistance as prescribed in subsection B, paragraph 4 of this section, and subsequently converts the charter school back to a district public school, the school district shall repay the state the total additional assistance received for the charter school for all years that the charter school was in operation. The repayment shall be in one lump sum and shall be reduced from the school district’s current year equalization assistance. The school district’s general budget limit shall be reduced by the same lump sum amount in the current year.”

    Aren’t these people just wonderful?

  3. So that’s how the pieces fit together. It sounds like the particulars of the budget aren’t really the issue here. It’s a quid pro quo: Medicaid expansion for a raft of voter suppression laws. And it’s a crappy deal for Democrats. My guess is, if Biggs is offering it, he knows he’s losing the Medicaid fight — Brewer holds the stronger cards — so he’s hoping he can play some Democrats for suckers and get something out of the deal.

    Good work, Craig.