The Farley Report: 6-4-13

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Time once again for The Farley Report from Senator Steve Farley (D-LD 9):

This will be another short Report, but at least we know that –unlike
last week — the budget and Medicaid are starting to move in the
House. 

Progress looked pretty slow today until Speaker Tobin casually
announced a first reading of all the Senate budget bills, and assigned
them all to the Appropriations Committee.  

Where they go from there is less certain.  

We do know that the Speaker met with the Governor on the topic
yesterday, clearing the way for action, so his moving the bills is a
hopeful sign that he will support them or at least not stand in their
way, a classy move on his part. 

The Approps Chair, John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) is no fan of the
Medicaid restoration, so he may well try to gut the bills in committee,
but I am hearing that there will be enough bipartisan votes on the floor
to strip off the Approps amendments, returning them to their original
state, which would mean that passage would send them straight to the
Governor's desk, not back to the uncertain fate of a Senate conference
committee.  

The Medicaid restoration is part of the budget's Health bill, meaning
that any reasonable amendments agreed upon with the Governor to make
Medicaid more palatable to the Speaker would still go back to the
Senate, but would avoid a conference committee because that bill's
sponsor is John McComish (R-Ahwautukee).  As a supporter of the Medicaid
restoration, he would be able to simply concur with the amendments and
send it to the Governor after a vote that would pass with the same
coalition from two weeks ago. 

The final House vote on the budget could happen by Thursday or Friday
of this week, with a final Senate concurrence on any amended budget
bills potentially next Wednesday, with the session ending by the
following Thursday. Of course, very few things go as planned in the
Legislature, so there are no guarantees, except that I will keep you
informed. 

In any case, the renewed movement is good news, and portends a
possible end to the session as early as next week. Hopefully, there will
be much to share in the next Farley Report. 

For those of you who are worried about former Senators Frank Antenori
and Ron Gould organizing an effort to refer the Medicaid restoration to
the November 2014 ballot (suspending the enactment and forcing the
State to unnecessarily spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in
the meantime while our hospitals and tens of thousands of citizens
remain at risk), I believe you can relax a bit.  

Court cases have already declared clearly that budget-related bills
are not subject to the referendum provisions of the Arizona
Constitution. I hope that Mr. Antenori and Mr. Gould will soon understand
the fruitlessness of their efforts to destroy our state's economy and
healthcare system in order to get a few more minutes in the sun. The
people of Arizona are sick of those kinds of partisan games. It's time
to move into the bipartisan, moderate future charted out by the Senate
budget.  

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator.

Steve Farley

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