Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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

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".

There's 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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