Dr Eric Meyer
In Arizona, we use the term sine die to describe the end of the legislative session. It comes from Latin, and means "without day," or indefinitely.
Sine die sounds dignified, but that is not how I would describe what happened at 3:34 am at the Capitol last Thursday.
Yes, it was the shortest session in recent memory, and yes, the Republican leadership in the Senate lost patience with the slow pace of the deliberations in the House. The Senate adjourned before the House completed its agenda. Chaos ensued. Bills died that night that would have further restricted voting rights and taken additional funds from our schools, and for that we can be grateful.
But make no mistake. Republican priorities are not our priorities and much damage was done in the past 12 weeks:
- The state budget cuts funding for K-12, community colleges and Arizona's state universities, while continuing to phase in tax cuts for big business and increase spending for private prisons.
- The budget eliminates childcare and housing assistance, takes $11 million from the new Dept. of Child Safety, and places a new 1-year limit on lifetime safety net benefits to our neediest families.
- It reduces payment rates to doctors and hospitals by 5 percent, saving the state $37 million, but costing Arizona $150-200 million in federal matching funds - and ultimately limiting access to healthcare by forcing more providers out of Medicaid.
Join me in our efforts to hold elected officials accountable for their votes and their actions. Help us now as we work to recruit and train candidates for the 2016 legislative elections. We are in a fight for Arizona's future and funds are critical to ensuring our success. Please contribute what you can. What we do now will make the difference not only in the outcomes of the next election but in the future of Arizona.
Dr. Eric Meyer
House Minority Leader
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