Budget Bills and Medicaid Expansion Pass Senate

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It appears that Sen. Al Melvin left his fireworks in his other pants. The Arizona Senate passed the budget bills tonight in a relatively quiet third-read session and has adjourned until next week.

Melvin made a brief speech commending Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but otherwise was content to just vote on the losing end of the budget battle this evening.

In other budget news, the Children's Action Alliance celebrates the spending plan in an emailed bulletin to supporters:

During the Committee of the Who'e this afternoon, the Arizona Senate voted to restore and expand Medicaid coverage for adults as Governor Brewer and dozens of community groups have been supporting.

In addition, they also voted to increase critical funding for abused and neglected children. These increases include:

$4 million for Children Support Services. The original legislation did not include any increase for Children Support Services. (CAA called for $10 million.)

$4 million for Child Care. The original legislation provided an increase of $5 million; the amendment brings the increase to $9 million. (CAA supported the Governor’s plan which included $9 million.)

$1 million for Grandparents Stipend. This provides the funding needed to support a monthly $75 stipend for qualified grandparents raising their grandchildren. (CAA called for $1 million.)

Other changes increased parity funding for the universities and added $4.5 million to the Department of Education's budget for adult education.

Once the Committee of the Whole finishes its work, the legislation goes to final vote by the Senate before moving to the House. Stay tuned…

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