Medicaid Expansion and State Budget Bills on the Move

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Looks like the sleepy lull at the Arizona Legislature is coming to an end today.

House Speaker Andy Tobin, who has been negotiating with Gov. Jan Brewer over her proposed Medicaid expansion, has called for a first read on the budget bills this afernoon. Those bills had been in limbo since passing the Senate on Thursday, May 16.

Rep. Bruce Wheeler tells The Range that he expects the Medicaid issue and related budget bills to get a hearing this Thursday, June 6, in the House Appropriations Committee, where Chairman John Kavanagh is expected to strip out the Medicaid expansion before allowing the bills to advance to the full House.

But Wheeler, a central-Tucson Democrat who serves as House minority whip, predicts that enough House Republicans will vote with Democrats to restore the program to the legislation on the House floor and get the package through the chamber.

Medicaid expansion foe and former state lawmaker Frank Antenori told The Range last week that he also expects the proposal will pass the House, which is one reason Antenori is looking to run a referendum to block the expansion if it passes the Legislature. We'll have more on Antenori's plans in this week's print edition, on streets tomorrow.

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