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Budget bills are on the move

The end of the expansion debate at the Capitol – and therefore of the 2013 session – might have finally arrived. Multiple sources told our reporter today that Tobin has given up on his efforts to amend the Medicaid expansion language by inserting transparency and accountability provisions and instead, will let it go to the floor and vote no. “He told the governor: ‘You win’,” a source said, adding that the speaker is “not happy about it.”

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Watch out for demon sheep

Montenegro today (June 3) announced a secretary of state exploratory campaign committee team replete with big names that will resonate in national GOP circles. The team includes media consultant Fred Davis, who is well-known for TV ads, such as McCain’s “dang fence” ad, Quayle’s commercial declaring Obama as the worst president in US history, and 2010 Delaware US Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s “I’m not a witch” commercial.

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Get your clipboards ready

Antenori and Gould spent the long weekend working on plans for a citizen referendum on Brewer’s Medicaid expansion. The two Brewer foes would need to collect 86,405 valid signatures in the first 90 days after sine die to put an expansion referendum on the ballot for 2014, which they believe can be done without paid volunteers.

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LaFaro rhetoric goes from Judas to Pearl Harbor

Maricopa GOP chairman AJ LaFaro once again has earned public scorn for writing a letter to GOP lawmakers in which he compares May 16, the day the Senate passed a budget that includes Medicaid expansion, to Dec. 7, 1941. “May 16, 2013, will be remembered as a ‘day of infamy’ in Arizona’s history.

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The tao of Andy

As soon as rumors of Biggs’ plan began to circulate, so did speculation about the president’s real intentions. One Republican source questioned Biggs’ action, since moving a budget could facilitate the passage of the governor’s AHCCCS expansion plan through his chamber.

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The tip of the spear?

Outside groups are beginning to weigh in against Brewer’s Medicaid plan. American Commitment, a 501(c)(4) that spent millions in the 2012 elections, including about $1.4 million in the Flake-Carmona race, is running a series of web ads against Medicaid expansion.

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Swinging a big stick or a Whiffle bat?

The prevailing sentiment at the Capitol is that the governor’s bill moratorium is a direct consequence of not getting her wish for the Legislature to approve her Medicaid proposal. “The only reason I can think of is she wants to see her Medicaid expansion dealt with,” Kavanagh told our reporter, adding the governor’s move is unfortunate.

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It’s someone else’s problem now

Lang’s decision to leave the commission, and Collins’ impending departure, created a vacuum at a crucial time. Lawmakers, some of whom have been feuding with the commission and with the idea of publicly-financing politicians’ campaigns, recently approved H2593 (Laws 2013, Chapter 98) to dramatically increase contribution limits for individuals and remove the aggregate caps.

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Raking in the dough

Political consultant Chuck Coughlin said last week that he expects the Brewer-backed Arizona’s Legacy independent expenditure committee to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to back candidates in next year’s election, and the invitation for the IE’s fundraiser tomorrow shows it is well on track to do so.

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