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The Capitol Roundup: June 29, 2018

The Capitol Roundup: June 29, 2018

Certain Uncertainties
At the Statehouse…
It has been an exciting month in Arizona politics. Courts considered signature fraud on voter petitions and redefined the standard of residency required for legislative candidates, the Clean Elections Commission hosted debates, and the First Lady came to town. A prominent legislator announced his departure from politics and another tried to change the subjectafter his controversial comments on immigration made headlines.


Legislators from both sides of the aisle called for more information on the Arizona facilities holding children separated from their parents as they crossed the Arizona-Mexico border, and a legislative budget committee allocated more funds for an ongoing legal fight about health care in Arizona’s prisons.

Democrats repeated their call for a session on gun safety and expanded their request to include action on child care funding that was not included in the state budget. A special session is unlikely, but members of the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee continued their statewide road trip to talk about their views on Arizona’s water policies.

Legislative Council Committee members spent long hours debating the way three ballot propositions should be officially described to voters in the November election, and the Committee will start the process again if supporters of citizens’ initiatives successfully obtain the required number of valid voter signatures before July 5. Those initiatives cover a range of topics, including a higher income tax for education, new disclosure requirementsfor large campaign donations, altered energy standards, and a ban on fees and sales tax for services. (Click here for a full list of the citizen initiative applications.)

What’s Next?
The campaign fervor will continue to climb in the coming months. Courts will finalize their rulings on which candidates have enough valid signatures to qualify to run for office, campaign ads will hit the airwaves, and more debates will allow voters to hear from the people who want to represent them.Several policy issues are already at the center of campaign debates: education funding, school safety, and immigration. The high-profile U.S. Senate race has marked Arizona as a political “battleground,” and many political match-ups at the federal, state, and local levels of government will stay in the headlines. Immigration issues freqently make the headlines including different aspects of the legal immigration process. Furthermore, immigrating to the US legally commonly involves spousal sponsorship. For further details about sponsoring a spouse for residency, take a look at this helpful article about form i-130a from the Nova Credit website.

Governor Pledges Funds for School Bus Replacement.
Governor Ducey recently announced that the state will use $38 million – approximately half of the $59 million from a settlement with Volkswagen – to replace at least 280 school buses. To qualify, the buses must be at least 15 years old and have at least 100,000 miles; the majority of the funding will go to school districts with at least 60% of students in free or reduced-price lunch programs.Click here for additional details on the funds and how they will be distributed.

In the News
The legislature passed a ban on texting for teen drivers last year, but this weekend it will officially become law. The Arizona Department of Transportation launched its new system to detect wrong-way drivers, and the state’s Chief Information Officer is focused on protecting and promoting cybersecurity.
On the Bright Side…
The Centers for Disease Control recently found that Arizonans are more physically activethan the average American, and National Public Radio highlighted how people with disabilities access and impact the economy.

On the Federal Front…

Major Recent Events
House Passes Bill to Delay EVV Implementation
On June 19, the House of Representatives passed H.R.6042 by voice vote. This bill delays implementation of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act by one year, until January 2020. The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that CMS should hold at least one public meeting and solicit ongoing stakeholder input on its recently-issued guidance. Learn more about this newly-passed bill here.
House Passes Farm Bill with Cuts to Basic Food Assistance
On June 21, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 213-211 the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2, also known as the “Farm Bill”). The bill reauthorizes farm programs and policy as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If enacted, the House bill would make major cuts to basic food assistance under SNAP. The Arc has strongly opposed the House bill. In contrast, the Senate Agriculture Committee recently marked up its own bipartisan proposal to reauthorize the Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S.3042), which protects SNAP. Read The Arc’s statement on passage of the House Farm Bill.
House Budget Committee Approves FY 2019 Budget Resolution
On June 21, the House Budget Committee approved a Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget Resolution. The budget calls for $6 trillion in cuts over a decade, which include Medicaid per capita caps and block grants, Medicare privatization, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The budget resolution contains “reconciliation instructions” that direct eleven committees to come up with at least $302 billion in savings over ten years. This target includes at least $20 billion from the Energy and Commerce Committee and $150 billion from the Ways and Means Committee, which have jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. A “reconciliation bill” that outlines how these cuts would be made would require only a simple majority (51) to pass in the Senate. The Senate Budget Committee may write its own FY 2019 Budget Resolution and it is unclear whether the full House will vote on this budget resolution. See The Arc’s statement on the Budget Committee’s passage of the measure here.
Rescissions Packages Defeated in Senate
On June 20, the Senate failed to pass a rescissions package (H.R.3) by a vote of 48-50. This package would rescind $15.3 billion in appropriated funds, nearly half of which come from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Whilst many people would be able to find their own health insurance for their children this still would have left many vulnerable. The decision to rescind funding from CHIP could have destabilized the program and limited a state’s ability to respond to issues such as natural disaster, large layoffs due to plant closures, or an overall economic slowdown.

Major Events Ahead
House Committee to Hold HUD Oversight Hearing

On June 27, the House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.” Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be the sole witness. Visit the Committee web site for more information.

House Committee to Hold Hearing on Lead-Based Paint and Mold Remediation

On June 26, the House Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Government’s Approach to Lead-Based Paint and Mold Remediation in Public and Subsidized Housing.” The hearing will examine how HUD remedies unsafe living conditions. Exposure to high levels of lead increases the risk for learning and developmental disabilities in children. This hearing follows the release of two reports last week: the Government Accountability Office, “Lead Paint in Housing: HUD Should Strengthen Grant Processes, Compliance Monitoring, and Performance Assessment” and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of the Inspector General, “HUD Lacked Adequate Oversight of Lead-Based Paint Reporting and Remediation in Its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs“. Visit the Committee web site for more information.

White House Releases Major Government Restructuring Proposal

Last week, the White House announced a proposal to make major changes to the structure of government agencies. The most prominent change proposed is the merger of the Departments of Education and Labor. Additionally, the proposal moves non-commodity nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare. If legislation is introduced to make these changes, The Arc will assess the impact on programs critical to people with disabilities.

Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC
www.pcmlawaz.comThe Arc of Arizona


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