Why did the governor call a special session?
Arizona lawmakers will be at the capitol today after being called to a special session late Tuesday by Governor Jan Brewer. They'll be working on Medicaid expansion and the state budget. I talked with Jim Small of the Arizona Capitol Times this morning, and asked him why the governor would call a special session when lawmakers were expected to deal with the issues during their regular session later in the week.
JIM SMALL: They were all set to deal with it looked like the bulk of the budget on Thursday in one form or another. But, apparently the Governor was not happy with some of what she called "stall tactics" that were being put into place by the House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Andy Biggs. Essentially they didn't have some scheduling for the rest of the week. The House was not going to work originally today. They were going to come back on Thursday to do the budget. And, the Senate had said it was going to work today but then it was going to take Thursday off and come back on Monday. So the Governor apparently did not want to wait that long.
DENNIS LAMBERT: How much difference does moving this deadline up make?
SMALL: Procedurally, I mean it only makes a couple of days. In terms of that it does not make a huge difference, but where it really makes a difference is [that] this is something that has really upset Republicans, especially conservative lawmakers. I mean the staged basically protests in both the House and the Senate yesterday. There is I think a lot of raw emotion right now and frankly a lot of really hurt feelings. It's going to play out defiantly I think when we see the floor debate on this budget there is going to be a lot of fiery and angry speeches.
LAMBERT: Does this call for a special session make it more or less likely that Medicaid expansion will be approved?
SMALL: I don't know if that changes the odds as to wither it going to get approved or not. Honestly, I think it was going to happen one way or the other. All this does is that it forces it to happen in a shorter time frame and frankly if it is even possible to imagine in an even more acrimonious political climate considering this has been the issue that has dominated the entire legislative session and it had already been a really kind of a flash point for Republicans.
LAMBERT: That's Jim Small of the Capitol Times.