State Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Olivia Cajero Bedford voted Thursday to allow a bill to move forward that would authorize the state to ask for a Medicaid waiver request from the federal government.
By voting affirmatively on the measure in the Rules committee, each indicated it doesn’t violate any state laws. That directly contradicts previous statements by the Democratic Caucus and Sinema that it is unconstitutional because the health care provision is a voter-approved law protected by the state constitution.
Cajero Bedford has been a legislator since 2003. Sinema, a legislator since 2005, said the debate and the motion preceding the vote were on a technical amendment to correct a typo in the bill. When the motion was called, she voted for the amendment, only to be told later the whole bill had been lumped in and approved along with the amendment.
She immediately protested the unusual procedure, she said.
“I said, ‘I want it on the record that I don’t support this, I support the technical amendment and not the bill,’” Sinema said.
Democratic state legislators have opposed any cuts to health care, especially those on the the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s version of Medicaid. The state seeks a federal waiver to drop 280,000 people from coverage.
The Rules Committee analyzes bills based on their legality and compliance with other state laws.
Sinema sent out a statement Thursday afternoon again saying the bill is unconstitutional because voters approved the original health care initiative.