Wednesday, December 19, 2012

True assessment of election procedure needed

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Steve Gallardo and Representative Martin Quezada released the following statements in response to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett's testimony on voting rights before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today:

Sen. Gallardo
Senator Steve Gallardo, D-29:

"Arizona needs a true and impartial assessment of our elections process, not willful ignorance from the man who used his office to question the birthplace of President Obama," said Sen. Gallardo.

"Secretary Bennett has announced that he is conducting an assessment of election procedures, but he has not reached out to any of the minority communities that were disenfranchised by long lines and provisional ballots. There's a reason Arizona has always been under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and it's because of things just like this."

Rep. Quezada
Representative Martin Quezada, D-29:

"It was disappointing, but not surprising, that Secretary Bennett used his time before the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee to claim ignorance of disproportionately high numbers of provisional ballots in minority precincts while attempting to put the blame on groups that worked hard to register new Hispanic voters," said Rep. Quezada.

"The long polling place lines and massive number of provisional ballots we witnessed in the last election are unacceptable."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Arizona should fully expand Medicaid

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor released the following statement on whether or not Arizona should fully expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).

Sen. Landrum Taylor has been explaining to fellow legislators that the best option for Arizona, both fiscally and economically, is to fully comply with ACA by increasing Medicaid coverage to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Covering 100% FPL and lobbying the federal government for the higher 85% match rate, as some are suggesting, would actually cost Arizona taxpayers exactly the same as fully expanding coverage to 133% FPL, while covering fewer lives. Covering only 100% FPL at the lower 66% match rate would cost almost twice as much money while covering fewer lives.

Some even advocate that Arizona continue violating Prop 204 by maintaining the current Medicaid enrollment freeze, which leaves tens of thousands of vulnerable people without healthcare.
Sen. Landrum Taylor
“The only option that makes fiscal and economic success for Arizona is expanding to cover 133% of the federal poverty level," said Sen. Landrum Taylor. "Continuing the Medicaid freeze is not just wrong because it violates voter-approved Prop 204, it is morally wrong. Our society cannot afford to force hundreds of thousands to be reliant on emergency rooms for basic medical care."

"When we stop the political rhetoric and look at the numbers objectively, it's obvious that the best choice for Arizona is to expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level. I will continue working with members of the majority to find solutions that make sure this happens."
Senator Leah Landrum Taylor is the current Assistant Minority Leader and the incoming Democratic Leader for the 2013-14 term.