Once considered a conservative governor due to signing SB 1070, which toughened up illegal immigration laws, Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer has now destroyed that reputation. Last week, she called a surprise special session of the legislature, and allying with Democrats, bullied through Obamacare's massive expansion of Medicaid, known as AHCCCS in Arizona. The bullying tactics she used to coerce Republican legislators into voting for it were so appalling, they made national news and have prominent Republicans all over the state speaking out in outrage.
Brewer called legislators into the State Capitol at 5 p.m. last Tuesday, and kept them there until they passed the bill at 3:40 a.m. According to Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), a Tea Party leader, the 600-page bill was presented at the last minute to legislators, who were told they would be voting on it within a few hours – not enough time to thoroughly examine it. Legislators were instructed not to ask any questions, nor vote yes on any amendments. One of the amendments they were forced to turn down would have created a Pat Tillman license plate to benefit veterans and their families (fortunately it was added to another bill a couple of days later and passed).
Kelly sent a mass email to Republicans around the state after the debacle, blowing the lid off Brewer's underhanded tactics, which included this appalling story, “One Republican legislator whom I won't name told me that when they were in the Governor's office, they were offered help on their next reelection campaign and an assurance that they would win if they voted for the expansion.”
Legislators who dared to speak up against Brewer’s Medicaid expansion had their bills vetoed by Brewer in retaliation. In May, Brewer said she would continue to veto unrelated bills until Republicans agreed to expand Medicaid. She brazenly admitted, "I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state budget and plan for Medicaid. It is disappointing I must demonstrate the moratorium was not an idle threat." One of the bills she vetoed in retaliation would have allowed people to sue over violations of religious freedoms.
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