Woeful Wednesday | Arkansas Blog

Woeful Wednesday



The midweek line commences. I expect David Ramsey to be back with final words on action today on Medicaid expansion. Looks like each house will recall the enabling legislation for some amendments to further satisfy worries that Arkansas can shape the legislation the way it wants. That's said to be procedural. It requires only a simple majority vote in any case. Late afternoon committee meetings are set to move the amended bills forward tonight. Still expecting tonight the Senate vote on the critical appropriation, which takes a 75 percent vote, or 27 senators. Sounds like they have them. The House will reconvene at 5 p.m. later this evening to pass the amended enabling bill.

I'm led to understand the amendments will codify in Arkansas law some of the aspects of federal law most desired by backers of the private option method. They are effectively cover for some late-arriving additional Senate votes to the appropriations bill, most like Sen. Missy Irvin particularly.

As I further understand it, the plan is for both the House and Senate to complete amendments and approval of an identifical version of the enabling bill tonight and then for the Senate to vote on and approve the appropriations bill. Somebody call Papa John's for some pizza.

UPDATE 8 PM: David Ramsey has far more details above, but it's going down just as i predicted. The critical piece is done, with Senate approval of the appropriation bill 28-7. Procedural mopup is in progress. Only votes no in Senate were Republicans — Alan Clark, Cecile Bledsoe, Jim Hendren, Bart Hester, Jane English, Bryan King, Gary Stubblefield. This is a national news headline: Republican-majority Arkansas legislature approves billion-dollar Medicaid expansion under the federal legislation known as Obamacare.

Otherwise, final words:

* PISTOL PACKIN' PRYOR: Of course Sen. Mark Pryor voted with the NRA and against the Senate measure to broaden gun background checks, a measure supported by liberals like John McCain and Joe Manchin. I figured as much in mentioning the coming vote this morning. You can go back there for some related links. The measure, though it drew 54 votes, was defeated by filibuster because it needed 60 votes to go forward, much to the NRA's happiness. Later, an assault weapons ban drew only 40 votes, not including Arkansas senators of course. The president and others have said the NRA willfully lied in saying the background check would lead to a firearms registry, specifically prohibited by the bill.

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