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State Senators Don Shooter and Michele Reagan Fail to Sign on to Goldwater Medicaid Lawsuit

Posted: September 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm   /   by

In response to Governor Brewer ushering in Obamacare to Arizona via Medicaid Expansion, the Goldwater Institute is suing Governor Brewer under the pretext of a Prop. 108 argument. Goldwater argues that the new provider tax required a 2/3-majority vote in both chambers but fell short of this constitutional mandate. 9 State Senators and 27 State Representatives have signed on to the lawsuit alongside conservative activists Jeanette Dubreil (Legislative District 22), Katie Miller (Legislative District 14) and Tom Jenney, acting as private Attorney General to enforce constitutional separation of powers.

[READ: Background on the challenge to Medicaid expansion]

Only two of the 39 legislators who didn’t vote for Medicaid expansion failed to sign on to the Medicaid lawsuit: State Senators Michele Reagan and Don Shooter.  Reagan is running for statewide office in 2014 and while that doesn’t necessarily explain her lack of support, her desire to not to be attached to a high profile lawsuit is likely a motivating factor. However, it should be noted that one of her Republican State Treasurer primary opponents, State Representative Justin Pierce, voted against expansion and also signed on to the lawsuit.

That leaves State Senator Don Shooter. Senator Shooter eventually voted against expansion, but he was an early vocal supporter of Governor Brewer’s plan. Back in January of this year it was publicly reported that Shooter was flying back and forth between Yuma and the Capitol with the Governor on a taxpayer-funded plane promoting the expansion of Obamacare.

When pressed by local media after the session had ended in June as to why he voted “no” against the final package, Shooter replied, “The economics of it is two thumbs up for the short-term…[but] long-term remains to be seen.” So what are Shooter’s true feelings about Medicaid expansion? Why was Shooter an early supporter of expansion and why did he refuse to sign on to the Goldwater lawsuit?

Perhaps the most compelling reason Shooter voted “no” is because his Republican district is heavily against it. In polling conducted during thick of the Medicaid debate at the Capitol, Shooter’s district (LD13) was the second most decidedly against Medicaid expansion among the districts polled.  62% of likely Republican voters in LD13 were less likely to reelect their state legislator if they voted for the expansion of Medicaid.

On top of his Medicaid flip-flopping, Shooter has been in legal trouble recently after he forcefully entered into a Yuma classroom full of children and confronted his grandsons elementary school teacher. Shooter was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and interference with or disruption of an educational institution. Shooter paid a $2,500 fine and charges were eventually dropped. Recently, conservative Buckeye businessman Toby Farmer announced he was challenging Shooter in the August Republican Primary, in part because of Shooter’s ethical lapses.

Both Senators will likely be pressed to explain their lack of participation in the Medicaid lawsuit come August 2014.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed here.

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State Senators Don Shooter and Michele Reagan Fail to Sign on to Goldwater Medicaid Lawsuit