People’s Veto feared by Medicaid expansion groups

In the wake of Governor Jan Brewer’s mass veto of bipartisan bills last week, a “People’s Veto” is in the planning stage. Under the guidance of state senator Ron Gould and Frank Antenori, over 260 precinct committeemen are preparing a referendum petition drive against Medicaid expansion.

Calling themselves the United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives, or URAPC, the group is preparing a referendum for the 2014 General Election ballot. Referendums are frequently referred to as the People’s Veto. Referendums are the public’s opportunity to prevent unpopular bills passed by the state’s Legislature.

Earlier this month, the Arizona Senate incorporated Medicaid expansion into their budget. The House is not expected to adopt the expansion Brewer is pushing, however, in case they do and expansion becomes the law of the land, the PCs are ready.

Across the state, republican PCs reacted with anger at the Governor’s suggestion that they were obligated to support her even if she adopted Democrat Party policies. Nearly every county republican organization voted to oppose the governor’s expansion of Obamacare.

Article 4, Part 1, Section 1 of the Constitution allows the People’s Veto. If expansion survives through the House, URAPC has 90 days from the time of its passage to gather over 86,000 signatures.

Antenori expects the group to be able to get well over 100,000 signatures in 60 days.

Antenori says, “We have over 250 PCs ready to go. They are in every corner of the state and if the Medicaid expansion trigger is pulled, we are ready with to proceed with a People’s Veto.” Antenori says that it is well-known that the Governor brought large amounts of cash for her Medicaid expansion campaign from unions and hospitals, but believes that she will not be able get enough funds to oppose a “People’s Veto.”

Expansion proponents, who are aware of the People’s Veto plan, are already trying to sabotage the PCs’ effort by spreading the rumor that the Koch brothers will step up with cash to oppose Brewercare. However, PCs say they don’t need the Koch brothers; they have boots on the ground ready to hit the ground running.

Last week the Yellow Sheet reported that one pro-expansion strategist expressed concern about the possibility of a People’s Veto. The Yellow Sheet reported, “the strategist said that is an utterly “doable” threshold if critics are organized and able to raise the money to fund the effort. But that’s not the only complication that a referendum on Medicaid expansion would present. If critics succeed in gathering the needed signatures, they would effectively put Medicaid expansion on hold until voters decide its fate in next year’s general election.”

With that in mind, Antenori and his group expect that Obamacare will be on its way out by the time Brewercare could come in.

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