So, what exactly was THAT?
The Arizona State Senate concluded a raucous debate Friday by voting to formally adjourn the session Sine Die. But the Legislature’s plans remain anyone’s guess, as a majority of House Republicans are blocking adjournment in hope of resuming regular legislative business.
The strange episode is just the latest twist in a legislative session waylaid by a pandemic and with no clear path forward. Typically, the House and Senate adjourn the session by approving Sine Die resolutions in quick succession. But, if one chamber adjourns and the other refuses? The result is a sort of legislative limbo. The session can’t be formally concluded without support of both the House and Senate; likewise, a bicameral legislative body can’t really resume lawmaking without participation by both chambers.
What we have is a session that is neither alive nor dead. Zombieland: Arizona Capitol Edition.
In recent days, House Speaker Rusty Bowers has twice announced and then recanted plans to adjourn Sine Die. Pushing forward an adjournment resolution on the backs of Democratic lawmakers could spell the end of his speakership, but it seems equally perilous to allow the session to hang in this kind of suspended animation for long.
What now? One possibility is for Governor Ducey to broker an adjournment agreement with House and Senate leaders, with a pledge the Governor will call legislators back to the Capitol this summer or fall for a special session. Short of that, the House-Senate staring contest resumes Monday.
Veridus Clients in the news
BLOOMFIELD, Conn., May 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Cigna today is launching its new COVID-19 Customer Protection Program to further safeguard its customers from unexpected costs for COVID-19 care through “surprise” or “balance” bills from out-of-network health care providers.
[…] Cigna customers will not pay out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 related care delivered by an in-network provider anywhere – whether at an office, an urgent care center, emergency room or through virtual care.*
The company is taking further action to protect its customers who receive care from out-of-network providers by advocating that all health care providers bill reasonable, market-based rates for COVID-19 related care. Reasonable rates are generally based on what the federal government pays for care in the geographic area, are in line with state requirements, and are consistent with what is considered normal standards of care for COVID-19. Cigna is reimbursing all providers, both in- and out-of-network, at these reasonable, market-based rates for COVID-19 care.
Surprise or balance bills can occur when an out-of-network health care provider bills a patient directly for the portion of their charges that exceed the fair and reasonable rate. The Department of Health and Human Services and several state governors have taken critical steps to prevent COVID-19 surprise bills, and now Cigna is taking further action to reinforce this protection for its customers, while ensuring that providers are paid promptly. […]
Arizona to give Green Valley hospital $3.6M to help it survive financial crisis brought on by pandemic
Arizona Daily Star
PHOENIX — The state will give $3.6 million to the only hospital in Green Valley in a plan designed to keep its doors open.
The first $1.1 million payment has been made under a deal with the state, with an account set to receive the second $1 million payment, said Kelly Adams, the chief operating officer of Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital.
Two more payments totaling $1.5 million are to be paid within three weeks.
The money will most immediately be used to pay staff and suppliers, Adams said.
He said the hospital has been in financial trouble due to the pandemic and related restrictions imposed by the state.
In-patient revenues have dropped 60%, Adams said, driven in large part by a ban on elective surgery that Gov. Doug Ducey imposed to preserve medical equipment and supplies for pandemic use.
Emergency room revenues have dropped by the same amount, a situation that officials at the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association say is directly related to the governor’s stay-home order and fewer people on the road and getting into accidents.
To get the money, the governor’s office required Adams and hospital officials to sign a contract with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, and agree to conditions.
One is a requirement to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. […]
PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today released the following statement in recognition of National Nurses Day today, May 6 and National Nurses Week, May 6 to May 12.
“We’ve always known that our nurses are superheroes. And that’s more apparent than ever as they serve on the frontlines in Arizona’s fight against COVID-19. To all of our nurses — thank you for stepping up and serving Arizona so well in this time of need.”
“We are immensely grateful to you and your families. Keep up the great work, and know that Arizona stands with you today and everyday.”
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In other news …
Arizona Capitol Times
Arizona’s largest county is considering holding up to two weeks of in-person voting in the August primary election to reduce the risk that the coronavirus will spread among people casting ballots.
Maricopa County election officials proposed opening 75 to 100 “vote centers” where any registered voter can cast a ballot during a 10-to-14-day period before the Aug. 4 primary. The proposal was outlined Monday by Scott Jarrett, head of Election Day and emergency voting for the county, in a presentation to the Board of Supervisors. A final decision is expected next month.
Vote centers would maintain social distancing and cleaning protocols, and voters would not be tied to a neighborhood polling location.
About eight in 10 voters already cast ballots by mail, and the county also plans an advertising campaign to let the remaining voters know how to request a mail ballot.
The county could make the change without the approval of the Legislature under existing laws allowing for early voting, said Megan Gilbertson, a spokeswoman for the county’s Elections Department.
Election officials around the country are scrambling to come up with plans for safely carrying out the election this year. […]
As Arizona and other states gradually reopen their economies, grim headlines will persist for months. But better news may not be far off.
Arizona State University economists are predicting a recession of three to nine months, followed by a swift recovery if consumer spending — bolstered by heavy federal stimulus — kicks in as they expect.
“We’re going to see some startling numbers,” said Dennis Hoffman, an ASU economics professor, citing what he expects will be annualized drops in national Gross Domestic Product during the second quarter of between 20% and 40% and unemployment rates for Arizona that could exceed 15%.
However, Hoffman and other speakers at an annual forecasting webinar hosted by the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Economic Club of Phoenix expect a relatively quick V-shared recovery as suppressed consumer spending and service industries rebound.
And in some ways, Arizona could emerge from the downturn well-positioned to attract further business investment and expansion. […]