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Arizona Supreme Court holds that Legislators have Standing to Challenge Medicaid Expansion

On the last day of 2014, the Arizona Supreme Court issued its decision in Biggs v. Cooper, the case brought by Arizona legislators who opposed the Medicaid expansion.  The plaintiffs claim that the fee assessed to cover the cost of the expansion is subject to a supermajority requirement under the Arizona Constitution and because the legislation was passed by a simple majority, it is unconstitutional. The trial court had dismissed the case on the basis of standing--holding that the legislators did not have the requisite personal injury to sue.  When the legislators appealed that ruling, the Center filed an amicus brief urging the Court of Appeals to affirm. When the Court of Appeals reversed and the Governor sought review by the Supreme Court, the Center again filed an amicus brief urging the Court to affirm the trial court's ruling.  In its decision, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the individual legislators did not have personal standing, but held that because as a bloc, they had sufficient votes to defeat the legislation if a supermajority was required, then collectively they had standing to litigate the issue.  

Arizona Supreme Court to review medicaid expansion case

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, the Arizona Supreme Court granted the Petition for Review filed by Governor Jan Brewer and supported by the Center (representing amici) to review the Court of Appeals' decision that held that Arizona legislators had standing to challenge a bill that they were unable to defeat in the legislative process.  

Judge Orders State to Reset School Funding Level to Comply with Voter Approved Inflation Funding Requirement

When the Arizona Supreme Court held in September 2013 that as a voter approved law, Prop. 301 required the legislature to increase the funding formula for public schools in order to keep pace with inflation, it remanded the case back to the trial court determine the appropriate remedy.  In a ruling dated July 2, 2014 and filed July 10, 2014, Judge Katherine Cooper ordered that the base level funding be reset to the level it would have been if it had been inflated properly over the last 5 years.  This "reset" represents about $250 million in the first year going forward.  Judge Cooper also ordered that an evidentiary hearing be held on whether the state should be required to pay the money lost in the preceding 5 years, to determine whether school districts could legitimately spend the retroactive amount ($1.3 billion) and whether the state has the money to pay it.  This ruling is a big win for public education!  You can read the decision  here.  

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