The Veridus Weekly 12-7-18

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It’s official: Sen. Jon Kyl will step down from the U.S. Senate by the end of the year. Sen. Kyl, who in September was appointed by Governor Ducey to serve the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s term, will leave his post effective December 31.
 
Kyl’s resignation, while not unexpected, means the Governor will have to pick a new successor to fill the seat until 2020, when it’s back on the ballot in a special election. The 9th Floor, true to form, has been virtually leak-proof about which way Governor Ducey is leaning. Regardless, speculation is rampant and has focused on the following three nominees (listed in order, according to supposed likelihood of being tapped):
  • Martha McSally: Sure, she just  lost her Senate campaign – but Congresswoman McSally earned the support of 1.1 million voters and proved to be a prodigious fund-raiser. She has experience via CD-2 at winning battleground races, which Arizona’s Senate seat is certain to be in 2020. Congresswoman McSally also has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though a recent, anonymously-sourced story in the Washington Post suggests she may be falling out of favor with the Governor.
  • Kirk Adams: Governor Ducey’s former chief of staff announced last month he would be departing the 9th Floor to pursue “opportunities outside of state government.” A Senate seat, perhaps? Adams is a known commodity in conservative and donor circles, and he’s no stranger to campaigns – having won multiple legislative races and served as Arizona Speaker of the House. He was defeated in his 2012 bid for Congress.
  • Eileen Klein: As with Adams, Klein is a former gubernatorial chief of staff (having worked under Governor Brewer). After serving as president of the Arizona Board of Regents, Governor Ducey appointed her State Treasurer earlier this year. Ironically, Klein’s predecessor – Jeff DeWit – resigned the Treasurer’s post to accept a job in Washington, D.C. May Klein be joining him shortly?
  • Bill Montgomery: The Maricopa County attorney checks a lot of boxes. He has experience winning election in Arizona’s largest county and boasts a solid conservative record. Montgomery is lesser-known outside metro Phoenix, however, and may struggle with swing voters in what is expected to be a challenging cycle for the GOP.
Political-watchers expect Governor Ducey to announce his Senate pick before Christmas. Look for something this coming week.
 

Jon Kyl will resign from the U.S. Senate on Dec. 31, setting up another appointment by Ducey to John McCain's seat
Arizona Republic

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl will resign from the U.S. Senate on Dec. 31, The Arizona Republic has confirmed, setting up a second appointment by Gov. Doug Ducey to the seat once occupied by the late John McCain.

Ducey is required under law to name another Republican to the seat. A replacement to the Senate seat "will be announced in the near future," according to the Governor's Office.

Kyl wrote a letter dated Dec. 12 to Ducey, informing him of his resignation. The letter was hand-delivered to the Governor's Office late Thursday afternoon.

[...] The governor and his aides have been tight-lipped about who may be under consideration to replace Kyl.

There is intense interest from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for Ducey to appoint outgoing Rep. Martha McSally, the Republican who lost to Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema for Arizona's other U.S. Senate seat. Sinema will be sworn into office Jan. 3.

Republican donors spent millions of dollars McSally's election effort and likely want to see that investment pay dividends. Ducey and McSally met recently, but it is unclear if there was discussion about a Senate appointment.

Other names have been mentioned as well, including Ducey's former chief-of-staff, Kirk Adams, and state Treasurer Eileen Klein.

Ducey will have to weigh pressure from power players in the White House and on Capitol Hill against advice by friends, staffers and other voices in Arizona.
It is not known if Ducey has discussed his next appointment to the seat with McCain's widow, Cindy McCain.

Read more  HERE.

Enrollment in Arizona 'Obamacare' plans is lagging. Here are possible reasons why
Arizona Republic

With just days left to sign up, Arizona enrollment in Affordable Care Act health insurance plans is lagging.

Arizona enrollment as of Dec. 1 was at 55,090, which is 18 percent lower than it was as of Dec. 2 last year, according to federal data. Enrollment is down nationwide, too.

Saturday is the deadline for individuals and families to purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Such insurance is often referred to as "Obamacare."

[...] Here are six reasons why Arizona's numbers could be down:

1.  Lack of awareness
[...] 2. In 2019, no penalties for being uninsured
[...] 3. Cost could be a barrier
[...] 4. People who auto-enroll haven't been counted yet
[...] 5. More people may get insurance through work
[...] 6. Procrastination

[...] Read more HERE.

No more taxpayer dollars for sexual harassment settlements? New measure would make lawmakers foot the bill
Washington Examiner

Members of Congress accused of sexual misconduct may have to start footing the bill themselves for settlements and court judgments.

While the law currently requires taxpayer dollars to fund settlements, a bipartisan agreement has been reached in the House and the Senate over a measure aimed at curbing sexual misconduct that would hold the lawmakers liable for harassment and retaliation settlements. Members would not be held liable for discrimination settlements, though.

The House passed the legislation earlier this year, and the Senate is poised the pass the compromise measure during this Congress. The legislation is then expected to be sent back to the House as an independent measure.

[...] The legislation also cuts a required 30-day “cooling-off period” delaying a victim from filing a complaint and provides legal counsel and legal assistance to congressional aides.

The settlements would be made public and would be included in a public annual review.

In the past year, lawmakers including Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.; Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa.; and Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., have stepped down from office amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Read more HERE.

Veridus clients in the news

Service Corporation International Awards 2018 Mortuary Scholarships

SCI Scholarship Program Recognizes Mortuary Students From Across the Country

HOUSTON, Dec. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI), North America's largest provider of funeral,  cemetery and cremation services, and its brand, Dignity Memorial, awarded over $80,000 in scholarships to 50 mortuary students as part of the 2018 Service Corporation International Scholarship Program. The goal of the program is to promote excellence in funeral service by recognizing and supporting those students with exceptional leadership potential.

This year's program received over 150 applications and SCI selected and awarded student scholarships based on the criteria of academic performance, community involvement, a personal video submission, and one-on-one interviews with SCI leadership. The students selected represent 14 mortuary schools located in 14 states around the country.

Out of many outstanding candidates, two received honorary recognition. Hailee Trombley was awarded the Brenda Renee Horn Memorial Scholarship and Jamie Fisher was named recipient of the Steve Mack Memorial Scholarship. The Steve Mack Memorial Scholarship was created in honor of Steve Mack, a 42-year veteran of SCI and former Senior Vice President of Operations who lost his battle with cancer in 2015.

Since the program's inception in 2011, SCI has awarded nearly $500,000 in mortuary scholarships. In addition, several past winners have secured positions as funeral directors, funeral attendants and apprentices at SCI's Dignity Memorial locations across the country.

For more information and to apply for the 2019 SCI Scholarship Program, visit www.scischolarships.com.

Read more HERE.

Cigna Expands Financial Wellness Services to Help Customers Improve Overall Well-Being

The My Secure AdvantageTM program provides financial coaching and other resources to Cigna Group Insurance® customers and their household members

BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Global health service company Cigna is expanding the My Secure Advantage (MSA) financial wellness program to group insurance customers effective January 1, 2019. The MSA program includes “money coaching,” identity theft protection and resolution services, and tools and resources for preparing wills and other important legal documents. Through the MSA program expansion, Cigna aims to help millions more individuals live more financially secure lives and improve their overall well-being.

[...] The MSA program will now be standard for most Cigna Group Insurance customers, including those with life, accident, disability, accidental injury, critical illness and hospital care insurance policies.

[...] The MSA program is made available through Cigna's relationship with CLC, Inc., a provider of legal and financial programs for more than 30 years with a national network of more than 20,000 credentialed attorneys, mediators and financial professionals. CLC, Inc. is solely responsible for their products and services. The MSA program is not insurance and does not provide reimbursement for financial losses. The program is not currently available under policies insured by Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York (New York, NY).

Read more HERE.
 
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National news:
 
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