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State funds to address unmet ‘time bomb’ maintenance needs for UA

When the Great Recession hit, Arizona’s university budgets were slashed. With a billion-dollar infrastructure plan in the pipeline, the University of Arizona has committed nearly half of its portion to address the maintenance needs that were pushed off for the past decade, and that started causing problems already.... Read more»

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Arizona reaction to Senate health bill ranges from lukewarm to hostile

The Senate Republican plan to replace Obamacare was quickly attacked by Democrats and kept at arm’s length by Arizona’s Republican senators, who seemed less than eager to comment on a bill few had seen before its release Thursday.... Read more»1

Patterson resigns from Regents over kerfuffle with Finchem

Greg Patterson has stepped down from the Board of Regents midway through his term in the wake of his revealing that he recorded his mocking of Saddlebrooke lawmaker Mark Finchem's Western-style clothing. Patterson has removed blog posts that said Finchem's actions were an "abuse of power."... Read more»

As democratic socialists gain momentum, Arizona Dems try to ease ‘hurt’ feelings

The election of President Donald Trump has ignited the progressive movement, sparking weekly marches and protests throughout his presidency. Although Democrats and leftists have united in their opposition to Trump, experts say there’s still a gaping wound that hasn’t healed after the Democratic primary.... Read more»

What the Devil won't tell you

Arizona losing the economic Battle of Yesteryear

The whole point of Arizona model of "always low taxes" is to win the battle for business. But it looks like our state is fighting the last battle and losing. We have the stingiest combination of low state spending and high poverty rates in America, and now state leaders — and the state as a whole — are going to have to go back to school to cash in on the changing economy.... Read more»

The cost of cuts: Arizona tax carve-outs last year hit $13.7B

Teachers who marched on the Capitol in support of doubling the salary boost that lawmakers were considering went home empty-handed, as Republican lawmakers backed a budget that grants a two-percent increase over the next two years, saying there simply wasn’t money available. But that figure is dwarfed by how much tax revenue the state doesn’t collect each year: In fiscal year 2016, state law allowed $13.7 billion in taxes to go uncollected through a litany of exemptions, deductions, allowances, exclusions or credits.... Read more»

School districts, education groups sue Arizona over funding shortfalls

Lawmakers have violated the Arizona Constitution by failing to adequately fund school facilities and repairs, according to a lawsuit filed against the state on Monday by school districts and education groups. ... Read more»

Arizona public records aren’t so public

More than a month ago, 19 Arizona agencies were given simple public record requests seeking data on the numbers of those requests those agencies received in 2015 and 2016. Less than half responded. ... Read more»

Legislative roundup: Pets and bill signings

Last week was the first week where legislators didn’t meet for committee hearings. Instead, their time was devoted to dozens of votes in the House and Senate and watching the governor’s pen for new laws all before working through the budget in the coming weeks.... Read more»

Bill would protect good Samaritans who break into hot cars to save children, pets

A bill proposed to allow good Samaritans to intervene when children or animals are left in hot cars is waiting on a vote in the Arizona House of Representatives. SB 1001 was designed to protect Good Samaritans who break into cars to save a child or pet if they have “a good faith belief” they are in danger.... Read more»

Legislative roundup: A retired justice, minimum wage & drunken hair cuts

The week in the Arizona Legislature.... Read more»

Legislative roundup: Women, fake news and money

Wednesday was International Women’s Day and it was clear across the capitol who supported it and who didn’t. Some women across the world took the day to strike, wear red and blue, or not buy anything, while others kept their nose to the ground. Women packed both the House and Senate galleries.... Read more»

Lawmaker wants to establish industrial hemp industry in Arizona

A Republican state senator from Lake Havasu City sees economic opportunity in industrial hemp and wants to bring Arizona into the fold.... Read more»

Az lawmakers debate raising minimum auto liability insurance

You might have to pay about $80 more on car insurance next year if a bill working its way through the state Legislature passes.... Read more»

Legislative roundup: More guns and some not so nice things

By mid-day in the beginning of March, it’s already too warm to spend much time outside in Phoenix, but you wouldn’t know that at the state Legislature. Senators, representatives, interns and pages are all working from 9 a.m. to well into the evening, blocking off most of the sun-lit hours. Gov. Doug Ducey has finally started signing bills into law, and the late-night marathon sessions have given legislators dozens of bills to read every day.... Read more»

What the Devil won't tell you

Arizona's low classroom spending is the price of districts being broke

Every March the Auditor General releases a report on K-12 classroom spending and every year the math-challenged press falls for the clickbait line “Arizona classroom spending near record lows.” The real story: the state doesn't provide enough money to pay teachers – the biggest driver of classroom expenses – then cuffs districts around for not spending enough in classrooms. Jerks. ... Read more»1

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