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No time to party: With omicron surging in Arizona, officials stress masks, tests, COVID vaccines

Arizonans who have had COVID-19 shouldn’t count on immunity from the highly contagious Omicron variant - which continues to spread in the state - as demands on health care workers remain high and staffing remains a huge issue in emergency rooms.... Read more»

Voting rights legislation fails to overcome filibuster despite rule change attempt

Legislation that would create new federal guidelines for mail-in and early voting and end partisan gerrymandering failed to overcome a filibuster from Republicans Wednesday night, despite a last-ditch attempt by Democrats to alter the Senate's rules to push through the legislation.... Read more»

Launius takes lead on Tucson mayor's community safety health, wellness program

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero announced Wednesday that Sarah Launius — former chief of staff for Ward 3 — has been tapped to lead the city's new Community Safety, Health and Wellness program.... Read more»

Tucson pet shelters rake in more than $90k in Betty White tribute donations

Animal shelters and rescue groups around Pima County saw a huge upswing in donations to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of "Golden Girls" star and animal welfare activist Betty White on Monday.... Read more»

Native activist found not guilty in border protest after new arguments on religious freedom defense

Amber Ortega, a Southern Arizona border activist facing two federal charges for protesting the construction of the border wall near Quitobaquito Springs, was found not guilty by a judge on Wednesday. ... Read more»

Biden to provide 400 million N95 masks to Americans

As the Omicron variant surges and hospitals are pushed to capacity, the Biden administration announced a new program Wednesday to give 400 million nonsurgical N95 masks to Americans free of charge to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. ... Read more»

Arizonans protest at U.S. Capitol as Senate takes up voting rights, Kelly endorses changing filibuster

Arizonans were among the activists protesting in Washington D.C. as the Senate began consideration of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Sen. Mark Kelly announced that he'll back changing filibuster rules for the measures.... Read more»

Arizona AG’s Office: Hobbs can’t legally shut down online signature portal

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs will be breaking the law if she shuts down the system that allows congressional and legislative candidates to collect signatures online so they can qualify for the ballot, the Attorney General’s Office warned Tuesday.... Read more»

Legislatures across country back off COVID pandemic protocols

Legislatures across the nation are gathering for the annual ritual of the legislative session - but unlike recent years when masks and social distancing were common, if not the rule, in many states you’d hardly know we were entering the third year of a pandemic.... Read more»

Arizona redistricting commissioners exchange accusations, final map certification delayed

Arizona redistricting commissioners spent several hours airing accusations and grievances over the recently concluded mapmaking process but unexpectedly adjourned without certifying the final congressional and legislative districts. ... Read more»1

Ex-inmates would face less food insecurity under Az GOP proposal to ease SNAP restrictions

Arizona Republican Rep. Walt Blackman is backing legislation that would expand access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for recently released felons by requiring only that the formerly incarcerated person follow their terms of probation to qualify for food assistance.... Read more»

'You can’t be a hockey player': England’s Perlini and Kirk find success across the pond in Arizona

Any questions about the growth of hockey in England can be answered by examining the sport’s presence in Arizona: Brendan Perlini, former Coyotes forward now with the Edmonton Oilers and Liam Kirk, left wing and center for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners.... Read more»

Pima County doubles paid parental leave to 12 weeks for gov't staffers

Pima County employees will have up to 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave after the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to expand the benefit. The change will cost the county about $1.2 million annually. ... Read more»

Forest Service in 'paradigm shift' to use logging, controlled burns to prevent wildfires

The Biden administration will announce Tuesday it is using $3 billion from last year’s infrastructure law to revamp the federal approach to wildfire management, introducing a 10-year plan to deal with the large swaths of the West scientists consider most at risk of destructive blazes. ... Read more»

Pima County works to reduce overrepresentation of Native Americans in its jails

Native Americans are 1.8 times as likely as white Americans to be booked into a Pima County jail, which is why the county in 2016 started to address the drivers of its jail population with such solutions as pretrial behavioral-health diversion programs and warrant resolution. ... Read more»

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