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The vast majority of House votes – about 92% – were cast in person this year, but more than half of all members cast at least one vote by proxy, letting another lawmaker cast their vote when they were physically absent. Some cast hundreds of such votes, including two Arizona lawmakers. Critics say they policy, introduced in response to the pandemic, is being abused, but supporters say it lets Congress work remotely like businesses everywhere.

More than half of Arizona’s House delegation cast votes by proxy this year, including two who were among the top remote voters in Congress and another who once called proxy voting “shameful and unconstitutional” but did it anyway. Read more»

The $7.1 billion in earmark, or 'community project funding,' requests from House members included everything from infrastructure to workforce training to police equipment. Arizona lawmakers’ requests were relatively modest compared to the rest of the House.

Congress restored earmarks this year, and more than 300 House members rushed in with $7.1 billion in special requests - but Arizona lawmakers were modest: No Republicans asked for earmarks and all five Democrats were in or near the bottom half of the amounts requested. Read more»

The traditional balloon drop. from the end of the Democratic National Convention in a 2016 file photo. While voter registration is rising in Arizona, the number of people opting to affiliate with one of the major political parties is dropping, with analysts saying party politics has turned off potential members.

The major political parties in Arizona have continued to lose voters since the November election, with strident partisanship “turning off” voters and driving them to register as independents, and experts said that the shift is not unique to Arizona. Read more» 1

A federal moratorium on evictions – imposed last year as a health measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 – ended Saturday, even though thousands of Arizona families are behind on their rent and little of the federal aid that was supposed to help renters has actually been disbursed.

The federal government’s COVID-19 moratorium on renter evictions ended Saturday, leaving thousands of Arizona renters vulnerable while state and local officials have distributed just a fraction of the funding aimed at keeping people in their homes. Read more»

Workers with the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office unload some of the 2.1 million ballots that were returned Thursday after being in the custody for the last six months of Cyber Ninjas and other firms hired by state Senate Republicans to audit the county’s November election results. Critics have called the effort a sham, and say the private groups funding the effort further cloud the work.

Cyber Ninjas, hired by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to 'audit' Maricopa County’s 2020 elections, said this week that its work was funded by $5.7 million in donations from conservative groups, a revelation that raised as many questions as it answered for critics. Read more» 2

Then-Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, drops the mic after defending himself on the floor of the Arizona House in 2018, as fellow lawmakers voted 56-3 to expel him for violating the House’s zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment.

A federal appeals court Thursday refused to reinstate former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter’s challenge of his 2018 expulsion from the Legislature for violating its policies against sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace. Read more»

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., won a special election last year to replace the late Sen. John McCain in what became the most expensive campaign in state history. With the seat up again in 2022, and control of the Senate at stake, Kelly is already fundraising heavily for a race that has drawn a number of Republican challengers.

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly has a huge fundraising lead over potential challengers to his 2022 re-election bid, but analysts say that’s still no guarantee in a campaign where both parties are fighting to take control of an evenly divided Senate. Read more»

Auditors said this week that they have completed their review of more than 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 general election, but still have questions before they can finish their report. But critics call the audit a politically motivated scam, and now a House Oversight and Reform Committee panel is investigating the probe.

Arizona Democrats called on Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate the state Senate’s 'audit' of Maricopa County election returns as a congressional panel launched its own investigation into Cyber Ninjas, the private firm contracted by Senate President Karen Fann. Read more»

Senators are working on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal does not include the 'human infrastructure,' like health and child care, the president wanted, but does fund more traditional projects like roads, ports and water projects. But Democratic insistence on human infrastructure spending had some Republicans hesitating.

Tucson Mayor Romero and Phoenix Mayor Gallego joined other mayors and governors at the White House on Wednesday to push for the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, a measure she has said is needed to reverse decades of “massive underinvestment.” Read more»

The federal government will begin making direct payments this week to taxpayers with children, an expansion of the child tax credit that will advance taxpayers some of the money they would otherwise have to wait until tax season to get. The payments, of up to $300 per child, will come monthly through December.

Monthly payments from the IRS are set to begin to most American families with children - beginning now through December - part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and an advance on 2021 tax returns that could mean up to $300 a month per child. Read more»

Arizona has carried out most executions with lethal injection since 1992, although some death-row inmates have the choice of that or the gas chamber. The state last executed a man in 2014, when the drugs that were injected into the inmate took almost two hours to kill him.

The state’s plan to execute two death-row inmates as early as this fall were derailed Monday when the Arizona Supreme Court ordered the state to first determine the viability of its execution drugs before pressing ahead. Read more»

Unlike restaurants or stores that could offer carryout or limited service, concert venues were shut down entirely by the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of delay, a $16 billion federal relief program has started releasing funds, but venue operators say they need the money now.

Federal officials have awarded $45.3 million in COVID-19 relief funds to 68 Arizona concert venues, a vast improvement over the single grant awarded a month ago but still far short of the need, advocates say. Read more»

Black-footed ferrets, once thought to be extinct, have slowly increased their numbers under state and federal management, but a sudden drop in the population of the one re-established group in Arizona has officials looking for new sites to lessen threats to the species.

Federal officials want to greatly expand habitats for black-footed ferrets in Arizona and possibly into neighboring states, but the endangered animal, once thought extinct, still faces several hurdles, including a "need to secure the prey and secure the habitat.” Read more»

Arizona drivers saw their commuting time and costs from sitting in traffic drop sharply from 2019 to 2020, as COVID-19 forced more people to avoid schools and offices and work from home last year. The pattern was repeated across the U.S., where the extra hours behind the wheel during daily commutes fell by half.

Cities across Arizona and the U.S. saw drops of 50% or more in the number of hours and dollars they wasted sitting in traffic, and a reduction in gasoline burned while idling in a traffic jam, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to sharp drops in commuting and subsequent declines in traffic congestion. Read more»

Arizona ranks relatively high among state when it comes to the rate of electric vehicle registrations, government data shows. But advocates say a hurdle to increased registrations, in Arizona and elsewhere, will be increasing the availability of charging stations. In this 2016 photo, a car at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is charged with solar-generated power.

Arizona had 28,770 registered electric vehicles as of June, according to the U.S. Department of Energy - the seventh-highest number among states - and when ownership is measured per 1,000 residents, Arizona inches up a notch to sixth place with just over four electric vehicles per 1,000 people. Read more»

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