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Arizona became the first state in the nation to let drivers add their license to their Apple Wallet. Uses for the virtual license are severely limited, but officials have high hopes for the program.

State and federal officials were excited this week to roll out the first-in-the-nation program that lets Arizona residents add their driver’s license to Apple Wallet - but the only thing it allows is passing through TSA PreCheck at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by just scanning a phone. Read more»

For every $100 that a man earned in Arizona in 2019, a woman was paid $83.10 on average, according to the latest Census Bureau data, slightly better than the national gender pay gap of 81% that year. The narrowing of the pay gap slowed that year, and advocates say that it likely widened during the pandemic, when women workers were disproportionately affected.

The wage gap that had been narrowing between men and women stalled in 2019, according to new numbers from the Census Bureau, and advocates fear the situation will only get worse when pandemic-era data is released. Read more»

State Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, pulled out of a race for Congress Friday after she failed to win an endorsement from former President Donald Trump – likely because she took to the Senate floor this week to criticize another Trump-backed candidate. Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, who was censured by the full Senate.

Arizona Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, dropped her bid for Congress Friday, after failing to get a “promised” endorsement from former President Donald Trump – and days after criticizing another Trump-backed candidate on the Senate floor. Read more»

The Biden administration is trying to stop the Migrant Protection Protocol program, but an Arizona official told House members Wednesday that the program helps keep the state safe. In this March 2021 file photo, a migrant woman gets a hug from a child as they wait to be processed through the Customs and Border Protection facility in Donna, Texas.

The director of Arizona’s Department of Homeland Security told a panel of lawmakers Wednesday that the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “remain in Mexico” policy, is helping to keep Arizonans safe - while federal DHS officials called it a flawed policy program. Read more»

The San Luis Port of Entry is a major pedestrian crossing, with thousands of workers and students crossing the border there every day. But long delays can discourage workers and stall goods and produce at the port, which is now set for a major upgrade.

Arizona is set to receive at least $315 million for improvements to three ports of entry along the Mexican border, money that officials say is badly needed to ease cross-border trade while improving border security. Read more»

Salaries and wages have risen sharply in Arizona and the nation, with demand for workers up as the U.S. emerges from the pandemic. But prices have risen at a faster clip, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eroding workers’ buying power.

Wages rose 5.3% in the Phoenix metro area last year - but prices rose almost twice as fast, with rising fuel and food prices eroding workers’ buying power - a situation mirrored across the U.S., where an average 5% increase in wages was outstripped by a 7% rise in the CPI. Read more»

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills, walks through the Capitol in this 2020 file photo. Since then, he has been fined $50,000 by the House Ethics Committee and, in January, $125,000 by the Federal Election Commission for campaign finance violations.

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills, has agreed to pay $125,000 to the Federal Election Commission for misuse of campaign funds, including charges that funds went to personal use of campaign staffers. Read more»

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Sedona, called the bipartisan VICTIMS Act a 'step in the right direction' toward addressing rising rates of violent crime in the state and nation.

Lawmakers called for action on a bipartisan bill that would allocate $100 million a year for the next decade to support police agencies and increase assistance to victims and their families to address rising violent crime rates in Arizona. Read more»

Arizona had the seventh-highest number of electric vehicles in the nation in 2020, but advocates say a hurdle to increased ownership – in Arizona and the rest of the U.S. – is a shortage of charging stations. A new federal program would create 500,000 stations nationwide.

Arizona stands to get up to $76.5 million over the next five years to develop electric vehicle charging stations along interstate corridors, in hopes of increasing EV ownership by reducing range anxiety for drivers. Read more»

A federal circuit court panel reversed the kidnapping conviction of a Navajo man, saying the charge could not be separated from the assault charge he faced. But the same panel upheld Giordano Jackson’s murder conviction in the 2017 beating death of his girlfriend.

A federal appeals court ruled that a Navajo man who held his girlfriend while he assaulted her cannot also be convicted of kidnapping, saying such an expansion of kidnapping would lead to a “steroidal version” of assault laws. Read more»

Arizona lawmakers are considering close to 100 election-related bills in this legislative session, including many that Democrats charge would attack the right to vote. But in a state where Republicans hold the governor’s office and majorities in both the House and Senate, stopping those bills is an uphill fight.

Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán concedes that Democrats don’t have the numbers on their own to rebuff Republican election reform bills so she turned Thursday to an unlikely source for help: Republicans. Read more»

Hundreds of protesters, on both sides of the abortion debate, rallied at the Supreme Court in December as justices heard a challenge to a Mississippi law that many think could be the end of Roe v. Wade. Arizona advocates, meanwhile, are not waiting for the court but are pressing ahead with legislation.

The Supreme Court is expected to weaken or reverse its landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling this year, but advocates on both sides of the issue in Arizona are not waiting for the court to act. Read more»

A year after canceling the annual March for Life, the crowd at this year’s march was unusually upbeat, as many believe the Supreme Court could overturn or severely weaken Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognized a right to an abortion.

While religious and political leaders took the stage, school and church groups appeared to make up a large part of the crowd that packed the National Mall for several blocks Friday for the 49th annual March for Life. Read more»

While U.S. House members can still vote by proxy and participate in hearings virtually because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, lawmakers at the Arizona Capitol have to show up in person this year to participate, as leaders try to restore a 'sense of normalcy' to the proceedings.

Even though U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, the Tucson Democrat was still able to cast votes in Congress by proxy Thursday while he was quarantined at home - an option many state lawmakers with they had. Read more»

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, from left, at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting on immigration issues. Magnus said his agency is being stretched thin.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and Mesa Mayor John Giles took part in an immigration forum Wednesday and agreed that immigration reform is badly needed to address the current border situation, but they are not confident it can get done in the current fractured political climate. Read more»

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