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Ronald Young fashions a pylon used to hold weapons on the AH64D attack helicopter that is built at Boeing’s Mesa plant. The defense contractor employs more than 4,000 people at facilities in Arizona.

Defense contracts awarded in Arizona fell by $1.7 billion between 2012 and 2013, buffeted by the federal budget sequestration, a drawdown of U.S. military commitments and a sluggish economic recovery. Read more»

The Department of Veterans Affairs had come under fire from lawmakers who said it was not acting quickly or forcefully enough against executives charged with mismanagement.

he Department of Veterans Affairs formally removed Sharon Helman from her position as Phoenix VA healthcare director on Monday for “lack of oversight and misconduct” in the troubled operations at the facility. Read more»

Phoenix resident Mario Hernandez, center, joined other advocates who came to the Capitol to talk about challenges they have faced gay immigrants who are in this country illegally.

As others continued to rally at the White House for immigration reform, members of gay and immigrant groups had their own message for President Barack Obama: Don't forget about us. It came as Obama said he will move forward on his own on immigration reform. Read more»

Republican Martha McSally’s win in Arizona’s 2nd District in Congress is not yet official, but she has claimed victory and joined incoming members for orientation at the Capitol.

The outcome of the election won’t be official until next month, but congressional hopeful Martha McSally reinforced her recent claim to a victory over Ron Barber by showing up in Washington, D.C., for freshman orientation Monday. Read more» 7

Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, told House lawmakers that the agency is making progress on firing poorly performing workers but that it still has to move cautiously.

House members demanded to know why senior Department of Veterans Affairs executives who were implicated in recent scandals at the agency have not been fired, months after the agency got that authority. VA officials said they are making progress, but have to proceed cautiously. Read more»

The Arizona Constitution since 2006 has prohibited bail for felony suspects who are in this country illegally. A federal court last month overturned the law, but Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy delayed it temporarily at the request of Maricopa County officials.

The decision means a lower-court ruling overturning the voter-approved Arizona law that bans bail for felony suspects in this country illegally will take effect. Even though the law is suspended, Maricopa County officials said they will file a formal appeal with the high court. Read more»

An active social media presence may help a politician – or it may not. In Arizona’s statewide and congressional races this year, it was a tossup. About half those campaigns with an active social media presence won their races, about half lost.

If Facebook friends were votes, Fred DuVal would be the next governor of Arizona. But DuVal, a Democrat with 30,425 fans of his social media site on Election Day, was defeated easily Tuesday by Republican Doug Ducey and his comparatively small 18,866 Facebook fans on that day. Read more»

Police in January 2011 lined up weapons that had been recovered under Operation Fast and Furious. Almost two-thirds of the 2,000 weapons that were trafficked under investigation were never recovered, however.

The Justice Department released 64,280 pages of documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious on Monday night, more than two years after a House committee originally demanded records from the botched “gun-walking” probe. Read more» 1

Officials said email conversations between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA Office of Inspector General on a report on the Phoenix VA were not only routine but were aimed “explaining what happened in Phoenix in the clearest possible way.”

Critics say emails from the Department of Veterans Affairs to its inspector general over a report on the Phoenix VA are cause for concern. But the VA said the emails were not only routine but helped explain "what happened in Phoenix in the clearest possible way." Read more» 1

Michael Berg and Rodney Eckersley display their marriage license outside Maricopa County Superior Court on the same day a federal judge overturned Arizona’s same-sex marriage bans. The two said they had waited 18 years for the right to marry.

In the week since Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage was rejected, clerks in all 15 counties say they have issued at least one marriage license to a same-sex couple - some to hundreds. And at $76 a pop, state coffers may already have taken in more than $20,000 in license fees. Read more»

The Department of Veterans Affairs was dealing with reports as early as 2008 of workers in its Phoenix facility altering records to make it look as if veterans were getting treatment sooner than they actually did.

Lawmakers reacted angrily to news the Department of Veterans Affairs knew about problems at its Phoenix health care facilities as early as 2008. But the VA said it dealt with problems as they arose and that 2008 and 2010 memos detailing those issues were "no secret." Read more»

A federal appeals court voided the state’s voter-approved law that denied bail to felony suspects who are also believed to be illegal immigrants, saying the law violates the due-process rights of suspects.

The divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the voter-approved ban on bail violates suspects' due-process rights. But one of the dissenting judges said that throwing out a law overwhelmingly approved by state voters "leaves Arizona nowhere to turn." Read more»

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff, said she was 'appalled' that the director of the Phoenix VA health care system is still on paid leave while Department of Veterans Affairs officials review the troubled Valley operation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has recommended the removal of four senior officials around the country, but missing from that list is the director of the troubled operation in Phoenix. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said in an email Friday she was “appalled that Sharon Helman (the director of VA health care facilities in Phoenix) continues to receive a paycheck.” Read more»

Renzi, in his official congressional photo.

The federal circuit court rejected claims by Renzi and associate James Sandlin that the evidence against them was insufficient. Renzi was convicted in 2013 of shifting money from his insurance firm to his campaign and trying to engineer a land deal in exchange for supporting legislation. Read more» 1

The Supreme Court will hear at least two cases from Arizona in its next term, and could take up more. Experts say that level of activity before the court is unusual for state Arizona’s size.

The Supreme Court term begins Monday and, as in recent years, Arizona will be arguing cases before the justices in this term. Two Arizona cases have already been accepted by the court for argument and several others are in the pipeline, a level of activity unusual for a state Arizona's size. Read more»

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