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High school graduation rates improved steadily in recent years, according to America’s Promise Alliance. Arizona shared in the gains, but still trailed the national graduation average in 2011, the report said.

Arizona posted one of the country’s sharpest declines in so-called “dropout factories” in the last decade, but was still slightly below the national average for high school graduation rates in 2011, according to a recent report. Read more»

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton defended his agency’s release of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants in what he told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday was a cost-cutting measure.

The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement defended the decision to release more than 2,000 illegal immigrants last month, saying it was needed to keep the agency within budget. But John Morton conceded that eight high-risk inmates were mistakenly released. Read more» 1

More than half of Pinal County residents commute to work outside the county, and most of them head north to Maricopa County, according to a new Census Bureau report. The daily Pinal work exodus is the highest in the state, by far.

Andrew Clegg’s commute from his Arizona City home to his former job in Maricopa County took 45 to 90 minutes on a good day – hours if there was a wreck on Interstate 10. The Census Bureau last week confirmed what Clegg knew: It wasn’t the distance that made the trip so long, it was the tens of thousands of others heading in the same direction at the same time. Read more»

Window Rock Unified School District Superintendent Debbie Jackson-Dennison said the automatic federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” have already forced cuts in her district, which could be forced to close three of its seven schools next year as well.

The Window Rock Unified School District superintendent said the three-day-old federal budget cuts known as "sequestration" have already forced cuts in her district, and could lead to layoffs and the closure of three of the district's seven schools next year if left to stand. Read more»

Former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe was one of more than 100 Republicans who signed on to briefs supporting same-sex marriage in two cases being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. He was joined by a range of groups filing briefs on Thursday’s deadline.

Former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe joined representatives of business, church and civil rights groups to file briefs supporting same-sex marriage in two upcoming Supreme Court cases on the issue. Kolbe, in a same-sex marriage himself, said it's time marriage equality. Read more»

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and others at the 'Don’t Mess With Our Bonds' event said levying taxes on municipal bonds could lead to a loss of jobs, higher taxes and fewer public projects.

While much of Washington is focused on the impact of Friday’s “sequestration” cuts, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith is worried that a proposed solution to that problem could end up seriously hurting cities. Read more»

Arizona Republicans blasted a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement decision to release hundreds of illegal immigrants in anticipation of March 1 budget cuts, with one calling it “pure political posturing.” Read more»

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the border is secure and that now is the time to get at the root causes of illegal immigration through comprehensive immigration reform.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that cybersecurity has gone from a fringe issue to becoming one of the top priorities for her department going forward. Read more» 1

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she skipped a White House dinner last year because there was more pressing business she had to attend to for the state, but made a point of scheduling the dinner this year.

After getting a "bum rap" for skipping a White House dinner last year, Gov. Jan Brewer said she suspects people will see her attendance this year as evidence that she and President Barack Obama are"BFFs." But Brewer said she's just doing the people's work. Read more»

Immigration rights activist Isabel Garcia, second from left with microphone, spoke at a Tuesday demonstration at Tucson's federal courthouse, urging people to pressure Congress to end Operation Streamline.

Programs that fast-track illegal immigrants through the federal courts are costly, constitutionally questionable and are overburdening courts and should be done away with, civil rights and legal groups said Thursday. Read more» 1

Eight of 31 eligible Arizona hospitals were ranked among the top 5 percent in the country in 2013 by a new national report card, giving the state the 13th-best showing in the nation for the percentage of hospitals that made the list.

Eight Arizona hospitals were ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation by a national healthcare rating agency, giving Arizona the 13th-best rate of high-achieving hospitals among states. Read more» 1

The spot where the Little Colorado River, the milky water in this picture, joins the mainstem of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park could have to cut hours and delay the opening of some park sections if automatic federal budget cuts are allowed to take effect March 1, a park advocacy group said Wednesday. Read more»

Don Hughes, a health-care adviser to Gov. Jan Brewer, said Arizona decided to pass on the opportunity to run its own health-insurance exchange and leave the job to the federal government because there were just too many unanswered questions about how it would be regulated.

Arizona gave up on running its own health-insurance exchange and turned the job over to the federal government instead because of uncertainty over how a state program would work, an Arizona official testified Thursday. Read more»

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate committee that the Obama administration has put more resources into the border, which is more secure than it has been in years, making now the best time for immigration reform.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday that the border is as secure as ever and it should not be an impediment to the comprehensive immigration reform. Read more» 1

Tucson youth Haile Thomas, 12, has been invited several times to the White House for her work on youth health, which landed her an invitation to watch the State of the Union address with first lady Michelle Obama.

Haile Thomas was one of two Arizonans, along with Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, who were invited to join the first lady in the Capitol for the delivery of President Barack Obama’s State of Union address Tuesday. Read more»

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