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Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, organized a news conference at which he, other GOP lawmakers and limited-government advocates slammed Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Republican lawmakers and advocates for limited government took to the House lawn Thursday to protest Gov. Jan Brewer’s support for expanding Medicaid coverage. After opposing the Affordable Care Act and deciding against having a state-run health insurance exchange, Brewer announced earlier this year she wants Arizona to accept billions in federal funds over three years. Read more»

Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, says a new law requiring school buses to flash lights and display stop signs on private roads will make children safer.

Starting next school year, school buses in Arizona will be required to use stop signs and flash warning lights even on privately owned roads. Read more»

Experts say it’s important to have bees removed early if they set up around a home or business because they will become more aggressive once they establish a hive.

Over the past two weeks, officials at Arizona State University closed off parts of the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses four times due to bee swarms. Bee attacks reported in Tucson and the Valley have left several dogs dead and injured people. Read more»

Gil Kerlikowske, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, visited with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and two other Valley mayors to discuss fighting drug trafficking, border security and immigration reform.

Gil Kerlikowske, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also said border security has received a boost from more personnel, better technology and increased communication among local, state and federal agencies – and their counterparts in Mexico. Read more»

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said upcoming gun buyback events will get unwanted firearms off the street.

Residents of the nation’s sixth-largest city can get $100 gift cards for turning in handguns, rifles and shotguns and $200 for turning in assault weapons under an upcoming buyback program funded by an anonymous $100,000 donation. Read more»

The state Senate narrowly approved a bill Thursday that would prohibit the state government and political subdivisions from recognizing the United Nations or its declarations. Read more»

Authorities in Yavapai County last year seized items packaged like candy and food that they said was marketed as medical marijuana. A state lawmaker says such items, when legally sold, should be clearly labeled as medical marijuana.

For Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, some edible medical marijuana products are too easy to mistake for candy and should be labeled clearly by law. Hers is among several bills legislative session addressing how the medical marijuana system approved in 2010 should work. Read more»

Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, said he and other veterans serving in the Arizona State Legislature know how challenging it can be to transition from the military to civilian life.

As a retired Marine, Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, said he knows how challenging it can be for veterans transitioning back to civilian life. “We owe it to them to try and give them something to get them back into society, so they’re not just collecting unemployment, and to allow them to use the talents they picked up to put them to work,” he said. Read more»

Sheila Hawkins and her dog Sonny accept a service dog training certificate at the Handi-Dogs graduation ceremony in 2011.

People who rely on service dogs shouldn’t have to pay to register them as pets, a state lawmaker contends. “For the people who are disabled and on a fixed budget, they’re watching every penny and shouldn’t have to pay for the service dog they need,” said Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria. Read more»

Despite objections from newspaper publishers, a House committee endorsed two bills Thursday that would allow local governments to publish public notices online rather than in newspapers. Read more» 2

Brian Anapol participates in a rally outside the State Capitol against a proposal to have another statewide vote on medical marijuana.

On Thursday, a few dozen supporters rallied outside the State Capitol against legislation calling for a new statewide vote on medical marijuana. “I’m not an outlaw. I’m not a criminal, I just want to be well,” said Brian Anapol. “I got the card six months ago and it cut my pain medication intake in half." Read more»

A 2010 state law that legalized sparklers and several other kinds fireworks also bars communities from prohibiting their sale.

Saying it would help reduce the risk of wildfires, a state lawmaker is trying again to give cities and towns the authority to ban the sale of sparklers and other fireworks legalized by a 2010 state law. Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, called it “a little silly” that Arizona communities can forbid the use of fireworks but by law must allow their sale. Read more»

Requiring school buses to flash lights and display stop signs while picking up or letting off children on private roads would help prevent accidents like one that claimed the life of an eastern Arizona girl in 2008, a state lawmaker says. Read more»

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants to address synthetic drugs like spice and bath salts by outlawing their general makeup rather than specific chemical formulas. He said law enforcement agencies have found that makers simply switch formulas when one is outlawed.

It's become a pattern as state lawmakers try to address synthetic drugs: Almost as soon as one recipe is outlawed, manufacturers simply change to a mix that isn't banned. Now a lawmaker wants to outlaw the basic chemical formulas underlying the drugs. Read more»

Elisa Vega, who was approved for the Obama administration’s deferred action program for young illegal immigrants, said she was denied an Arizona driver’s license because of an executive order by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Democrats and activists called on Gov. Brewer to drop an executive order she issued in August denying driver’s licenses to deferred action participants at a press conference in Phoenix Tuesday night. Read more» 1

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