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The Arizona House and Senate are primed for rapid movement of a $9.58 billion budget package.

The package of 14 bills was introduced in the Senate late Tuesday and the House is expected to introduce a companion set of legislation Wednesday. Ahead are appropriations committee hearings, floor debate and votes.

Senate President Andy Biggs says he hopes the budget can pass by the end of the week.

The action came after some Republican House members balked at the deal negotiated by GOP leaders in the House and Senate and Gov. Doug Ducey.

A tentative agreement between Republican Senate and House leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey boosts spending in the coming budget year about $100 million above what Ducey wanted.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough says the bottom line budget plan includes $9.58 billion in spending, and includes extra cash for universities, K-12 schools and county and city roadbuilding. The plan also includes the end to some budget-balancing gimmicks dating to the Great Recession for universities and social service and child safety agencies.

onlyinyourstate.com

KNAU commentator Scott Thybony has driven countless miles of dirt road in his quest to track down stories and adventures. His curiosity often lures him down some of Arizona's worst washboard roads. In this month's Canyon Commentary, Thybony  waxes poetic - and mathematical - about the power of a rough dirt road. 


Jacob Stanek/Daily News-Sun

A court challenge prompted by major problems in Arizona's presidential primary heads to a full hearing with testimony expected from experts and voters who allege they couldn't cast ballots.

Monday's hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court comes as Judge David Gass considers a request from the Arizona attorney general's office to throw out the case.

Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

Republican leaders of the Arizona House and Senate have spent long hours in the past week behind closed doors with Gov. Doug Ducey's representatives hashing out details of a budget deal that could be revealed as early as Monday.

House Speaker David Gowan and Senate President Andy Biggs and their appropriations chairs met every day last week as they sought to iron out differences between the chambers and the governor.

Many House and Senate Republicans are hoping an acceptable deal can get the needed 31 and 16 votes to make its way to Ducey by the end of the week.

The Telepoem Booth

Apr 22, 2016
KNAU/Gillian Ferris

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. Arizona-based writer and artist Elizabeth Hellstern created a special public art installation for the occasion, The Telepoem Booth. It combines the vintage technology of a rotary phone booth with the modern technology of mp3 files. Hellstern recorded more than 200 poems - read by their authors - and programmed them into a 7o's-era phone booth. All you have to do is look in the Poem Directory and dial. The Telepoem Booth is currently set up on a sidewalk in downtown Flagstaff. That's where Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris caught up with its inventor and produced this audio postcard.


KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

New knowledge about the endangered Bonytail Chub is helping biologists understand more about the native Colorado River fish: how it maneuvered through pre-dam floods and is surviving current experimental high-flow releases. 


EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

Environmental groups are suing the federal government for its decision to extend operations at the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine in Fruitland.

The Farmington Daily-Times reports that the suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior and other federal agencies was filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona Wednesday.

The lawsuit alleges the agencies failed to thoroughly assess the potential impacts the coal-fired plant and surface mine could have on the environment and public health before approving the 25-year extension last July.

Arizona Game and Fish Department

There’s been a mysterious drop in the number of endangered black footed ferrets in Arizona. They are the only ferret species native to North America, and researchers think disease, drought and other environmental factors could be affecting their populations. As Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports, the ferrets might not even be around today if it wasn’t for a dog named Shep.


National Park Service

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to reimburse states that paid to keep National Parks open during the federal government shutdown in 2013. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.


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