Associated Press

Hawaii, Alaska and the Southwest face an above-average threat of wildfires this summer, but most of the country should see normal or below-normal problems, forecasters said Sunday.

The National Interagency Fire Center's outlook for the spring and summer shows the potential for significant fires will be below average for much of Texas, the South and the southern Midwest. But some regions will face active fire seasons.

Here's a look at specific areas with increased danger this season:

HAWAII

Access to health care for American Indians is difficult to gauge because the agency that oversees it does a poor job of tracking patient wait times, a report by a federal watchdog found.

Gary Kramer/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to a deadline to craft a recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf.

The agency reached a settlement with environmentalists, Utah and Arizona, but it still needs the approval of a federal judge.

Farm bureaus in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah are expected to challenge the settlement, saying it places an unfair burden on the American public when the wolves' historical range includes Mexico.

Arizona health officials are gearing up to award dozens of additional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Department of Health Services says the exact number of licenses that will be awarded isn't yet known but says there likely will be about 30 available when the state beings accepting applications this summer.

Arizona now has 99 licensed dispensaries and that 92 of those are open and operating.

According to the department, 97 percent of the state's residents live within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.

Politco

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.

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.

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.

NBC News

A unanimous Supreme Court says an Arizona commission did not violate the principle of one person, one vote when it redrew the state's legislative districts in a way that created some with more residents than others and improved the prospects for Democrats.

 

The justices on Wednesday rejected a challenge from a group of Republican voters who claimed the state's Independent Redistricting Commission illegally packed GOP voters into some districts while leaving other Democratic-leaning districts with smaller populations.

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