Associated Press

MATT HINSHAW/THE DAILY COURIER VIA AP

The wife of a senior Islamic State leader who was killed in a U.S. raid last year has been charged in federal court with holding American Kayla Mueller hostage and with contributing to the aid worker's death, the Justice Department said Monday.

A House panel is set to debate the merits of a tax credit for concealed carry permit holders.

Rep. Steve Montenegro of Litchfield Park sponsored the bill to create a dollar for dollar tax credit up to $80 for people who get a concealed weapons permit. The measure states its purpose is to promote public safety.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says this is the first they've heard of a state offering a tax credit for gun permits.

Politco

The full Arizona Senate has approved a proposal overhauling the state's badly underfunded public safety worker pension plan.

Thursday's rapid-fire action came without debate and a series of three unanimous votes on the package of bills enacting the overhaul. Voters will be asked to approve the deal in May.

Voter approval is required because current retiree cost-of-living adjustments would be lowered.

David Wallace/The Arizona Republic

A new study of global weather patterns over the past 35 years supports earlier scientific predictions the southwestern United States will become drier as atmospheric conditions that typically bring the most rain and snow to the region continue to become more rare.

The research supported by the National Science Foundation concludes that what's now considered a normal year of precipitation in the Southwest is drier than it used to be.

The scientists emphasize the new data doesn't prove climate change is responsible for increasing frequency and duration of drought.

Conservation CATalyst

The first publicly released video of the only known wild jaguar in the United States shows the giant cat roaming around a creek and other parts of a mountain range in southern Arizona.

El Jefe — Spanish for "the boss" — has been living in the Santa Rita Mountains, about 25 miles south of downtown Tucson, for over three years.

Conservationists tracking the jaguar released a short video Wednesday showing him walking around mountain terrain.

Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

Arizona schools chief Diane Douglas is set to testify before a Senate committee as she tries to derail legislation designed to settle ongoing fights between her and the state Board of Education.

Douglas is set to appear Thursday before the Senate's education committee. She said Wednesday that she was "shocked" at the "repulsive nature" of Republican Sen. Jeff Dial's proposal. Senate Bill 1416 would by detail specific duties for each body in an effort to end a pair of lawsuits and other problems between the board and Douglas.

Wildlife officials are investigating the deaths of two Mexican gray wolves they say were killed after being struck by a field team's tranquilizer darts.

The team of state and federal wildlife officials was surveying the wolves in an annual population count that also involves capturing wolves with tranquilizer darts to attach radio collars to them.

In a statement Tuesday, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said one wolf was darted Jan. 23 and released into the wild before dying four days later.

Brooke Warren/High Country News

A law enforcement official says the Arizona rancher killed during the arrest of an armed group in Oregon was shot after reaching toward his waistband multiple times.

The official, who had been briefed on the investigation but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it by name, said Robert "LaVoy" Finicum of Arizona was armed, but did not have an opportunity to shoot.

Arizona lawmakers opposed to abortion are trying again to limit the use of medication abortions, three months after a 2012 law was declared unconstitutional.

Senate Bill 1324 bars the use of the most commonly-used drug to induce abortions after seven weeks of pregnancy. It also requires the drug be taken only at the FDA-approved doses.

Clinics now use medication abortions up to nine weeks.

The number of people registered to vote in Arizona declined by 1 percent during the last three months of 2015.

The Arizona Secretary of State's Office says 3.2 million people are now registered to vote.

There were 45,000 more registered voters in the second-to-last quarter of 2015.

Independents and those who haven't designated a party preference now account for almost 37 percent of all voters.

Nearly 34 percent of voters are registered as Republicans, and 28 percent are Democrats.

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