Howard Fischer

State Capitol Reporter

Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has reported on state government news since 1982, the last 19 years for Capitol Media Services.  Prior to that, he had been Associate Editor for Phoenix Business Journal, New Times, and the (Tucson) Arizona Daily Sun and Managing Editor of the Bisbee Daily Review.  In addition to reporting for KNAU, Howard also reports for daily and weekly news institutions around the state.  Fischer and his wife, Gabe, live in Laveen, an as yet unincorporated community on the southwest edge of Phoenix.

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State Capitol News
9:22 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Backers of Sales Tax Bill File Suit Over Ballot Description

Backers of an extension of the state's sales tax surcharge filed a new lawsuit Wednesday, this one over how their measure is being described to voters.

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State Capitol News
9:17 am
Thu July 26, 2012

AZ Abortion Ban Goes to Federal Court

Attorneys faced off Wednesday in federal court over the legality of a new state law banning abortions after 20 weeks.

Janet Crepps of the Center for Reproductive Rights told Judge James Teilborg the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled states have no right to impose such a restriction prior to viability, considered to be in the 22-24 week range. But Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Teilborg should defer to the decision of Arizona lawmakers.

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State Capitol News
6:28 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Judge to Hear Arguments Over Open Primary Initiative

A judge will consider whether voters will get to decide whether they want to make major changes in state election law.

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State Capitol News
9:02 am
Tue July 24, 2012

AZ Sec. of State Not Giving Up on Sales Tax Initiative

The legal fight over whether voters get to extend the state's one-cent sales tax is not over. 

Last week Judge Robert Oberbillig ruled that Secretary of State Ken Bennett was wrong to refuse to put the question on the ballot. The judge said Bennett was being arbitrary in saying the initiative measure was invalid because the paper copy of the plan prefiled in April was different than the one signed by 290,000 Arizonans. Bennett said he wants that reviewed by the state Supreme Court.

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State Capitol News
8:59 am
Tue July 24, 2012

AZ Economy Showing Modest Growth

Retail sales last month were $4.05 billion. On paper, that's $100 million less than the same month a year earlier. But the Department of Revenue reports that the June 2011 figures were skewed to the tune of about $280 million because of how certain sales were classified. When that figure is backed out, the year-over-year growth is about 4.5 percent. Economist Dennis Hoffman of Arizona State University said that's not bad.

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State Capitol News
5:55 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

State's Jobless Rate Steady, But Recovery Not Stalled

The state's jobless rate remained at 8.2 percent for the third month in a row. But a closer look at the data suggests that does not mean the recovery here has stalled.

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State Capitol News
11:16 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Penny Sales Tax is Back on Ballot

Ann-Eve Pedersen
Howard Fischer Capital Media Services

A state judge ruled Tuesday that Secretary of State Ken Bennett was wrong to refuse to process initiative petitions seeking to make the one-cent sales tax surcharge permanent.

Backers turned in more than 290,000 signatures for the plan. But Bennett noted the language on the petitions is different than what initiative organizers prefiled on paper with his office in March. Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake said it was that prefiled language that Bennett put on the office's web site so voters could review it.

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State Capitol News
10:37 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop New Funding Law

Planned Parenthood Supporters, Feb. 21, 2011 Author
S. MiRK

Planned Parenthood filed suit Monday to block a new abortion law scheduled to take effect next month.

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State Capitol News
10:11 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Jan-Pac Raised $200 G in the Last Quarter

Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona (R)
Gage Skidmore

Some state residents and businesses are opening their wallets -- wide -- to help Governor Jan Brewer elect candidates to federal offices who support her views.

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Fronteras
9:50 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Zombies and the Tax Code

Zombies
Rampant

In a law review article, ASU professor Adam Chodorow warns that the state and the nation are ill prepared for a zombie apocalypse.

It's not the public health issues that concern Chodorow.

It's that the nation's tax laws are woefully inadequate to deal with the undead.

And part of the problem is that there's no consensus of when someone is truly dead. Even Arizona law is not very specific, saying only that a determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

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