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
Wed May 23, 2012

AZ Secretary of State Satisfied That President Obama is a US Citizen

AZ Sec. of State Ken Bennett at a rally for Mitt Romney in 2012
Gage Skidmore

One hurdle to Barack Obama being on the November ballot has been removed. 

That came late Tuesday when Secretary of State Ken Bennett got an e-mail from Hawaii officials confirming for him that they do, in fact, have an original birth certificate for the president on file.

"There's 12 points," he noted. "The first one says a birth certificate is on file with the department of health indicating that Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. And then the second through 12th points each deal with a different point that we asked in the request."

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State Capitol News
5:53 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Plaintiffs Have Asked Court Not to Re-Draw State Districts

A federal court will not upset the lines drawn for the state's 30 legislative districts -- at least not this year. 

The lawsuit filed in federal court by Republican interests charges the Independent Redistricting Commission acted improperly in coming up with the maps. Challengers want a three-judge panel to review those maps and, if they find problems, issue an injunction blocking them from being used in this year's election. But attorney Mike Liburdi said he is pulling the plug on that request.

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State Capitol News
10:40 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Secretary Bennett's Endorsement of Romney Raises Questions

Ken Bennett at a rally for Mitt Romney in Tempe, Arizona, 20 April, 2012
Gage Skidmore

A 2010 comment by Ken Bennett when he was running for secretary of state may be coming back to haunt him. 

During a debate in the 2010 race, Bennett was asked about endorsing something on that year's ballot.

"It's not appropriate for election officials to be taking positions on either the propositions or candidates when we're going to have to conduct the election," he said. 

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State Capitol News
6:01 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

State's Cut on Briefs Rejected

A federal judge today slapped down a cost-cutting bid by the state's Medicaid program to deny incontinence briefs to adults who need them. 

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State Capitol News
9:00 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Governor Brewer Talks About Morality and This Year's Legislative Session

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Gage Skidmore

This year's legislative session was heavy on issues related to issues of morality and religion.

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State Capitol News
5:54 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Governor Brewer Signs Bill to Use Public Funds to Pay for Private Schools

A new law signed this week by Gov. Jan Brewer could give an estimated 100,000 children in public schools a check from the state to go to a private or parochial school instead. 

Under that law, any student whose school is rated a D or worse on overall academic performance qualifies for a voucher, good for about $4,000 a year. That covers 183 of 15-hundred schools that have been graded. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said that's not enough to pay tuition at many private schools -- and some families will not be able to take advantage of the program.

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State Capitol News
10:13 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Governor Vetoes Bills Challenging the Feds.

Governor Jan Brewer decided Monday not to pick two new fights with the federal government. 

The governor vetoed a measure to make it a crime for police officers to even attempt to enforce sections of the National Defense Authorization Act which let the government detain suspected terrorists -- including U.S. citizens -- without trial. Brewer said police cannot be required to choose between upholding federal laws or obeying state statutes. That comparison drew an angry response from Sen. Sylvia Allen.

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State Capitol News
10:08 am
Tue May 15, 2012

AZ Cities Can No Longer Hold Elections When They Want

Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation Monday that will force a host of cities to change their election dates. 

Right now cities can choose candidates for council and mayor on any of four days any year. This new law limits that to just two days on even-numbered years -- the same days as elections for state and federal officers. The move came over objections from local officials. They fear forcing consolidation will mean local races will be buried on the statewide ballot and ignored. Tucson city attorney Mike Rankin is one of the foes.

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State Capitol News
6:15 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Governor Signs Tax Cut Bill for Businesses and Investors

Gov. Jan Brewer signs legislation Friday with a package of tax cuts for business she said will stimulate the economy. Looking on are Sen. Steve Yarbrough, House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Steve Pierce.
Howard Fischer Capital Media Services

Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation this afternoon creating new and expanded tax cuts for business that proponents say will stimulate job growth. 

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State Capitol News
6:30 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

State Workers Lose Employment Protections

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Gage Skidmore

Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation this afternoon designed to eventually make virtually every worker in Arizona state government an at-will employee who can be disciplined or fired at will. 

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