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
9:00 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Governor Uses PAC Money to Buy Her Own Book

Governor Jan Brewer
Gage Skidmore

Governor Jan Brewer has apparently found a good place to spend some of the donations she is getting to her federal political action committee: buying her own books. 

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State Capitol News
4:01 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Voter ID Law Upheld

A federal appeals court today upheld a voter-approved law which requires people to produce ID at the polls before casting a ballot. 

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State Capitol News
9:03 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Arizona Has a "Stand Your Ground" Law Too.

If the idea of 'stand your ground' sounds like something that could happen only in Florida, think again.  Lawmakers here quietly approved a similar plan two years ago.

The issue arose as Dave Kopp of the Arizona Citizens Defense League was trying to keep police from keeping track of who owns guns. But Kopp got Chuck Gray, who then was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to tack on language adding a new provision to Arizona's self-defense laws. 

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State Capitol News
3:57 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Illuminated Billboard Bill is Back

Last minute efforts are underway to craft a deal that would allow some new illuminated billboards but still protect the dark skies around observatories. 

The state court of appeals said last year the signs with their changing messages are illegal. And a bid by the companies to override that legislatively was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.

Representative Bob Robson, who sponsored the now-vetoed measure, said this is a compromise.

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State Capitol News
10:07 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Governor Brewer Signs Abortion Bill and Lawmakers Re-Make Contraception Bill

Governor Jan Brewer signed new restrictions on abortions Thursday even as lawmakers moved to expand laws exempting who has to fund contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.

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State Capitol News
9:44 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Gift Bill Doesn't Pass State Senate

State lawmakers apparently are not quite ready to give up free stuff. 

Current law does put some restrictions on the kind and size of gifts that legislators can get from lobbyists. But Senator Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat, pointed out there are some major exceptions. One permits lawmakers to be wined and dined, whether individually or at group events. Another says legislators can get free tickets to events like the Fiesta Bowl and Diamondbacks games if everyone is invited.

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State Capitol News
2:32 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

AZ Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Guns in Public Buildings

State senators gave final approval this afternoon to legislation that could let anyone bring a gun into a public building. 

Current law says posting a sign makes it illegal to enter with a gun. This legislation adds the requirement of having armed guards and metal detectors. Proponents said the signs are obeyed only by law-abiding citizens, leaving them prey to those who ignore the signs. Sen. Al Melvin said society can be broken down into three groups: The unarmed sheep, armed sheep dogs -- and the wolves who are the bad guys.

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State Capitol News
8:58 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Rep. Patterson Says Issue Isn't Over

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth questions Rep. Daniel Patterson during Wednesday's hearing of the House Ethics Committee. The full committee, chaired by Rep. Ted Vogt, recommended Patterson be expelled.
Howard Fischer Capital Media Services

Wednesday's abrupt resignation of embattled state Rep. Daniel Patterson may not be the end of the matter. 

Patterson said he quit because it became clear he was likely to be ousted. He said the entire process followed by the Ethics Committee, which had made the expulsion recommendation earlier in the day, was flawed because Chairman Ted Vogt ignored committee rules requiring he be allowed to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Instead Vogt allowed Patterson only to make a statement and answer questions. Patterson said that opens the door for legal action.

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State Capitol News
4:00 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Representative Patterson Resigns

Rep. Ted Vogt listens Wednesday as Rep. Daniel Patterson answers questions at the House Ethics Committee. Patterson denied he did anything merit expulsion. The committee disagreed, unanimously recommending he be ousted.
Howard Fischer Capital Media Service

A move to expel a Tucson lawmaker from the House ended abruptly this afternoon with his resignation. 

The action came just hours after the Ethics Committee voted unanimously to conclude that there was evidence Daniel Patterson was guilty of disorderly behavior and recommended that he be ousted. Patterson had argued to the committee that nothing he has done rises to the level of meriting expulsion.

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State Capitol News
8:45 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Rep. Patterson Begins Defense Against Ethics Charges

Rep. Daniel Patterson answers questions Tuesday from reporters about the charges against him. Patterson said he is not guilty and said the process is being rushed
Howard Fischer Capital News Media

The Tucson lawmaker formally denied charges on Tuesday that he did anything to merit expulsion from the House.

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