Arizona Legislature

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.

Navajo Nation

Last week, leaders from nearly two dozen Arizona tribes gathered at the state capital for the annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye told state House representatives that he feels tribal sovereignty is threatened. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is set to lay out his priorities in his second State of the State address as the Legislature returns for its yearly session. 

Monday afternoon's address will come just after lawmakers hold formal opening ceremonies for the 2016 session. 

The address is expected to be a stark contrast to Ducey's 2015 speech, which came as the Republican governor faced a $1.5 billion budget shortfall in his first 18 months in office.  

NAU

November marked the 11th straight month that Arizona’s revenue has exceeded what was forecast in the state budget. That’s led some elected officials to discuss the reinstatement of more than $99 million cut from the state’s three universities last year. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


The Arizona Legislature will begin its 2016 session next week, and lawmakers have already introduced several bills for consideration. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward is set to formally resign her seat to focus on her Republican primary challenge to U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Ward says in a letter to Senate President Andy Biggs that she will vacate her seat on Tuesday. The Dec. 2 letter says she plans to devote her energy to defeating the five-term senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

Ward is a physician from Lake Havasu City whose current district spans much of Mohave and all of La Paz counties.

Michael Schennum/The Republic

Republican state Treasurer Jeff DeWit is urging Arizona lawmakers to revise a deal that would settle a school funding lawsuit.

DeWit said in an email to lawmakers Tuesday evening that the agreement hammered out between Republican lawmakers, schools and Gov. Doug Ducey puts the principal of the state's permanent land trust at risk. If it is adopted without changes he warns it will be tied up in court for years and keep schools from getting additional cash.

The Arizona Republic

Republican members of the Arizona House mostly appear supportive of a proposed settlement to a long-running school funding lawsuit, but some are asking tough questions.

Many members briefed Tuesday by GOP leaders and attorneys who represented the state say they'll be happy to see schools get increased funding and to get the five-year-old lawsuit behind them. Others say they need to see the actual language in legislation before they agree to vote yes.

A tentative deal that settles a lawsuit brought by schools over the Arizona Legislature's failure to give annual inflation boosts will add about $3.5 billion in new funding over the next 10 years.

The proposed settlement includes a new cash payment of $175 million to schools this budget year on top of $74 million in inflation funding the Legislature appropriated this year. Together that adds about $330 per student to the current $4,300 schools receive.

ABC15

The Arizona Department of Transportation says the federal Real ID will be available to residents of the state by next April. Eventually, all Americans will need federally compliant identification to enter airports and federal buildings. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


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