Arizona Legislature

Arizona voters head to the polls tomorrow to decide on an Education Finance Amendment, Proposition 123. It would settle a lawsuit brought against the state by public schools for failure to increase K-through-12 funding based on inflation during the recession. It would also give a $3.5-billion-dollar cash injection to public schools over the next 10 years. More than 60 percent of that money would come from the State Land Trust, given to Arizona upon statehood in 1912 as a means to generate revenue for schools. Opponents of Prop 123 say the settlement jeopardizes the land trust and should be paid entirely out of the state’s general fund. Supporters believe it’s an immediate opportunity to pump money into K-through-12 education. Both sides admit it’s a short term plan to the issue of school funding. KNAU reached out to voices on both sides of Prop 123. Morgan Abraham, a Tucson investment advisor and the chairman of the No on Prop 123 campaign, spoke with Arizona Public Radio’s Gillian Ferris. Flagstaff City Councilman, Jeff Oravits supports the amendment and spoke with Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius. 


The Arizona Republic

One of the two ballot propositions Arizona voters will decide in tomorrow’s special election is Prop 124. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it would reform the state’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.


Mark Henle/The Republic

The Arizona Legislature has passed a $9.6 billion budget after a week spent wrangling over additional funding for K-12 schools that wasn't included in the initial agreement.

Lawmakers debated until nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday morning before approving a spending package for the state budget year beginning July 1 that included a small increase in funding for several school line items.

Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

Republican leaders of the Arizona House and Senate have spent long hours in the past week behind closed doors with Gov. Doug Ducey's representatives hashing out details of a budget deal that could be revealed as early as Monday.

House Speaker David Gowan and Senate President Andy Biggs and their appropriations chairs met every day last week as they sought to iron out differences between the chambers and the governor.

Many House and Senate Republicans are hoping an acceptable deal can get the needed 31 and 16 votes to make its way to Ducey by the end of the week.

NBC News

A unanimous Supreme Court says an Arizona commission did not violate the principle of one person, one vote when it redrew the state's legislative districts in a way that created some with more residents than others and improved the prospects for Democrats.

 

The justices on Wednesday rejected a challenge from a group of Republican voters who claimed the state's Independent Redistricting Commission illegally packed GOP voters into some districts while leaving other Democratic-leaning districts with smaller populations.

Luige del Puerto/Arizona Capitol Times

The Arizona attorney general's office has opened an investigation into House Speaker David Gowan to determine if he misused state resources while campaigning for Congress.

Spokeswoman for the attorney general Mia Garcia confirmed the investigation Thursday but would not go into detail because the investigation is ongoing.

Gowan requested the attorney general look into the issue after the Arizona Capitol Times published an analysis of the Sierra Vista Republican's use of rented state vehicles and his claims for daily per diem payments.

Northern Arizona University

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved tuition and fee increases at all three public universities for the 2016-2017 school year. It comes as state higher education continues to grapple with last year’s steep budget cuts. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.


Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The Arizona Senate has given initial approval to a bill opponents say is designed to make it easier to cut off Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood Arizona and other abortion providers.

House Bill 2599 passed on a voice vote Tuesday and awaits a formal vote. The House passed the bill last month with only Republicans in support.

UPDATE: The Arizona Senate has rejected House Bill 2201. It failed by a vote of 15-14 Tuesday afternoon.

The Arizona Senate is set to vote on a bill that would allow the state to ignore actions of the federal government not approved by Congress. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


Courtesy

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a measure that significantly expands anonymous political spending in Arizona elections.

The proposal by the secretary of state that was touted as a housecleaning measure increases the influence of dark money groups that can spend money on elections without revealing their donors.

The campaign finance re-write doubles the amount these groups spend on ballot measures and allows nonprofit groups to spend more money influencing elections without having to reveal donors.

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