arizona state capitol

Politco

The Arizona House and Senate are primed for rapid movement of a $9.58 billion budget package.

The package of 14 bills was introduced in the Senate late Tuesday and the House is expected to introduce a companion set of legislation Wednesday. Ahead are appropriations committee hearings, floor debate and votes.

Senate President Andy Biggs says he hopes the budget can pass by the end of the week.

The action came after some Republican House members balked at the deal negotiated by GOP leaders in the House and Senate and Gov. Doug Ducey.

A tentative agreement between Republican Senate and House leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey boosts spending in the coming budget year about $100 million above what Ducey wanted.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough says the bottom line budget plan includes $9.58 billion in spending, and includes extra cash for universities, K-12 schools and county and city roadbuilding. The plan also includes the end to some budget-balancing gimmicks dating to the Great Recession for universities and social service and child safety agencies.

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.

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The director of the federal Medicaid program has fired a broadside over efforts in Arizona and other state legislatures to block funding for Planned Parenthood.

Vikki Wachino's Tuesday letter to state Medicaid agencies in all 50 states strongly reminded them that they cannot cut funding to otherwise qualified medical providers just because they might also provide abortion services.

Wachino said the "free choice of provider" provision in federal Medicaid law bars such actions.

The Atlantic

The Democratic National Committee, the Arizona Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign are expanding their challenge over voting rights to Arizona in the wake of its troubled presidential primary.

 

Clinton has made voter suppression and ballot laws in Republican-led states a centerpiece of her campaign as she rallies her base in the 2016 White House race.

Her campaign and Democrats plan to file a lawsuit aiming to force changes in how the state runs its elections.

AP Photo/Ryan VanVelzer

Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives have stopped a Democratic effort to change rules about journalists' access to the chamber.

It comes as the GOP House speaker allowed journalists who refused to submit to extensive background checks back on the floor. Last week, Speaker David Gowan had banned reporters who refused to comply with new security rules requiring extensive criminal and civil background checks.

Many in the Democratic caucus strongly opposed the move.

Advocates who want the state's children's health insurance program restored plan to rally at the Capitol to try to persuade the Arizona Senate to consider a proposal the House has already approved.

Monday's planned rally will include parents, pediatricians, nurses, children's advocacy and faith and women's groups.

House Bill 2309 passed the House on a 47-12 vote on March 2. But Senate President Andy Biggs has blocked consideration because he opposes the program.

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.

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.

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