State Capitol News

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.

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.


Patrick Breen/The Republic

A new study shows many of Arizona’s Latino voters are dissatisfied with the two major political parties. 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.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Governor Doug Ducey has called for a halt in the federal government’s resettlement of refugees in Arizona. The governor says security concerns prompted the move following last week’s deadly terror attacks in Paris. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Newscom

About a third of the Arizonans who bought health insurance on the federal marketplace for 2015 will have to find a new provider following action by state insurance regulators to suspend the state's nonprofit insurance co-op's ability to sell new policies.

The suspension of Meritus Health Partners means about 59,000 people will need new insurance.

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.

The percentage of adult Arizonans who smoke continues to drop.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says the percentage of smokers as of 2014 was at an all-time low of 15.3 percent. That's down a percentage point from the rate in 2013.

Tobacco prevention and cessation programs head Courtney Ward says the decrease continues a trend. She says factors behind that trend include an ongoing anti-tobacco media campaign and a 2007 tobacco tax increase approved by voters.

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