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This week in the Senate: Approps Committee eyeing May 5

Most Senate committees have cleared their calendars this week, expecting leadership to push hard for an agreement on the budget and in anticipation of a Senate Appropriations hearing on May 5.

Committees that are scheduled to meet will tackle executive nominations in hearings that are expected to be relatively short and quick.

Senate President Bob Burns said last week that much work remains in order to reconcile differences between the House and Senate.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers have urged leadership and Gov. Jan Brewer to begin negotiations, pointing out that the session is four months old and yet there’s no budget deal. Within the past two weeks, two attempts to hold a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the most recent budget proposal drafted by majority Republicans were cancelled, as was a scheduled joint hearing of the House and Senate Appropriations committees.

“I’m not blaming either side – the House, Senate or the governor – but at some point the three of them need to sit down and really talk this through and put something down,” said Rep. Bill Konopnicki, a Republican from Safford. ”She is the governor, and do we want to go through all this – the hoops and dancing?”

On March 4, the Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee will tackle several executive nations: John Halikowski to the Department of Transportation; Walter Armer, Jr to the Arizona State Parks Board; Maureen Rose George to the Arizona Water Banking Authority; and Burton Kruglick to the Arizona Racing Commission.

On the same day, the Judiciary Committee will hear the nomination of Douglas Clark Cole and Ronald Reinstein to the Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments.

On May 6, the Education Accountability and Reform Committee will tackle the executive nomination of Jeffrey Lee Gearhart to the Commission for Postsecondary Education.

Also, the Finance Committee will hear the nomination of Bradley Eugene Wright to the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.

On the same day, the Public Safety and Human Services Committee will hear the nomination of Arturo Gonzales to the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board.

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