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Session Wrap 2010

Unlike past years, lawmakers in 2010 wrapped up their work in late April, the earliest ending time in a decade. This year’s Session Wrap looks at the successes conservative legislators had in pushing policy, especially social policy, and slashing government spending. There are also analyses of daily attendance and voting performance, as well as a look at which lawmakers had the most success in pushing their bills. Finally, Republican and Democratic leaders and Gov. Jan Brewer sat down for candid interviews about how the legislative session unfolded.

10 most significant bills

Not every bill signed into law in 2010 was deemed worthy of the international attention that followed S1070, but many others were significant in their own right. Through the regular session and three special sessions, lawmakers introduced more than 1,200 bills, 355 of which were signed.
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TRENDS IN 2010:

Era of good times for socially conservative lawmakers

While the 2008 election produced a clear shift in the balance of power in the Arizona Legislature, the biggest boon for social conservatives happened three months later. Brewer, a Lutheran, hasn’t been shy in proclaiming her Christian faith. Under Brewer’s term, evangelical Christians, Catholics and socially conservative lawmakers whom Napolitano perennially rebuffed enjoyed their best years yet.

Conservatives take hard right with legislation

When the dust settled on the 2008 elections, one thing was clear: The Legislature was about to get considerably more conservative.The margins by which Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate weren’t the largest the state has seen, but the makeup of those majority caucuses was decidedly more conservative than in the past.
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BATTING AVERAGES:

Court perfect at the plate in 2010 – 5 of 5 bills signed

To say the 2010 regular legislative session was different than the 2009 session would be an understatement of epic proportions. Gone was the Senate’s 2009 moratorium on hearing bills until after the budget work was completed. Gone, too, was the combative relationship between legislative leaders and Gov. Jan Brewer.

19 bills signed: Nelson most successful senator in ’10

Sen. John Nelson, a Republican from Litchfield Park, saw 19 of his 33 bills make it through the Legislature and get signed by the governor this year. Nelson said the key to his legislative success is a commitment to seeing bills through each step of the lawmaking process.
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LAWMAKERS LEAVING THE CAPITOL:

Six state representatives say goodbye to Capitol

Thirteen House members are term-limited, and another 11 have decided to step down from politics or run for another state-wide politics. Only six state representatives have made it clear they will not return to the capitol next year. Here’s a look at the House members who are not running for any elected position in this fall’s elections.

Five senators signing off after this year

Half of the Senate won’t be coming back to the 30-person chamber in 2011. A majority of them face term limits and therefore cannot seek re-election. But some have decided to retire, for now at least.
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LEADERSHIP EXIT INTERVIEWS:

Gov. says economic recovery, ‘streamlining’ ahead

After a brutal first legislative session, Gov. Jan Brewer ended her second on a couple of high notes. Her 14-month quest to raise revenue with a temporary sales tax increase sailed through in the May 18 special election. She raised her profile, and her polling numbers, when she signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country, and she now looks like the favorite to win the Republican nomination in August.

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Senate minority leader says S1070 stems from hate

Senate Minority Leader Jorge Luis Garcia is a liberal Democrat who, nonetheless, occasionally can be talked into supporting Republican-sponsored bills when political realities dictate practicality.
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Senate president points out weak link on jobs bill

After two decades of legislating, Bob Burns is calling it quits. Burns presided as Senate president during the worst of times. Lawmakers under his leadership battled multibillion-dollar deficits and were forced to make painful choices, dramatically cutting programs and even mortgaging state assets.

House speaker channels his ‘inner Russell Pearce’

Kirk Adams presided over the House of Representatives during what may go down as one of the most conservative legislatures in Arizona history. The past two years have seen more than $2 billion in spending cuts as lawmakers grappled with annual budget deficits totaling nearly three times that amount, as well as a raft of conservative policy decisions on everything from abortion to guns to immigration.

Lujan says more Dems headed to Legislature

The past two years may not have shaped up the way David Lujan imagined when he ran for minority leader in the fall of 2008. Democrats were expected to make gains in the Legislature that year, but they ended up losing seats. Then Gov. Janet Napolitano announced she would resign to take a post in the Obama administration.
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VOTING & ATTENDANCE:

Lawmakers missed fewer votes this year

An analysis by the Arizona Capitol Times shows that the 2010 regular session saw big improvements in attendance and floor-vote participation compared with 2009. Perfect daily attendance doubled, and 25 of the state’s 90 lawmakers voted on every bill that reached the floor, but four lawmakers still missed more than 20 percent of their chamber’s floor votes.
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STICKS AND STONES…

Quotes of the year

A wrap-up of the most pithy, poignant and weighty utterances and turns of phrase from the 2010 legislative session.

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