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Court considers ruling on funding for Ariz. agency

An Arizona appeals court on Wednesday considers whether to block a judge’s ruling that a state agency will effectively scuttle most of its funding.

The Land Department is trying to block implementation of a ruling that it’s unconstitutional to use trust land sale proceeds to pay for running the department instead of having it flow into schools and public institutions.

The situation results from a legal challenge to a 2009 budget-balancing law.

The department administers 9.2 million acres of trust land, and Land Commissioner Maria Baier (BY’-ur) says her department is faced with having to reduce its staff of 120 to just 14 by Dec. 31.

Baier says processing of requests for permits and rights-of-way would slow dramatically.

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