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No moratorium, Senate to hear bills early in session (access required)

The Senate is going to hear bills when session starts, Senate President Bob Burns said Oct. 29. This is a departure from the strategy the Senate leadership adopted during the most recent regular session, when a moratorium on hearing non-budget bills was used so lawmakers could direct all their energy to solving the state's record-breaking budget deficit.

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UpClose with Thayer Verschoor (access required)

Sen. Thayer Verschoor, a Republican from Gilbert, returned to the Senate after a tough primary last year. One of the most conservative members of the Legislature, he fought hard for the repeal of the state equalization property tax. That battle was lost this year after Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill carrying the repeal language.

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Lawmakers inch toward special session (access required)

Lawmakers are inching closer to a special session as Senate leadership proposes that the Legislature convene to fix the budget woes of state agencies affected by the governor's veto. House leadership was polling members to see if they support the idea, Senate President Bob Burns told the Arizona Capitol Times on October 22.

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Education funding battle heats up (access required)

Lawmakers and representatives from the education community clashed over funding for Arizona's public education during a forum Oct. 20 at a downtown restaurant. Rep. Rich Crandall, a Mesa Republican, said he was taking the position as a "realist" and warned that cuts to education are inevitable next year given the size of the state's budget deficit.

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Sen. Melvin focuses on nuclear power at panel hearing (access required)

As the energy debate heats up in the nation's capital, policymakers in Arizona have begun asking questions about the implications of cap-and-trade legislation and other climate initiatives for the state. For the second time in a month, legislators held a hearing on energy policy, specifically on what the state's energy future would look like. At least two more hearings are scheduled.

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Liquor Department to close Fridays if more cuts occur (access required)

The agency in charge of regulating Arizona's liquor industry has reported it will have to lay off investigators, sell vehicles to save some money and close the office on Fridays to accomplish a 15-percent reduction in its budget. On top of that, Department of Liquor Licenses and Control warned that it is already experiencing "critically low" staffing levels.

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UpClose with Ken Cheuvront (access required)

While others prefer to be diplomatic, Sen. Ken Cheuvront speaks his mind without sugarcoating it. When Janet Napolitano resigned her post as governor early this year to become President Obama's secretary of Homeland Security, the Phoenix lawmaker was quite blunt in his criticism of her decision. "Janet always does what's good for Janet," he said.

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