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Political firestorm looms as lawmakers advance strict anti-labor measures (access required)

In what is shaping up as one of the biggest political fights this year, conservative lawmakers are pushing a slew of measures that would fundamentally weaken public-sector unions in Arizona.

Taken together, the anti-union bills that were approved this week by a legislative committee are more restrictive than what was enacted in Wisconsin, where political turmoil erupted after its governor proposed to curtail collective bargaining rights for most state and local public employees.

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Trio of bills target unions (access required)

A major push is underway in Arizona to strike at the very heart of public unions by eliminating their ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreements. As envisioned, the prohibition would extend to all public-safety unions, including firefighter and police associations.

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Two anti-illegal immigration measures are back (access required)

Undeterred by major setbacks last year, a freshman legislator is once again pushing immigration bills that could lead to another showdown over how best to confront the issue.

Sen. Steve Smith, a Maricopa Republican, is proposing laws that would require school districts to count the number of students who are in the country illegally and to require hospitals to report patients who cannot prove their lawful status.

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Cherny steps down as Democratic Party chair

Andrei Cherny, chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, is stepping down from his position in order to take on a “new and different task.”

He didn’t mention it in the letter he sent out today, but Cherny is expected to soon announce he is running for Congress in the new 9th Congressional District, which includes parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa.

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