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2011 Session Wrap

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Ethics Committee: Expel Patterson (access required)

After two hours of back-and-forth discussion, the House Ethics Committee today voted to recommend Rep. Daniel Patterson’s expulsion from the House of Representatives, and one committee member said to expect a full House vote on the recommendation later this afternoon.

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Self preservation: Lawmakers lament recall process, want to make it more difficult (access required)

Still shaken from the successful recall of Senate President Russell Pearce, some lawmakers are seeking to make it more difficult for voters to oust politicians from office.

One Pearce ally plans to sponsor legislation that would require recall organizers to obtain signatures from a majority of registered voters in a district — an unprecedented proposal that would far exceed signature requirements in all other states that allow recalls.

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Small business’ top 10 legislative victories in 2011

The 50th Arizona Legislature has boldly staked its claim to being the most pro-small business Legislature in Arizona’s history. On issue after issue, legislators advanced measures to relieve the tax and regulatory burdens on the engines of our economic recovery, Arizona’s small businesses. Even in instances where lawmakers mistakenly pursued bad policy, they did so with the right motive in mind – creating more jobs.

Here are 2011’s top ten legislative victories for the small business.

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Lawmakers’ voting participation remains high in shorter session

Records from the past three legislative sessions point to a simple truism of the citizen-legislature model: The shorter the session, the better the attendance.

By keeping a 100-day session — the length prescribed by legislative rules — 27 of the Legislature’s 90 members voted on every bill that was brought to the floor, and only one lawmaker missed more than 20 percent of floor votes.

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Few see increase in civility following Giffords’ shooting (access required)

The January shooting in Tucson, which occurred just two days before the 2011 legislative session began, inspired soul searching among rattled and emotional lawmakers, who pledged a new era of civility across the partisan divide. Others vowed drastic changes to Arizona’s laws on guns and mental health in response to a mass shooting carried out by a man with documented-but-untreated mental health problems.

But while some lawmakers say the lessons of Jan. 8 stayed with them through sine die, most have seen few changes.

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