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Arizona asks U.S. Supreme Court to rule on 20-week abortion ban (access required)

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Two of Arizona’s top law enforcement officials asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to consider the constitutionality of the state’s law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery petitioned the court to hear their appeal to a ruling that found the state’s law unconstitutional.

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Reagan files exploratory committee for secretary of state’s race (access required)

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Sen. Michele Reagan filled in the blank on her months-old exploratory committee with an announcement that she’s eying a long-expected run for secretary of state.

Reagan, R-Scottsdale, formed an exploratory committee in December but did not indicate which office she was seeking in order to avoid running afoul of Arizona’s resign-to-run law. But Reagan, who has been well-known for her work on election issues during her time in the Legislature, openly acknowledged that she was considering a campaign to be the state’s top election official.

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Former chairman of Board of Clemency denies most allegations of misconduct (access required)

Former chairman of Board of Clemency denies most allegations of misconduct <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

A worker’s discrimination complaint has led to detailed allegations of an intolerable working environment at the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency under Chairman Jesse Hernandez.

Among other things, Hernandez ogled women in the office, called a staff member a heathen for not attending church, urged workers to gossip about one another and promoted a girlfriend who wasn’t qualified for the job, the state Department of Administration reported Wednesday.

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Process takes ‘too long’ (access required)

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Horne considers legal action in attempt to speed up death penalty cases

The 11 convicted killers Arizona has executed since 2010 spent an average of 22 years on death row. Attorney General Tom Horne thinks that is too long. He also thinks suing the federal government will speed up the process, but others say that a successful lawsuit would bring few or no gains because Arizona lacks criminal defense attorneys who are qualified to do proceedings known as capital post-conviction relief and are willing to do it for $100 an hour, the rate set in statute. That has historically left the Arizona Supreme Court scrambling to find enough attorneys to handle the constant stream of death cases.

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Fight over solar panel incentives heads to regulators (access required)

Fight over solar panel incentives heads to regulators <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

For months, Arizona’s largest utility provider and the solar industry have waged a public relations war over the future of the state’s solar energy incentives.

That fight now moves to the Arizona Corporation Commission, as the energy regulator formally begins consideration of opposing proposals from each side.

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