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Capitol Police confiscated 170 weapons this year (access required)

More than 170 weapons were seized by security at Arizona Capitol buildings in 2009, according to the Arizona Capitol Police. The weapons seized include 117 knives, 54 handguns, three box-cutters, one can of Mace, one can of pepper spray, a wrench and an iron bar, said Andrew Staubitz, commander of the Capitol Police.

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Special session No. 4 will target schools, DES funding (access required)

Republican legislative leaders have reached a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer to erase a portion of the estimated $2 billion budget deficit in a special session later this month, including about $300 million in spending cuts. The plan, if carried out, would eliminate a fraction of the overall deficit, and a $1.4 billion shortfall would remain.

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Registrar of Contractors among agencies looking for budget fix (access required)

When the Legislature meets in a special session later this month, one of the agencies whose budget problems they will attempt to fix is the Registrar of Contractors. Tyler Palmer, legislative liaison for the Registrar of Contractors, said the agency lost about $390,000 in funding for operating costs when Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a budget bill in September.

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Groups hopeful about appeal of employer sanctions

Groups trying to overturn an Arizona law that prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has expressed an interest in their appeal. The court normally agrees to take on only a small number of appeals, and it hasn't yet decided whether it will hear the business and civil rights groups' appeal of the law. But the justices on Nov. 2 asked the U.S. solicitor general - the lawyer who argues the Obama administration's cases before the court - to submit a brief in the case.

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Department of Revenue puts layoff plan on hold

Gambling that Arizona lawmakers will approve its funding in time, the state tax collection agency is shelving plans to lay off more than half its staff early this month. After Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoed some of the Department of Revenue's funding in September to kill an unrelated provision of the same bill, Director Gale Garriott said the department would probably have to lay off 450 of its 710 workers in November.

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Former OSPB chief to head up AHCCCS

Gov. Jan Brewer replaced one of the last major agency heads left over from the Napolitano era, naming former OSPB chief Thomas Betlach as director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Betlach had served as deputy director of the agency since 2002. He replaces Anthony Rodgers, who was appointed to the position in 2003 by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano.

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