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Wishful thinking interrupted by budget reality (access required)

JLBC has singled out three budget provisions that wouldn't live up to their billing: a plan to save $50 million due to reduced fraud in the health care system; deals to privatize nine of the 10 state prisons; and a plan to raise $735 million by selling dozens of state buildings, then leasing them back. But there's more.

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Lottery renewal needed before state can borrow (access required)

The odds of winning the Arizona Lottery's big jackpot are about one in 175 million. The odds that lawmakers will sell off future lottery revenues for a quick cash infusion are exponentially better. As lawmakers ponder how to fix a fiscal 2011 budget deficit that is expected to top $2 billion, many are viewing lottery securitization as a last resort whose time has come.

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GOP-passed election laws targeted by Democrats (access required)

Two electoral changes implemented by Republicans this year have attracted opposition and litigation from Democrats who argued the laws violate the state Constitution to advance partisan agendas. In July, Gov. Jan Brewer signed S1123 into law. The legislation, proposed by Tucson Sen. Jonathan Paton, banned local governments from including partisan affiliations for candidates on the ballot.

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Operation Los Tusa dismantles marijuana syndicate

The Arizona Attorney General's Office announced Oct. 26 that it has indicted 21 people in connection with a marijuana-smuggling operation based in Pinal County. Attorney General Terry Goddard, along with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, sent out a media release noting that Operation Los Tusa has dismantled a syndicate responsible for smuggling thousands of pounds of marijuana into Arizona during the past three years.

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Burke to head up immigration subcommittee

U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke will chair a subcommittee on border and immigration law enforcement that will advise U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Burke, who was recently confirmed as the U.S. attorney for Arizona, on Oct. 26 was named as the chairman of the Border and Immigration Law Enforcement Subcommittee.

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