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Barnes’ comments take a turn for the weird

While the Senate barely said a word about the budget bills, the House spent more than an hour debating their merits when they came up for a vote Nov. 23. It was a strikingly partisan debate on spending cuts to education and social services. At times it was adversarial. At other times it was just strange.

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Tracking the special session (access required)

Click here for up-to-the-minute updates on the Legislature's fourth special session. Our reporters will be at the Capitol all day (or all week, if it comes to that), tracking the progress of the four pieces of legislation in the House and Senate.

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Budget bill fails in Senate; Verschoor AWOL (access required)

The Senate has hit a major snag and has failed to pass the main budget measure that is part of a package that partially fixes a $2-billion deficit, and it has adjourned until Nov. 23. The bill went down by a vote of 14-13. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray voted "no" so he could bring the vote up for reconsideration later. All the Democrats voted "no" on the bill. So did Sen. Ron Gould, a Lake Havasu Republican.

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State borrows $700M; first external loan since Great Depression (access required)

The State Loan Commission has approved a $700 million line of credit from Bank of America, marking the first external borrowing the state has done since the Great Depression. State Treasurer Dean Martin said his office will finalize the agreement with Bank of America next week and will begin issuing treasurer's warrants by the end of November.

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House panel approves budget-fix bills (access required)

A House panel followed the Senate's lead, quickly approving a series of budget bills aimed at chipping away at the state's massive deficit. The bills include $300 million in cuts to social programs and state aid for education.

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