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Dem leader says bipartisan budget talks will be ‘painful’ (access required)

The overwhelming display of bipartisanship that kicked off the special legislative session when it convened July 6 may be a precursor of how lawmakers will work to patch the $2.5 billion hole in the budget, but to what extent Republicans and Democrats work together likely won't be known until later this month.

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Brewer, Cardon proclaim a new day at Commerce Department (access required)

For much of its existence, the Arizona Department of Commerce has served as a political punching bag for those who believe the agency's work is inefficient, its mission vague and its credibility questionable. Don Cardon doesn't deny that some of those things have been true in the past, but a transformation is underway.

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The cost of AZ’s budget crisis: 1,450 full-time state workers (access required)

Arizona's budget calamity cost at least 1,450 state workers their jobs last fiscal year, but the shedding of public employees is minor compared to losses endured by the private sector in Arizona. An analysis conducted by the Arizona Capitol Times shows the state trimmed roughly 4 percent of its full-time staff from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The state now employs 33,236 full-time workers.

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Bashas’ attorneys hail judge’s ruling in suit against union (access required)

Arizona-based grocer Bashas' has declared a breakthrough in an ongoing defamation lawsuit against a national labor union and its local allies. The breakthrough: A judge has decided to waive a confidentiality agreement that so far has kept some information from creeping into the trial, including what a Bashas' attorney has said amounts to a threat of extortion by a union official.

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Brewer signs first batch of non-budget bills (access required)

Members of the military were largely the beneficiaries of the first batch of non-budget bills signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer. Brewer on July 9 signed 19 of the nearly 200 bills that were transmitted to her when the Legislature adjourned sine die on July 1.

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Delay in tax referral may cause election complications (access required)

If lawmakers are going to put Gov. Jan Brewer's temporary tax hike proposal on the November ballot, they may want to do it soon. Maricopa County must order the paper for its ballots by July 16 in order to comply with the 26-day early-voting period mandated by Arizona law, according to Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne. The orders can be placed past the deadline, she said, but each additional day likely will mean one fewer day of early voting.

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