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Mesa businessman to run in Pearce’s legislative district (access required)

A businessman has emerged to run for a seat in a newly drawn East Valley legislative district, a move that sets up a potential showdown with former Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of Arizona’s SB1070. Bob Worsley, founder of the in-flight catalog company SkyMall, declared today he will be seeking the Senate seat in new Legislative District 25.

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Brewer personnel plan sails through House

A personnel reform plan championed by Gov. Jan Brewer sailed through the House on a party line vote, with a few tweaks to soften the blow for law enforcement officers and other state employees who will retain their civil service protections.

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Corp. Comm. barred from adopting more stringent renewable energy standards

A panel of senators today approved legislation to bar the Arizona Corporation Commission from adopting renewable energy standards that are more stringent than what is currently in place. Many consider the bill an attempt by lawmakers to assert control over the state’s energy policy, but critics said it infringes on the commission’s constitutional authority to set rates for public utility companies.

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Miranda pleads guilty to wire fraud

A former member of the Arizona Legislature accused of defrauding a nonprofit he once ran has pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud and attempted tax evasion charges.

Former Democratic Rep. Richard Miranda of Tolleson admitted Wednesday to selling a building that belonged to the nonprofit Centro Adelante Campesino without authorization from the group's board for $250,000 and keeping $144,000 in profits for his personal use.

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Brewer’s cornerstone bill delayed in House (access required)

The cornerstone bill in Gov. Jan Brewer’s 2012 agenda was supposed to be debated on the House floor today, but it was left off today’s House floor calendar, pushing off debate of the sweeping personnel reform legislation until later in the week.

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Bill allowing employers to deny contraception coverage advances (access required)

Any business with a religious objection to contraception would be allowed to not include it in their insurance coverage under a bill that was approved by a Senate committee Monday. Current law allows only religious employers, which are defined as nonprofit groups that primarily employ and serve persons who share their religious tenets, to provide health plans that don’t cover contraceptives.

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