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Ethics Committee hires ex-federal prosecutor in Bundgaard case

The Senate Ethics Committee has hired a former federal prosecutor to investigate whether Sen. Scott Bundgaard broke ethics rules in a roadside scuffle with his ex-girlfriend.

And the attorney, Kory Langhofer, appears to be aggressively pursuing the case: He said he will likely call witnesses to testify in the ethics trial next month, including alleged victim Aubry Ballard, police officers and other eye witnesses to the domestic-violence incident.

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IRC maps on agenda for final OK (access required)

Agendas for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s meetings for the week now include the possible approval of its new maps, and the final vote could come within the next few weeks.

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Self preservation: Lawmakers lament recall process, want to make it more difficult (access required)

Still shaken from the successful recall of Senate President Russell Pearce, some lawmakers are seeking to make it more difficult for voters to oust politicians from office.

One Pearce ally plans to sponsor legislation that would require recall organizers to obtain signatures from a majority of registered voters in a district — an unprecedented proposal that would far exceed signature requirements in all other states that allow recalls.

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Federal money for health exchange puts Brewer in bind (access required)

The $30 million that Arizona received this week from the Obama administration will help the state develop and design a health insurance exchange website that can seamlessly interact with Medicaid.

But the pot of money, particularly given its size, potentially poses legal and political complications for Gov. Jan Brewer, who is against the federal health care overhaul and led Arizona in suing over its constitutionality.

Some view Brewer’s decision to seek the grant as tantamount to surrendering Arizona’s case.

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‘ResistALEC’ protestors pepper-sprayed, arrested (access required)

Police used pepper spray on a crowd of protestors, and arrested six of them, outside a a Scottsdale conference center today that was attended by dozens of lawmakers from around the country.

The roughly 150 demonstrators showed up at the American Legislative Exchange Council summit in Phoenix, to protest what they see as undue corporate influence in government.

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Brewer: No special session without “clear path to victory” at the ballot

Gov. Jan Brewer today said she won’t call a special legislative session to either repeal or reform the independent redistricting process, despite calls from some lawmakers that she do so this week.

The governor’s emphatic statement, which was released after she met with House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Steve Pierce, means the chances of lawmakers convening by tomorrow to meet a deadline for placing items on the Feb. 28 ballot have all but evaporated.

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Arizona gets $30M from feds for state-based exchange

Arizona today received $30 million in grant money from the Obama administration to help the state establish a health insurance exchange.

This is on top of the $1 million in planning grant the state earlier got.

The exchange, which is aimed at making it easier for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance, is a key component of the federal health care overhaul.

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