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District Court judge sentences Arredondo to probation (access required)

District Court judge sentences Arredondo to probation <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

Former Democratic lawmaker Ben Arredondo walked out of court Wednesday effectively a free man, having convinced a federal judge his lifetime of community service and failing mental and physical health justify no time behind bars.

Judge Frederick Martone, of U.S. District Court in Phoenix, placed Arredondo on three years of probation, including 18 months of house arrest, and ordered him to pay $540 in restitution.

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State prepares for debate on costly Common Core educational standards (access required)

State prepares for debate on costly Common Core educational standards <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

Those who support Arizona’s new Common Core standards for math and English education say they help turn students into better thinkers and prepare them for college and the workforce.

Those who question the new standards say they could create added expenses for public schools, including new textbooks, teacher training and the need for new technology. They say the price tag, still undetermined, could be astronomical.

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Brewer seeks $317 million in new spending, largely for K-12 (access required)

Brewer seeks $317 million in new spending, largely for K-12 <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

The Governor’s Office unveiled an $8.9 billion budget plan today for fiscal year 2014, which included $317 million in new spending. “We’re finally comfortable using red, so that should tell you something about the state budget,” John Arnold, director of the governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, joked about the bright red color of the budget books distributed to the media at a press briefing today.

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Campbell offers comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence (access required)

Campbell offers comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell’s ideas for preventing a mass school shooting in Arizona include more cops in schools, more money pumped into the public-health system and stricter gun laws.

With a school resource officer and an award winning school counselor to help him make his case at a Jan. 9 press conference, Campbell said the cost of his 12-point plan would be $261 million. That would come from cutting a prized school-choice program favored by Republicans - the School Tuition Organization tax credit – as well as changes to tax laws and money from a $676 million budget surplus.

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