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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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Group files ballot measure for 1-cent sales tax hike (access required)

A coalition aiming to bolster K-12, higher education, state infrastructure and children’s health care funding filed a ballot measure today for a new 1-cent sales tax hike that would go into effect as soon as Proposition 100 expires in 2013.

The initiative, filed by the group Quality Education and Jobs, would direct about 80 percent of the money it raises to education, with the overwhelming majority going to K-12 schools. The tax would raise about $1 billion a year.

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Critics say ACA tax credits to businesses should be fully disclosed (access required)

Since the Arizona Commerce Authority officially launched on July 1, it has awarded $17.2 million in incentives to companies moving to or expanding in Arizona. But detailed information is available for less than half of that money.

That’s because $9.3 million has been awarded in the form of tax credits, which are defined in Arizona statute as confidential taxpayer information.

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Patterson charged with 4 counts of domestic violence

A Tucson legislator is facing four counts of misdemeanor domestic violence stemming from a Feb. 24 physical altercation with an ex-girlfriend, even though his attorney says the Arizona Constitution prevents the lawmaker from being charged.

However, a Phoenix attorney says Rep. Daniel Patterson has no such protections under the Constitution.

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Senate Appropriations approves $1 in funding for IRC (access required)

With the cash-strapped Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission on the verge of going broke and the threat of yet more legal action looming, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday to give the remapping panel just a single dollar in funding for the rest of the fiscal year.

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