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Proposed curb on punitive damage suits — economic development tool or bad for consumers?

Big business and consumer-rights advocates are squaring off over a bill that would significantly limit the ability of people to sue a manufacturer whose products might pose risks to the public. The legislation would shield manufacturers from punitive damage claims — the most aggressive legal recourse allowed against manufacturers — unless very specific negligence can be demonstrated.

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Republican budget talks moving again (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer and legislative leaders resumed talks on the budget Thursday, three days after the governor told them to stop sending her bills until they get the state’s spending plan completed.

The meeting seemed to reaffirm the two sides’ commitment to negotiate the state budget within the Republican Party. The meeting came as some GOP lawmakers considered the possibility of joining with Democrats to pass a veto-proof budget.

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Republicans mulling Dem alliance after veto threat

After weeks of budget talks with no agreement in sight, Gov. Jan Brewer gave legislative leaders an ultimatum, telling them she would veto bills until work on the state’s spending plan is complete.

But rather than force a quicker budget resolution, it could result in more heartburn between the two sides. In fact, there were indications some Republicans might be taking a look at abandoning negotiations with the governor in favor of working with Democrats to ensure a veto-proof super majority behind a budget.

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Film tax credit gets OK from Senate (access required)

A proposal to create a new tax credit for film productions split Republicans but managed to garner just enough support to pass today in the Senate. The debate over measure, which still needs the House’s approval, illuminates a deep divide that is plaguing the majority party over how best to set the conditions for a robust economy.

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House passes narrowed-down contraception bill (access required)

State representatives today passed a scaled-back bill that would allow religious-based employers to deny contraception coverage to their workers.

The amended bill, HB2625, passed the Arizona House by a vote of 36-21, and will need to go back to the Senate for final approval there. If approved there, it will be delivered to Gov. Jan Brewer for either a signature or a veto.

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