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Stricter regs needed for medical pot

Supporters of an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona have taken steps to avoid some of the problems that have riddled California since voters there passed Proposition 215 in 1996. Californians approved a seven-paragraph initiative that protects physicians, caregivers and medical marijuana patients from prosecution. But it led to a massive outgrowth of doctors who prescribe the drug for just about any malady.

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Burns says strategy worked, but he won’t block non-budget bills in 2010 (access required)

Senate President Bob Burns has decided to avoid the failed budget-first strategy that locked up his chamber last session and led to an unhinged, last-minute push to pass hundreds of non-budget bills. What he has in mind for the 2010 session is, in some ways, back to the basics. Most committees, for instance, will be free to debate and vote on legislation unrelated to the budget.

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High court won’t hear suit challenging new immigration law

The Arizona Supreme Court announced on Dec. 2 it will not hear a lawsuit filed by local governments that sought to challenge legislation affecting land development and public benefits for immigrants. The petition for special action filed with the court on Nov. 23 by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns charged that the provisions in question were unconstitutionally included in a state budget bill.

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House communications director steps down

The top press aide for the House Republican caucus has announced she will resign at the end of this week. Becky Blackburn spent less than a year as communications director for the House of Representatives. In an e-mail to House majority members, staff and the media, she announced Dec. 4 would be her final day.

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Brewer may use immigration in move to the right (access required)

At a time when Gov. Jan Brewer needs all the Republican support she can muster, some see her recent statements about illegal immigration as a way to court the conservative base. But what role the contentious issue will play in the 2010 Republican primary is far from certain.

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After furloughs, states mull permanent cuts

Moving from furloughs of state employees to more permanent downsizing, states are girding for the deepest workforce cuts yet when they hammer out their fiscal 2011 budgets next year. In preparation, many are taking stock of every position in state government to determine what effect job cuts and the possible elimination of whole departments will have on revenues, expenses and the quality of government services.

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