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Despite high ranking in accidents, Arizona one of few states with no boater-education law

PARKER - La Paz County Sheriff's Lt. Alan Nelson guides his patrol boat across the choppy waters of the Colorado River, keeping a careful watch for those breaking the law or endangering themselves and others. He approaches a small boat towing a tube and cuts back on the throttle, addressing the seven people aboard. "How old are the kids?" he shouts.

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Sale of state prisons running into wall of opposition (access required)

When lawmakers chose April Fool’s Day as the deadline to submit a plan to privatize the state’s prison system, they unwittingly telegraphed just how dubious the plan was. First, the whole idea of putting state prisons under private control was a difficult sell to the public. Then there was a question about how many of the state’s 10 prisons to auction off.

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Legislators want a little bit more on their plates (access required)

The Arizona Legislature has had its share of the trivial to pursue. Take the 1985 effort to pre-test legislative candidates on reading and IQ, which would have then posted the results on the ballot. Or how about the bill that would have required candidates for the Legislature to take a drug test? But if Arizona legislators love anything, it's license plates.

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Stuck in budget limbo, lawmakers are pre-filing fewer bills (access required)

Lawmakers have pre-filed fewer bills for the upcoming session than at the same time two years ago, a potential sign that fewer bills will be filed overall. That's not necessarily a surprise given the staggering state budget deficit lawmakers will face when they head back to the Capitol in January.

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Harper looks to protect teachers against punitive-damage awards (access required)

State lawmakers are setting their sights on tort reform measures aimed at protecting educators and capping civil litigation awards arising from cases of death and injury. The two referendums, SCR 1001 and SCR 1003, have been introduced by Surprise Republican Sen. Jack Harper, who said he is seeking to guard educators, businesses and public entities from overzealous litigation.

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Burns dissolves Gould’s committee (access required)

Senate President Bob Burns terminated a committee chaired by Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican from Lake Havasu City, on Dec. 10. Gould later told the Arizona Capitol Times he has been stripped of his committee chairmanship. Gould has been chairman of the Senate Retirement and Rural Development Committee.

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Lottery big part of state’s financial plans, but first voters must vote to keep it

While other contributors to state revenues have dropped off severely of late, the Arizona Lottery has been a growing source of tens of millions of dollars per year since its inception in 1980. The lottery funds a variety of voter-approved state programs in areas such as education, health and transportation and has contributed $2.3 billion in all to its beneficiaries.

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