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Special session No. 4 will target schools, DES funding (access required)

Republican legislative leaders have reached a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer to erase a portion of the estimated $2 billion budget deficit in a special session later this month, including about $300 million in spending cuts. The plan, if carried out, would eliminate a fraction of the overall deficit, and a $1.4 billion shortfall would remain.

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Registrar of Contractors among agencies looking for budget fix (access required)

When the Legislature meets in a special session later this month, one of the agencies whose budget problems they will attempt to fix is the Registrar of Contractors. Tyler Palmer, legislative liaison for the Registrar of Contractors, said the agency lost about $390,000 in funding for operating costs when Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a budget bill in September.

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Groups hopeful about appeal of employer sanctions

Groups trying to overturn an Arizona law that prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has expressed an interest in their appeal. The court normally agrees to take on only a small number of appeals, and it hasn't yet decided whether it will hear the business and civil rights groups' appeal of the law. But the justices on Nov. 2 asked the U.S. solicitor general - the lawyer who argues the Obama administration's cases before the court - to submit a brief in the case.

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Department of Revenue puts layoff plan on hold

Gambling that Arizona lawmakers will approve its funding in time, the state tax collection agency is shelving plans to lay off more than half its staff early this month. After Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoed some of the Department of Revenue's funding in September to kill an unrelated provision of the same bill, Director Gale Garriott said the department would probably have to lay off 450 of its 710 workers in November.

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Budget fix pitched to GOP lawmakers (access required)

The budget fix being shopped to Republican lawmakers would erase a little more than a quarter of the estimated $2 billion deficit and include about $300 million in permanent spending cuts. House Majority Whip Andy Tobin said the deal Republican leaders have reached with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer would include $140 million in cuts to K-12 education and $140 million in cuts to ADES.

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Telemedicine institute trains doctors, helps patients in remote areas

To Dr. Ronald S. Weinstein, a doctor's eyes and ears are as important as instruments or tests. A patient's tone and body language can say as much as his or her words, he said, and eye contact and seeing that a doctor is paying attention establishes trust for the patient. But that doesn't necessarily mean that doctor and patient have to be in the same place, said Weinstein, director of the University of Arizona College of Medicine's Arizona Telemedicine Program.

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