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Arizona’s leading ladies (access required)

Michael Kurtenbach recalls Janet Napolitano's election over Matt Salmon for governor in 2002. He remembers seeing her inauguration speech on TV when he was 13 and seeing her leave for Washington D.C. earlier this year. However, one thing the 18-year-old political science major at Arizona State University doesn't remember, is a man serving as Arizona's governor.

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Wishful thinking interrupted by budget reality (access required)

JLBC has singled out three budget provisions that wouldn't live up to their billing: a plan to save $50 million due to reduced fraud in the health care system; deals to privatize nine of the 10 state prisons; and a plan to raise $735 million by selling dozens of state buildings, then leasing them back. But there's more.

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Lottery renewal needed before state can borrow (access required)

The odds of winning the Arizona Lottery's big jackpot are about one in 175 million. The odds that lawmakers will sell off future lottery revenues for a quick cash infusion are exponentially better. As lawmakers ponder how to fix a fiscal 2011 budget deficit that is expected to top $2 billion, many are viewing lottery securitization as a last resort whose time has come.

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GOP-passed election laws targeted by Democrats (access required)

Two electoral changes implemented by Republicans this year have attracted opposition and litigation from Democrats who argued the laws violate the state Constitution to advance partisan agendas. In July, Gov. Jan Brewer signed S1123 into law. The legislation, proposed by Tucson Sen. Jonathan Paton, banned local governments from including partisan affiliations for candidates on the ballot.

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No moratorium, Senate to hear bills early in session (access required)

The Senate is going to hear bills when session starts, Senate President Bob Burns said Oct. 29. This is a departure from the strategy the Senate leadership adopted during the most recent regular session, when a moratorium on hearing non-budget bills was used so lawmakers could direct all their energy to solving the state's record-breaking budget deficit.

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Budget gap grows as result of ‘unrealized savings’ (access required)

Legislative budget analysts said last week that $165 million of the state budget deficit is due to "potential unrealized budget savings" that were assumed as part of the spending plan, which was designed to bridge a $3 billion shortfall. In short, several savings measures won't work as planned.

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