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Diminished debate: Limits on floor discussion put Senate in quandary (access required)

In the Arizona Legislature, debate usually refers to the Committee of the Whole, a crucial part of lawmaking that facilitates adjustments to legislation. More importantly for some, it is the last chance to thoroughly examine proposed legislation and to sway people's opinion for or against it. In most cases, emotions are checked and the tone is primarily civil. But in the last two years, senators have adopted temporary rules to limit debate during the Committee of the Whole so debate is now but a shadow of its dictionary meaning. In short, the limitation on debate happened when lawmakers discussed subjects that directly impacted the state during a crucial part of the budget process.

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Supporters: Law raising microbrewery production limit good for Arizona firms, jobs

Jim Scussel and his partners started Four Peaks Brewing Co. 13 years ago as a brewery and tasting room, rolling out kegs of Scottish Ale, Four Peaks Ale and Arizona Peach to restaurants and bars. Four Peaks later opened a restaurant at its brewery in Tempe and another in north Scottsdale. And consumers now can purchase Kilt Lifter and its other brews at grocery and convenience stores around the state.

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Brewer looks back on session (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer is not a governor prone to second-guessing. While many lawmakers are eager to point out where they think she went wrong during her first legislative session on the Ninth Floor, whether it be her near single-minded pursuit of a temporary sales tax increase or their belief that she didn't communicate enough with legislators, Brewer doesn't appear to be having second thoughts.

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Wanted: new revenue (access required)

Lawmakers will be facing quite the conundrum in 2010 - how to raise more revenue for the cash-strapped state without raising taxes. The Republican-led Legislature stymied attempts by Gov. Jan Brewer to put a sales tax increase on the ballot, and outright rejected the idea of passing a tax increase itself.

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Day 2: Quelland tries judge’s patience (access required)

A day after being repeatedly told by a judge to avoid long-winded answers and focus his responses to address only the question asked, Rep. Doug Quelland frustrated the court by feigning ignorance when asked basic questions. Of course, that was only when he was being cross-examined by the attorney for the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

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Lawmakers scrutinize STOs, seeking reform (access required)

A group of lawmakers are taking a closer look at a program that gives income-tax breaks to people who donate money for private school scholarships. A Sept. 21 hearing on school-tuition organizations at the state Capitol came on the heels of newspapers reports that highlighted ways the tax-credit program could be abused.

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13 House members will be looking for new jobs (access required)

There are 13 legislators in the House of Representatives who can hear the hoof-beats of term limits fast approaching, and their plans after the forced exit from the chamber range from possible runs for higher office to recapturing memories from youth.

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A third of Senate to say goodbye in 2010 (access required)

A controversial constitutional amendment that limits the length of time that lawmakers can stay in office will force more than one-third of the senators out of their chamber by the end of next year, a massive revamp unprecedented in recent years.

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