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Lawmakers getting hammered in court; resources strained (access required)

Arizona's 49th Legislature has been tasked with keeping the state financially afloat during the most troubling economic times in state history. But the choices lawmakers made this year in an effort to balance the budget have led to six lawsuits challenging the state's use of fund sweeps to fill in deficits.

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Lobbyist, lawmaker to resume Clean Elections clash (access required)

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission has renewed a $6,500-per-month contract with lobbyist Mike Williams, setting up another battle over the fate of the public campaign-funding system. Todd Lang, director of the Clean Elections Commission, said hiring a lobbyist was necessary to protect a system he credits with increasing political participation of the public and encouraging people to run for office.

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GOP pushing for 1-day special session (access required)

Barring any surprises, Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to call the Legislature into special session in the next few days. But her 1-cent sales tax hike won't be on the table - at least not this time. Still up in the air is the possibility of doing a second special session, possibly in December, for another round of cuts and potentially approving revenue generating options.

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Mixed messages emerge from school override, bond votes

If there's a message in the results of this month's school bond and budget override votes, the meaning is up for wide interpretation. The approval rate for overrides and bond issues requested by school districts on Nov. 2 was lower than the five-year average, leading some to conclude that the public's willingness to pay more taxes for education has decreased.

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Tucson lawmaker: Career as artist provides flexibility and perspective for work at Capitol

TUCSON - "Life's too short for beige," Steve Farley said, standing in his backyard looking at the color palette he's painted his home: sandy peach, Easter-egg turquoise and a rich purple. But what stands out the most also happens to be what Farley does for a living: hundreds of painted ceramic tiles on the back of his house together form a two-story saguaro cactus in shades of green and gray.

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