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Bipartisan budget talks resume without Brewer

Negotiations on repairing a $2.5 billion hole in the state's budget continued, but Gov. Jan Brewer remains excluded from the talks as Republican and Democrat lawmakers attempt to forge an agreement. Legislative leaders of both parties met for the second time in as many weeks July 16 to discuss the scope of the state's budgetary woes. And, as was the case in the first meeting a week earlier, Brewer was not involved.

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Brewer shows conservative streak, signs 3 abortion bills

Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to sign legislation imposing new restrictions on abortion showed her conservative stripes after months of wrangling with fellow Republicans over elements of her budget proposal. Her actions on the abortion bills also signaled a clear departure from those of her predecessor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, who vetoed similar measures passed during previous legislative sessions.

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At long last, Allen’s E.R. malpractice bill signed

A four-year battle for Sen. Carolyn Allen came to end with a stroke of the governor's pen. Gov. Jan Brewer on July 13 signed S1018, which raises the burden of proof for medical malpractice lawsuits against emergency room physicians. Allen, a Scottsdale Republican, had tried unsuccessfully for years to get the measure passed, only to see it fail to reach the governor's desk.

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Part-time Arizona lawmakers working into the summer

Arizona's part-time legislators are on the job in midsummer after their inability to work out an on-time solution to the state's budget trouble led them to crack a barrier they hoped to avoid. The annual regular session starts in January and has adjourned in May or June in recent years. This year, it ran 71/2 hours into July 1 before lawmakers approved a new budget and finished action on other bills.

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GOP closes caucus after Harper, Allen exchange words (access required)

Senate Republicans closed their caucus from the public July 13 after two members got into a relatively heated discussion over how to deal with the governor and her proposal for a one-cent sales tax increase. After the two-hour closed-door meeting, senators said they talked about organizational matters, one of several subjects that they are permitted to go into executive session to discuss.

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Dem leader says bipartisan budget talks will be ‘painful’ (access required)

The overwhelming display of bipartisanship that kicked off the special legislative session when it convened July 6 may be a precursor of how lawmakers will work to patch the $2.5 billion hole in the budget, but to what extent Republicans and Democrats work together likely won't be known until later this month.

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