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Goldwater Institute branded as ‘lobbyist’ for anti-union bills (access required)

Behind an array of proposals to weaken unions is a small but influential conservative group that is partly responsible for moving Arizona’s needle to the right of the political spectrum.

The Goldwater Institute developed and drafted legislation that is now the focal point of what could be the biggest political fight at the state Capitol this year.

But now the group itself, not just its ideas, is under close scrutiny from opponents.

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Political firestorm looms as lawmakers advance strict anti-labor measures (access required)

In what is shaping up as one of the biggest political fights this year, conservative lawmakers are pushing a slew of measures that would fundamentally weaken public-sector unions in Arizona.

Taken together, the anti-union bills that were approved this week by a legislative committee are more restrictive than what was enacted in Wisconsin, where political turmoil erupted after its governor proposed to curtail collective bargaining rights for most state and local public employees.

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Lawmakers urging classes on sex, money and the Bible (access required)

Sex, money, the Bible and the U.S. Constitution are some of the subjects lawmakers are proposing this session to be taught in Arizona classrooms.

Most of the bills come from Republicans inspired by personal experiences, and they manage to reconcile their proposed classroom mandates with the principles of small government and local control of curriculum.

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Push for transparency focuses on campaign spending, gift giving (access required)

In the wake of two of Arizona’s biggest political shake-ups of last year, lawmakers are hoping a little sunshine will help clean up the mess.

Shadowy groups involved in the recall of then-Senate President Russell Pearce brought to light some of the flaws in the current financial disclosure requirements. Meanwhile, the Fiesta Bowl scandal brought to light ethical questions about what should be considered a gift from a lobbyist.

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Panel: Toss one-year wait for lawmakers to become Capitol lobbyists

A state House committee Tuesday narrowly endorsed scrapping a state law the prevents legislators from serving as paid lobbyists at the Capitol for a year after leaving office.

Its author, Rep. Jack W. Harper, R-Surprise, said the moratorium is intended to keep lawmakers from influencing legislation but fails to recognize that staff members are even better positioned to become lobbyists. He said it’s unfair to deny former lawmakers the same opportunities allowed for staff members.

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