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Clean Elections case: The stakes are high for democracy

As part of an emerging pattern, another legal battle in Arizona soon will have the country buzzing again. This time, the attention won’t come from immigration policy, border security or John McCain. Instead, Arizona is about to affect the election law universe in a way that will ignite political pundits’ debates for some time.

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Free state transportation planners from federal handcuffs

Despite transportation funds coming from taxes paid by Arizona drivers, the federal government puts conditions and mandates on the use of these funds before states can be reimbursed for expenditures. Gov. Jan Brewer and the Arizona Department of Transportation have been fighting for more local control of transportation funds to better meet the state’s short- and long-range needs.

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Despite loss, press critics still have outlets

News councils, which generally include a mix of journalists and citizens as members, cannot force news operations to cooperate in their investigations. They don’t have legal powers to compel witnesses or gather facts, and they lack authority to enforce any penalty, correction or retraction. Though supporters see councils as a way to encourage accurate and fair reporting, opponents have raised objections ranging from personal pique at outsider meddling to an old claim that such private reviews are a first step toward government interference with a free press.

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Geological Survey, mines department complement each other

On Jan. 21, the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources shut down operations when it ran out of money. However, the mines department’s governing board transferred custody of the department’s files and physical resources to the Arizona Geological Survey for one year, or until the Legislature takes further action, such as approving Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to consolidate the two agencies.

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