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Time to give our first freedom as much respect as the second

A handful of elected officials in the Arizona Legislature have repeatedly tried to intimidate and silence Goldwater Institute analysts out of giving testimony in support of or in opposition to legislation this year. In one case, an elected official forced a Goldwater Institute attorney, who asked to speak on behalf of the Institute, to refrain from speaking because she was not a registered lobbyist for the Institute. Although the attorney was later allowed to testify after signing in as representing only herself, the instance demonstrates that certain Arizona legislators want citizens to curtail their First Amendment rights before daring to talk or write about public policy with their representatives.

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Sine die: Conservative agenda dominates session (access required)

Lawmakers wrapped up their work at 8:25 p.m. on May 3 after nearly four months in session, having stashed away money for anticipated rainy days ahead, approved a sweeping measure that allows state workers to be more easily fired and fought on the unending battlefronts of abortion, taxation and border security.

And like the year before, lawmakers with conservative leanings shaped the agenda at the Capitol.

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Brewer places moratorium on bills until budget done

Talks on the budget may be on the verge of breaking down, as Gov. Jan Brewer today told Republican legislative leaders that she will not sign any more bills until the budget is done.

Republican lawmakers and Brewer have been at loggerheads over a budget deal all session. The governor called for increased spending in education and some social programs, but Republicans have said she wants to spend too much money.

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Ethics Committee: Expel Patterson (access required)

After two hours of back-and-forth discussion, the House Ethics Committee today voted to recommend Rep. Daniel Patterson’s expulsion from the House of Representatives, and one committee member said to expect a full House vote on the recommendation later this afternoon.

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Patterson demands ethics hearing to cross-examine accusers (access required)

Rep. Daniel Patterson today demanded that the House Ethics Committee give him an opportunity to testify before its members, cross-examine his accusers and address each incident of impropriety anonymously claimed against him.

Patterson said the ethics charges against him result from a group of lobbyists and lawmakers who sought a reason to have him kicked out of office, and one civil rights activist even said the Tucson lawmaker is being treated unfairly because he is white.

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