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No moratorium, Senate to hear bills early in session (access required)

The Senate is going to hear bills when session starts, Senate President Bob Burns said Oct. 29. This is a departure from the strategy the Senate leadership adopted during the most recent regular session, when a moratorium on hearing non-budget bills was used so lawmakers could direct all their energy to solving the state's record-breaking budget deficit.

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Diminished debate: Limits on floor discussion put Senate in quandary (access required)

In the Arizona Legislature, debate usually refers to the Committee of the Whole, a crucial part of lawmaking that facilitates adjustments to legislation. More importantly for some, it is the last chance to thoroughly examine proposed legislation and to sway people's opinion for or against it. In most cases, emotions are checked and the tone is primarily civil. But in the last two years, senators have adopted temporary rules to limit debate during the Committee of the Whole so debate is now but a shadow of its dictionary meaning. In short, the limitation on debate happened when lawmakers discussed subjects that directly impacted the state during a crucial part of the budget process.

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A third of Senate to say goodbye in 2010 (access required)

A controversial constitutional amendment that limits the length of time that lawmakers can stay in office will force more than one-third of the senators out of their chamber by the end of next year, a massive revamp unprecedented in recent years.

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New target date for budget: Aug. 20 (access required)

Arizona lawmakers are planning to send a set of budget bills to the Governor's Office on Aug. 20, after a short floor session today that ended without any action. But that budget plan will not include the proposal for a sales tax referral, something that Gov. Jan Brewer has insisted on for months.

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Senate revives sales tax referral (access required)

The Arizona Senate has revived a measure that contains a provision for a sales tax increase, even though some lawmakers have called it a "dead horse." Senate President Bob Burns indicated lawmakers would continue to work to pass the ballot referral.

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Pierce elected as permanent whip

A freshman lawmaker from Prescott has been elected as permanent majority whip in the Senate. "It's an honor to be able to able to help," said Sen. Steve Pierce. Pierce's election to the post did not come as a surprise.

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Budget on life support again as sales tax fails

***UPDATED AT 8:45 P.M.*** After about seven months of trying, Republican leaders arrived at the Capitol on Aug. 12 with hopes that they had finally corralled enough votes in the Senate, including the support of a Democrat, to pass a budget for fiscal year 2010. But all that evaporated when a senator whose support Republicans were counting on was absent from the floor.

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Pearce: No support for ousting Gray (access required)

Sen. Russell Pearce said he has not seen any move in the Senate aimed at removing majority leader Chuck Gray from his leadership post, despite reports that he may suffer the same fate as recently ousted majority whip Pamela Gorman.

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