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Legislation spells end for Mesa impact fee court case (access required)

They couldn’t win in court, so they took the fight to the Legislature – and won.

The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and the Goldwater Institute, a litigious government watchdog group with a libertarian bent, were unable to convince the courts that impact fees Mesa charged to new home construction for cultural programs are illegal. Instead, lawmakers approved legislation that effectively curtails those fees.

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Voters get final choice on dismantling Clean Elections (access required)

After years of having nothing to show for their legislative efforts to dismantle Arizona’s public campaign financing system, state business leaders and other opponents of Clean Elections enlisted the help of an unlikely ally.

On April 18, the Senate refered SCR1025 to the 2012 ballot. The success of the measure, which would ask voters to effectively gut Arizona’s embattled 13-year-old public finance system for legislative and statewide office candidates, can largely be attributed to one of Clean Election’s most ardent supporters.

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The era of conservatism — more or less (access required)

Fiscal hawks who took the reins of the state government this year promised a new era of conservatism and delivered where it mattered most — by drafting a spending plan that rejected gimmickry in favor of significant cuts to core government services.

But the aftershocks of 2010’s Republican tsunami were also felt elsewhere, and this Legislature’s Tea Party leanings became the refrain for the 2011 legislative session.

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The Tucson shootings: no lessons learned?

Even the most traumatic events fade with time. As the months pass since Jan. 8, our attention is increasingly captured by the remarkable recuperation of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the approaching trial of accused shooter Jared Loughner. It’s natural to want to let go of disturbing memories, both of the violence itself and of the troublesome questions that it raised.

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