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Special session No. 4 will target schools, DES funding (access required)

Republican legislative leaders have reached a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer to erase a portion of the estimated $2 billion budget deficit in a special session later this month, including about $300 million in spending cuts. The plan, if carried out, would eliminate a fraction of the overall deficit, and a $1.4 billion shortfall would remain.

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Telemedicine institute trains doctors, helps patients in remote areas

To Dr. Ronald S. Weinstein, a doctor's eyes and ears are as important as instruments or tests. A patient's tone and body language can say as much as his or her words, he said, and eye contact and seeing that a doctor is paying attention establishes trust for the patient. But that doesn't necessarily mean that doctor and patient have to be in the same place, said Weinstein, director of the University of Arizona College of Medicine's Arizona Telemedicine Program.

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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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Lawmakers inch toward special session (access required)

Lawmakers are inching closer to a special session as Senate leadership proposes that the Legislature convene to fix the budget woes of state agencies affected by the governor's veto. House leadership was polling members to see if they support the idea, Senate President Bob Burns told the Arizona Capitol Times on October 22.

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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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2008 Leaders: Where are they now?

To say that much has occurred since the 2008 Leaders of the Year in Public Policy Awards event is quite an understatement. An economic meltdown leading to a near-depression, the election of the first African-American to the U.S. presidency, a changing of the guard in the Executive Tower and chaos in the Legislature while attempting to deal with Arizona's worst budget deficit ever are just a few of the tumultuous events that mark the past 12 months

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