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Budget bill fails in Senate; Verschoor AWOL (access required)

The Senate has hit a major snag and has failed to pass the main budget measure that is part of a package that partially fixes a $2-billion deficit, and it has adjourned until Nov. 23. The bill went down by a vote of 14-13. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray voted "no" so he could bring the vote up for reconsideration later. All the Democrats voted "no" on the bill. So did Sen. Ron Gould, a Lake Havasu Republican.

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Foreclosure law on track for repeal – again (access required)

It's back to square one for the Arizona Bankers Association. A tenuous deal to alter Arizona laws that govern home foreclosures was struck down by lawmakers on Nov. 18 after objections were raised by the homebuilding industry. The agreement had been struck by the Bankers Association and the Arizona Association of Realtors.

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Special session kicks off, but most work slated for Thursday (access required)

Lawmakers officially kicked off the fourth special session of the year - the second devoted to the fiscal 2010 budget - with an uneventful gathering at the state Capitol on Nov. 17. The work on taking a small bite out of the state's $2 billion budget deficit will take place on Nov. 19, when House and Senate budget committees are expected to meet.

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Lawmakers getting hammered in court; resources strained (access required)

Arizona's 49th Legislature has been tasked with keeping the state financially afloat during the most troubling economic times in state history. But the choices lawmakers made this year in an effort to balance the budget have led to six lawsuits challenging the state's use of fund sweeps to fill in deficits.

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Capitol Quotes 11/13 (access required)

"The Legislature is no longer in a position of cutting - the economy's taking care of that. The money's not there." - Senate President Bob Burns, a Republican from Peoria, speaking Nov. 12 about how the state needs to approach future budget deficits.

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GOP pushing for 1-day special session (access required)

Barring any surprises, Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to call the Legislature into special session in the next few days. But her 1-cent sales tax hike won't be on the table - at least not this time. Still up in the air is the possibility of doing a second special session, possibly in December, for another round of cuts and potentially approving revenue generating options.

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Special Session: Get ready for Thursday

Gov. Jan Brewer and GOP leaders are expected to meet this week to discuss a special session, which is still being penciled in for Nov. 17-19. House Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President Bob Burns both told our reporter that they were speaking with members about the budget changes that would be voted on and both were upbeat about the possibility of the session happening.

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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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