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Commerce Authority backs off controversial ‘stipends’ (access required)

The Arizona Commerce Authority announced late Friday afternoon that it will not be awarding the $5,000 stipends it had earlier promised to15 companies eliminated from a competitive grant program.

The Goldwater Institute’s Clint Bolick sent a letter to the ACA earlier this month, warning that the awards for unsuccessful semifinalists in the agency’s Innovation Challenge could be a violation of a constitutional provision banning government gifts to private companies, unless the money creates a tangible public benefit.

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Corp. Comm. barred from adopting more stringent renewable energy standards

A panel of senators today approved legislation to bar the Arizona Corporation Commission from adopting renewable energy standards that are more stringent than what is currently in place. Many consider the bill an attempt by lawmakers to assert control over the state’s energy policy, but critics said it infringes on the commission’s constitutional authority to set rates for public utility companies.

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The Bill of Rights comes to Arizona

If a silver lining exists to the explosive growth of national power over the past several years, it is that Americans are turning to their federal and state constitutions, reading them, understanding them, and invoking them to protect their rights.

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Judge leery of Clean Elections referendum (access required)

A pending ballot referendum that would allow voters to decide the fate of publicly funded political campaigns in Arizona could be deemed illegal by a county judge, but a former lawmaker who has set his sights on Arizona’s Clean Elections system promises voters will have the last word.

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Goldwater Institute ‘lobbies’ against registering more lobbyists (access required)

The Goldwater Institute is among the most powerful public-policy groups in Arizona.

The organization’s employees draft legislation, regularly meet with lawmakers and testify before committee hearings at the state Capitol. The group even advocated for the call of a 2010 special session in which lawmakers sought to give workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.

But the institute’s officials bristle at the suggestion that the organization has more than one lobbyist on its staff.

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