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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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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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