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Unions forego all-out battle with Legislature — for now (access required)

Public unions are avoiding a forceful confrontation with conservative lawmakers who are pushing for a slew of anti-union proposals – for now.

Instead of declaring an open war by organizing massive protests at the state Capitol — a tactic adopted by labor unions in Wisconsin who faced a similar threat last year — unions here have had a more tempered response.

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Goldwater Institute branded as ‘lobbyist’ for anti-union bills (access required)

Behind an array of proposals to weaken unions is a small but influential conservative group that is partly responsible for moving Arizona’s needle to the right of the political spectrum.

The Goldwater Institute developed and drafted legislation that is now the focal point of what could be the biggest political fight at the state Capitol this year.

But now the group itself, not just its ideas, is under close scrutiny from opponents.

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Political firestorm looms as lawmakers advance strict anti-labor measures (access required)

In what is shaping up as one of the biggest political fights this year, conservative lawmakers are pushing a slew of measures that would fundamentally weaken public-sector unions in Arizona.

Taken together, the anti-union bills that were approved this week by a legislative committee are more restrictive than what was enacted in Wisconsin, where political turmoil erupted after its governor proposed to curtail collective bargaining rights for most state and local public employees.

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Trio of bills target unions (access required)

A major push is underway in Arizona to strike at the very heart of public unions by eliminating their ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreements. As envisioned, the prohibition would extend to all public-safety unions, including firefighter and police associations.

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Montgomery questions DOJ report; calls for reinstatement of immigration checks (access required)

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery today joined the chorus of Republicans questioning the political motives of the U.S. Department of Justice and its release of findings that the Sheriff’s Office has followed a practice of racial profiling.

Montgomery also said he’s also going to ask the federal government to reinstate a program it stripped from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Thursday that allows detention officers to check the immigration status of people who are getting processed into jail.

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