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Judge halts pay for police officers doing union work (access required)

In its fight to curb the influence of public unions, the Goldwater Institute has persuaded a judge to temporarily block Phoenix’s practice of paying police officers to perform union work.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled today that the practice known as “release time” likely violates the Arizona Constitution’s “gift clause,” which prohibits government from donating to private entities.

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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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Time to give our first freedom as much respect as the second

A handful of elected officials in the Arizona Legislature have repeatedly tried to intimidate and silence Goldwater Institute analysts out of giving testimony in support of or in opposition to legislation this year. In one case, an elected official forced a Goldwater Institute attorney, who asked to speak on behalf of the Institute, to refrain from speaking because she was not a registered lobbyist for the Institute. Although the attorney was later allowed to testify after signing in as representing only herself, the instance demonstrates that certain Arizona legislators want citizens to curtail their First Amendment rights before daring to talk or write about public policy with their representatives.

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