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‘I hate this bill and I vote aye’ (access required)

Last year, Sen. Jack Harper gave his word that he would vote for a bill to restrict notary publics from notarizing documents that would present a conflict of interest. He made good on his promise by voting for it in committee. But when the bill failed there, Harper said he was relieved that it didn't pass. The situation illustrates the fact that lawmakers sometimes vote for measures they don’t necessarily like.

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Gun fight brewing at Legislature

Arizona's gun laws are already among the most permissive in the nation, but that's not good enough for gun-rights advocates who are taking aim at restrictions on who may carry guns, where they may carry them and when they may use them to shoot people.

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Harper looks to protect teachers against punitive-damage awards (access required)

State lawmakers are setting their sights on tort reform measures aimed at protecting educators and capping civil litigation awards arising from cases of death and injury. The two referendums, SCR 1001 and SCR 1003, have been introduced by Surprise Republican Sen. Jack Harper, who said he is seeking to guard educators, businesses and public entities from overzealous litigation.

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Jack Harper’s $13,000 question

In a quest to kill a component of the budget earlier this year, Sen. Jack Harper cost the state more than $13,000. But the Republican lawmaker says the money was well-spent, and may have saved the state from letting hundreds of "hardened" criminals out on the street...

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Lawmakers react to injunction on abortion laws (access required)

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction against new state laws that place restrictions on abortion. Although the decision has been embraced by state Democrats, the Republican co-sponsor of both bills said it's another case of courts infringing on the territory of the Legislature.

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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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A third of Senate to say goodbye in 2010 (access required)

A controversial constitutional amendment that limits the length of time that lawmakers can stay in office will force more than one-third of the senators out of their chamber by the end of next year, a massive revamp unprecedented in recent years.

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