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GOP lawmakers approve $8.6B spending plan (updated) (access required)

Republican leaders quickly consolidated support behind an $8.6 billion budget plan and gave it final approval today, less than a week after finally reaching a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer.

The spending plan is a product of a session-long negotiation between Brewer and legislative leaders, and the give-and-take between the two sides is palpable throughout the budget document.

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KidsCare open to nearly 22,000 children (access required)

A plan for the federal government and several Arizona hospitals to jointly fund the state’s decimated KidsCare program has come to fruition, and enrollment for the public health insurance program is now open for nearly 22,000 children.

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Brewer faces appellate deadline over SB1070 ruling

Gov. Jan Brewer faces a May 9 deadline for filing her appeal of a ruling that prevents police from enforcing yet another portion of Arizona's 2010 immigration enforcement law. Brewer is appealing U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's Feb. 29 ruling that blocked police from enforcing the law's prohibition on blocking traffic when people seek or offer day labor services on streets.

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Bills caught in the logjam (access required)

Here’s a list of some of the most controversial, substantive or prominent measures that are awaiting a vote, struggling to get support or are simply caught in the moratorium and are ready to be sent to the governor’s desk.

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Bills stacking up after Brewer threatens mass vetoes (access required)

The 2012 session appears to be in its final days, but some of the biggest pieces of legislation this year — including Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to make it easier to fire state employees — remain stuck at the state Capitol.

The glut of measures yet to be passed — or in some cases held by legislative leaders — is at least partially a result of an embargo on sending bills to the governor after she threatened to veto all bills until a budget deal is reached.

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Budget doc reveals money stashed for ‘rainy days’ ahead

Lawmakers and the governor plan to set aside $450 million to offset anticipated deficits in the state budget in two years.

That’s money that won’t be available for critical needs now, but depositing it in the state’s “rainy day” fund reaffirms a fiscally conservative outlook that has dominated the Capitol following the fiscal crisis that led to several years of incessant budget slashing.

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