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Lawmakers’ first duty: Show up and vote

Here’s the simple mathematics of representative government: Arizona taxpayers pay for lawmakers to show up and vote on every bill in the Legislature. Now here’s the flaw in that equation: Lawmakers get paid whether they show up or not. Unfortunately, many Arizona residents were underrepresented at the Capitol during last year’s regular legislative session.

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Capitol Quotes 1/1/10

"I keep thinking, Oh, my gosh! The time before we have to go back there is getting less and less!" - Sen. Linda Lopez, a Democrat from Tucson, on the approaching regular session. Lawmakers return to the Capitol Jan. 11 for the 2010 session.

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Sale of state prisons running into wall of opposition

When lawmakers chose April Fool’s Day as the deadline to submit a plan to privatize the state’s prison system, they unwittingly telegraphed just how dubious the plan was. First, the whole idea of putting state prisons under private control was a difficult sell to the public. Then there was a question about how many of the state’s 10 prisons to auction off.

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Capitol Quotes 12/11

"I think that this most recent move, this RICO case against members of the judiciary, is maybe his Waterloo." - Phoenix attorney Michael C. Manning, on a lawsuit Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have filed against the Board of Supervisors and several judges and attorneys, alleging that they blocked the pair's investigation into the new Superior Court tower.

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GOP pushing for 1-day special session

Barring any surprises, Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to call the Legislature into special session in the next few days. But her 1-cent sales tax hike won't be on the table - at least not this time. Still up in the air is the possibility of doing a second special session, possibly in December, for another round of cuts and potentially approving revenue generating options.

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Mixed messages emerge from school override, bond votes

If there's a message in the results of this month's school bond and budget override votes, the meaning is up for wide interpretation. The approval rate for overrides and bond issues requested by school districts on Nov. 2 was lower than the five-year average, leading some to conclude that the public's willingness to pay more taxes for education has decreased.

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