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Arizona’s tough-on-crime stance costs big bucks (access required)

Crime in Arizona has dramatically declined this decade, but the number of Arizonans in prison continues to climb and has grown by nearly 50 percent since 2002, thanks in part to the creation of new crimes and tougher sentencing guidelines. Supporters of the tough-on-crime approach say the figures show that the laws are doing what is intended: making Arizona safer by keeping dangerous criminals behind bars. But critics say that idea defies research and the state can't afford to continue the trajectory, especially in a time of fiscal crisis.

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Barnes’ comments take a turn for the weird

While the Senate barely said a word about the budget bills, the House spent more than an hour debating their merits when they came up for a vote Nov. 23. It was a strikingly partisan debate on spending cuts to education and social services. At times it was adversarial. At other times it was just strange.

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House panel approves budget-fix bills (access required)

A House panel followed the Senate's lead, quickly approving a series of budget bills aimed at chipping away at the state's massive deficit. The bills include $300 million in cuts to social programs and state aid for education.

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Vanderpool wants to keep leading DPS (access required)

Roger Vanderpool hopes his performance as director of the state's largest police force will speak louder than his political history - two elections as Pinal County Sheriff as a Democrat and an appointment to his current post by a Democratic governor - when Arizona's Republican governor decides who will lead the department for the next five years.

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Bare-bones Revenue Department would eliminate audits (access required)

An unintended consequence of a veto last month means the state agency tasked with collecting taxes is on the verge of laying off more than half of its staff, barring a budget fix to allow access to all of the money lawmakers gave it earlier this year. Anthony Forschino, the agency's assistant director, said the layoffs would still allow the Department of Revenue to function, but in a bare-bones manner.

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Cronkite/Eight Poll: Most Arizonans happy with their insurance but want health care revamped

Most Arizonans think the U.S. health care system needs revamping even though the majority are satisfied with the health insurance they have, according to a Cronkite/Eight Poll released Tuesday (Sept. 29). Fifty percent of those surveyed said the health care system needs major changes and 31 percent said minor changes would do, while 12 percent said the system is fine as is.

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