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GOP compromise budget gives $450M to rainy day fund, $7M to tourism (access required)

As Republican lawmakers begin to receive briefings on the budget deal that GOP leaders and the Governor’s Office agreed to in principle April 25, details are beginning to emerge.

The major sticking point between the two sides has been revenue projections — not just for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, but also for the following two years. Though Gov. Jan Brewer had been unwilling to adopt the Legislature’s more cautious revenue estimates, it appears she had a change of mind.

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Arizona Legislature reverses public pension change

Arizona legislators have voted to reverse a cost-cutting decision that made thousands of state and local government employees pay a bigger share of the costs of the state's main public retirement system. Workers and their employers had each paid 50 percent of the Arizona State Retirement System's costs.

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House passes narrowed-down contraception bill (access required)

State representatives today passed a scaled-back bill that would allow religious-based employers to deny contraception coverage to their workers.

The amended bill, HB2625, passed the Arizona House by a vote of 36-21, and will need to go back to the Senate for final approval there. If approved there, it will be delivered to Gov. Jan Brewer for either a signature or a veto.

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Patterson calls ethics investigation ‘fishing expedition,’ then leaves town (access required)

Rep. Daniel Patterson on Wednesday afternoon filed his formal response to the ethics investigation into allegations that he beat his ex-girlfriend, maintaining that the probe is warrantless and calling for the charges to be dropped.

Around the same time Patterson’s assistant turned the formal response over to the House Chief Clerk’s office, he had state police drive him to the airport so he could take a flight out of town.

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