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Long session led to many missed votes

The Arizona House of Representatives held 382 floor votes during the 2009 regular session, which stretched into July as lawmakers struggled with the budget deficit. Rep. Rich Crandall, a Mesa Republican, didn't participate in 254 of them, nearly two-thirds of the total.

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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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Supporters: Law raising microbrewery production limit good for Arizona firms, jobs

Jim Scussel and his partners started Four Peaks Brewing Co. 13 years ago as a brewery and tasting room, rolling out kegs of Scottish Ale, Four Peaks Ale and Arizona Peach to restaurants and bars. Four Peaks later opened a restaurant at its brewery in Tempe and another in north Scottsdale. And consumers now can purchase Kilt Lifter and its other brews at grocery and convenience stores around the state.

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New law expands religious expression in schools (access required)

Sen. Linda Gray often cites "The New England Primer" while delivering speeches on the Senate floor. In a committee hearing June 10, the Glendale Republican read an excerpt: "I believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker of heaven and Earth, and in Jesus his only Son our Lord, which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried." Gray was trying to make a point.

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Part-time Arizona lawmakers working into the summer

Arizona's part-time legislators are on the job in midsummer after their inability to work out an on-time solution to the state's budget trouble led them to crack a barrier they hoped to avoid. The annual regular session starts in January and has adjourned in May or June in recent years. This year, it ran 71/2 hours into July 1 before lawmakers approved a new budget and finished action on other bills.

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Capitol Quotes 5/1

“I’m not going to get rolled again this year like every single year in the past.” — Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican from Lake Havasu, complaining about “liberal” House Republicans whom he said want to push more spending and a ...

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