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Fit to be tied: Republican lawmakers say Prop. 105 is too restrictive

The chorus of lawmakers calling for an overhaul of the Voter Protection Act quieted to a low murmur in 2011, but supporters say the dormant issue will be back on the Legislature’s agenda next year.

Several Republican legislators said they will revive their plans to change Proposition 105, the 1998 ballot measure that strictly limits the Legislature’s ability to tamper with voter-approved measures.

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Lawmakers’ voting participation remains high in shorter session

Records from the past three legislative sessions point to a simple truism of the citizen-legislature model: The shorter the session, the better the attendance.

By keeping a 100-day session — the length prescribed by legislative rules — 27 of the Legislature’s 90 members voted on every bill that was brought to the floor, and only one lawmaker missed more than 20 percent of floor votes.

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Few see increase in civility following Giffords’ shooting (access required)

The January shooting in Tucson, which occurred just two days before the 2011 legislative session began, inspired soul searching among rattled and emotional lawmakers, who pledged a new era of civility across the partisan divide. Others vowed drastic changes to Arizona’s laws on guns and mental health in response to a mass shooting carried out by a man with documented-but-untreated mental health problems.

But while some lawmakers say the lessons of Jan. 8 stayed with them through sine die, most have seen few changes.

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UpClose with David Schapira: Found some success at blocking legislation with ‘watchdog’ approach

The Senate minority announced an audacious goal this year — to put the spotlight on Republicans and their legislation. That task fell to a young father to articulate his party’s positions in a year when Republicans, who are control both chambers, don’t even need a single Democratic vote to pass emergency legislation.

The immediate challenge for Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, a Tempe Democrat, and his caucus was to avoid being relegated to irrelevance.

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