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Lawmakers getting hammered in court; resources strained (access required)

Arizona's 49th Legislature has been tasked with keeping the state financially afloat during the most troubling economic times in state history. But the choices lawmakers made this year in an effort to balance the budget have led to six lawsuits challenging the state's use of fund sweeps to fill in deficits.

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A different kind of effort

Sen. Russell Pearce told our reporter yesterday he is advocating lawmakers "simply ignore" the maintenance of effort requirements for K-12, universities and healthcare funding that the state agreed to when it accepted the federal stimulus aid earlier this year.

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Capitol Quotes 10/23 (access required)

"Apparently, myself and Senator Gorman are... kind of like the anti-tax Jedi knights. We are the last Jedi banished to the hinterlands, so asking what our opinion on what leadership is going to do is probably the wrong place to ask." - Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican from Lake Havasu City, when asked his thoughts of what will happen during a special session this fall.

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Employer sanctions coming up short (access required)

Arizona's employer sanctions law has been in effect for 21 months, yet no businesses have been shut down over hiring practices. In fact, there hasn't yet been a single business forced to defend itself in court. But now, one lawmaker wants to change all that by giving county attorneys more enforcement powers.

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Capitol Quotes 10/2 (access required)

"These are common sense regulations. Women in Arizona deserve to see a doctor, be given information about the abortion, its risks, its alternatives, and then have a period of reflection." - Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, reacting to an injunction against abortion laws her group support.

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Wanted: new revenue (access required)

Lawmakers will be facing quite the conundrum in 2010 - how to raise more revenue for the cash-strapped state without raising taxes. The Republican-led Legislature stymied attempts by Gov. Jan Brewer to put a sales tax increase on the ballot, and outright rejected the idea of passing a tax increase itself.

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