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Year in Review: ‘Say what?’ moments: Outrageous, engaging and head-scratching comments from 2011 (access required)

Politicians sometimes say the ‘darndest’ things, and 2011 didn’t disappoint. Whether deliberate or inadvertent, some comments by Arizona’s lawmakers outraged, inflamed or simply stoked people’s imaginations. Here are some comments and moments that left many scratching their heads, hopping mad or laughing out loud. If they proved anything, it’s this: The state Capitol can be a merry little box of chocolates. You just don’t know what you’re going to get.

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That should go over well

Gallardo told our reporter that legislators can bring two guests for the opening day of session in the House chamber, where Brewer will give her state address. So he’s bringing a familiar figure – activist Randy Parraz.

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Ethics Committee hires ex-federal prosecutor in Bundgaard case

The Senate Ethics Committee has hired a former federal prosecutor to investigate whether Sen. Scott Bundgaard broke ethics rules in a roadside scuffle with his ex-girlfriend.

And the attorney, Kory Langhofer, appears to be aggressively pursuing the case: He said he will likely call witnesses to testify in the ethics trial next month, including alleged victim Aubry Ballard, police officers and other eye witnesses to the domestic-violence incident.

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GOP-led Senate votes to oust redistricting chairwoman

In an unprecedented move that cast shadows of uncertainty over the state’s decennial remapping process, the Senate voted to remove Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Chairwoman Colleen Mathis.

The Senate voted to oust Mathis on a party line 21-6 vote – three Democrats were absent – for “neglect of duty” and “gross misconduct in office.” The charges stemmed from Republican allegations that Mathis, the independent chair of the panel, ignored constitutional criteria for drawing congressional and legislative districts and violated open meeting laws during the selection of a mapping consultant.

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