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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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Biggs, as Senate majority leader, less vocal in opposing bills (access required)

On several occasions, the Senate majority leader voted with the losing side — and against the majority in his caucus.

Those occasions are a stark reminder that the man Republicans picked as caucus leader is a fiscal conservative with a libertarian streak, who backs or supports measures depending on how they hew to or diverge from his reading of the U.S. Constitution.

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Under Prop. 300, college just a dream for many illegal immigrants

Carina Montes, an A-grade high school student and JROTC member, would normally have good chances as she applies for college scholarships. But Proposition 300, a voter-approved law that requires students who can’t prove citizenship to pay out-of-state tuition and denies them access to state and federal financial aid, is preventing even some of the most qualified students from getting access to a college education.

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Voters get final choice on dismantling Clean Elections (access required)

After years of having nothing to show for their legislative efforts to dismantle Arizona’s public campaign financing system, state business leaders and other opponents of Clean Elections enlisted the help of an unlikely ally.

On April 18, the Senate refered SCR1025 to the 2012 ballot. The success of the measure, which would ask voters to effectively gut Arizona’s embattled 13-year-old public finance system for legislative and statewide office candidates, can largely be attributed to one of Clean Election’s most ardent supporters.

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