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Medicaid expansion appears unlikely after Supreme Court ruling (access required)

If the feds can’t force Arizona to move forward with the massive Medicaid expansion, it’s a near certainty the Republican-led Legislature won’t do it for them. Though the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the core of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, it ruled that the federal government couldn’t force states to expand health care for the poor by threatening to take away other Medicaid funding.

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Business community digs deep for Pierce’s PAC

As noted last month, Pierce’s Senate Republican PAC is flush with cash heading into the summer. The committee has nearly $157,000 on hand and raised almost $168,000, thanks largely to the president’s outreach to the business community – and, presumably, his commitment to focusing his chamber’s efforts on pro-business legislation, not immigration.

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Rio Nuevo shakeup fosters conspiracy theories

Word broke Tuesday that Pierce ousted two members of the Rio Nuevo board, including its chairwoman. Letters dated May 31 were sent to Chairwoman Jodi Bain and fellow board member Rick Grinnell. The three-sentence letters merely thank them for their service and say that Pierce intends to appoint new members to the panel, but do not give a reason.

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Steve Pierce: Keeping GOP out of the news was biggest challenge (access required)

Extraordinary events put Steve Pierce at the helm of the Arizona Senate — and those same events made the job of leading the chamber, which is already difficult by itself, even more challenging.

The Prescott rancher was elected as Senate president following the ouster of Russell Pearce, who lost a November recall election to a rival Republican. While some of Pearce’s colleagues had no love lost for the former senator, others remained loyal to him.

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GOP lawmakers approve $8.6B spending plan (updated) (access required)

Republican leaders quickly consolidated support behind an $8.6 billion budget plan and gave it final approval today, less than a week after finally reaching a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer.

The spending plan is a product of a session-long negotiation between Brewer and legislative leaders, and the give-and-take between the two sides is palpable throughout the budget document.

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