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Wild West moments of 2012 (access required)

Wild West moments of 2012 <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

While the mood at the state Capitol this past year might be best described as riotous, 2012 — the Chinese Year of the Dragon — was marked with fewer gaffes, catfights and over-the-top name calling among Arizona’s political elite.

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Budget doc reveals money stashed for ‘rainy days’ ahead

Lawmakers and the governor plan to set aside $450 million to offset anticipated deficits in the state budget in two years.

That’s money that won’t be available for critical needs now, but depositing it in the state’s “rainy day” fund reaffirms a fiscally conservative outlook that has dominated the Capitol following the fiscal crisis that led to several years of incessant budget slashing.

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Militia bill cruising, but objections are many

Sen. Sylvia Allen says she’s sick and tired of excuses when it comes to solving the illegal immigration problem. “Everybody just wants to sit around and gripe about it, complain about it, blame the federal government for it,” Allen said. “But when it comes to saying, ‘What can we do as a state to really try to solve the problem?’ Now it’s all the reasons why we can’t solve this problem.”

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Border Bound: Immigration hawks take battle south — push for fence, militia

During the past several years, the Republican-led Legislature has passed some of the county’s toughest laws aimed at driving illegal immigrants from the state and deterring them from entering it. For the most part, those laws have focused on enforcement within the state’s boundaries.

Now the strategy has shifted, and immigration hawks in the Legislature are taking their fight directly to the border.

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Arizona lawmakers advance states’ rights bills

Arizona legislators are pushing back against the federal government on a host of issues this session by advancing legislation that seeks a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service, sets up a committee to review all federal mandates and requires federal law enforcement officers to notify local sheriffs before taking action.

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