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Gowan to members: Let’s talk, shall we?

House leadership is setting up meetings with rank-and-file members in the next couple of days to brief them about the K-12 inflation lawsuit after settlement talks fell apart, and to get input from members about a Biggs-Gowan proposal to allocate $5 billion to K-12 schools over 10 years.

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Better call Saul Tom

Attorney Tom Ryan is officially seeking the removal of Commissioner Bitter Smith from office. Today, the lawyer filed a complaint with Brnovich’s office, alleging that Bitter Smith was not qualified to run for office because of a conflict of interest: She works as a lobbyist for the telecommunications industry, which the commission oversees.

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Brownstein will close by the end of the year

Lobbyist Janna Day, managing partner of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Phoenix office, told our reporter today (Sept. 1) that the firm decided to shutter its operations in the Valley because it was unable to build the kind of legal practice it wanted around some of its core areas, such as natural resources and real estate law.

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Strings definitely attached

Borrelli’s op-ed in today’s Republic (Aug. 31) shows that conservatives aren’t in lock-step on the idea of how best to resolve the K-12 funding lawsuit. Borrelli wrote that it’s time to resolve the lawsuit by “funding for our education system with true education dollars,” and said he will propose legislation to hike funding for schools by a total of $336 million annually.

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DeMenna DUI, drug use makes front page

The Republic this morning (Aug. 28) wrote more than 2,600 words in a front-page story about lobbyist Kevin DeMenna’s October 2014 DUI arrest and subsequent plea deal and sentencing. Though investigative reporter Robert Anglen never accused him of seeking and receiving special treatment, it was heavily implied throughout the story.

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No one wants to be stuck with that tab

After good faith efforts to reach a settlement in the K-12 inflation funding lawsuit failed, the state faces two options: Fight the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court or accede to the trial court’s order to reset the inflation funding level to what it would have been if the money hadn’t been withheld from schools during the years of recession.

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AHCCCS wins round 1 in expansion fight

In his ruling this morning upholding the Medicaid expansion, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach wrote that the 36 GOP legislators challenging the measure failed both to prove that the hospital assessment was a tax instead of a fee and that it didn’t meet the exemptions laid out in Prop 108.

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Bitter Smith under fire for lobbying ties

Several lawyers and former commissioners are calling out Corp Comm chairwoman Bitter Smith for her ties to a cable industry trade group, and one attorney is considering filing a complaint with the AG to have her be removed from office because of conflict of interest, KJZZ’s Kristena Hansen reported today (Aug. 24).

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