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Author Archives: Ben Giles

Senate panel advances spending bills, including $6.86 million for child welfare (access required)

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The bulk of the funding, $6.86 million, would be used to hire caseworkers and other child welfare aids in an effort to resolve the backlog of 6,554 cases that went uninvestigated by Child Protective Service, a gross oversight that caused Gov. Jan Brewer to abolish the agency at the outset of the 2014 Legislative Session in favor of a new department that reports directly to the Ninth Floor.

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Biggs looks ahead to a calmer legislative session (access required)

Senate President Andy Biggs (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Having been rolled by Gov. Jan Brewer and a coalition of Democrats and Republicans who voted for Medicaid expansion in 2013, Senate President Andy Biggs looks ahead for a hopefully calmer legislative session in 2014, one that will allow the president to take a larger role in budget negotiations and the course of the Senate than during his first year as the head of the chamber.

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Tovar’s challenge: Uniting a divided Democratic caucus (access required)

Senate Minority Leader Anna Tovar (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Sen. Anna Tovar enters her first session as minority leader, having ousted Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor from the post during the interim. Tovar is tasked with uniting a now divided Democratic Caucus – some lawmakers are still bitter over Landrum Taylor’s ouster – and continuing to make Democrats’ presence felt at the Capitol, perhaps as an ongoing part of a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans.

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