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Author Archives: Jim Small

Arizona’s tough-on-crime stance costs big bucks (access required)

Crime in Arizona has dramatically declined this decade, but the number of Arizonans in prison continues to climb and has grown by nearly 50 percent since 2002, thanks in part to the creation of new crimes and tougher sentencing guidelines. Supporters of the tough-on-crime approach say the figures show that the laws are doing what is intended: making Arizona safer by keeping dangerous criminals behind bars. But critics say that idea defies research and the state can't afford to continue the trajectory, especially in a time of fiscal crisis.

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House communications director steps down

The top press aide for the House Republican caucus has announced she will resign at the end of this week. Becky Blackburn spent less than a year as communications director for the House of Representatives. In an e-mail to House majority members, staff and the media, she announced Dec. 4 would be her final day.

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Judge sets date for SRP records hearing

Salt River Project and a pair of Arizona municipalities will face off in court over a public records dispute in February. A Maricopa County judge on Dec. 2 set a hearing date of Feb. 17. The two sides will debate whether the quasi-governmental utility company is subject to the state's public records law. Prescott and Prescott Valley have filed two public records requests with SRP, and the utility has refused to turn over the documents.

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UpClose with House Chief Clerk Norman Moore (access required)

When House Speaker Kirk Adams banged the gavel at 3:33 p.m. on Nov. 23 and closed the fourth special session of the 49th Legislature, he also may have brought the end of the final floor session for Norman Moore. Moore has served as chief clerk in the House of Representatives since 1992, when his predecessor Jane Richards retired. The chief clerk is responsible for supervising the bill process and floor proceedings.

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SRP fighting to keep records private (access required)

The nation's third-largest public power utility and one of the state's largest water suppliers avoided a ruling earlier this year that would have determined whether it was subject to Arizona public records law. But now the Salt River Project is again bracing against claims that its quasi-governmental status requires it to maintain and provide access to documents.

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Barnes’ comments take a turn for the weird

While the Senate barely said a word about the budget bills, the House spent more than an hour debating their merits when they came up for a vote Nov. 23. It was a strikingly partisan debate on spending cuts to education and social services. At times it was adversarial. At other times it was just strange.

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