Nov 23, 2009

Will legislative PACs be used to corral votes?

A pair of political committees created by top legislative Republicans will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend in next year's elections, which is causing some to wonder if it's appropriate for them to wield that kind of power.

Nov 20, 2009

Verschoor breaks silence, explains why he skipped out

Sen. Thayer Verschoor broke his silence Nov. 20, saying he skipped the third day of the Legislature’s special session because he was still trying to negotiate a deal on the package of legislation with the House and the governor.

Nov 20, 2009

Lawmakers consider seeking exemption from stimulus requirements

Standing between lawmakers and millions of dollars in budget cuts to education are three letters - M-O-E. Since Arizona started drawing federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, some lawmakers have decried the maintenance-of-effort, or MOE, requirements for portions of the money.

Nov 19, 2009

Budget bill fails in Senate; Verschoor AWOL

The Senate has hit a major snag and has failed to pass the main budget measure that is part of a package that partially fixes a $2-billion deficit, and it has adjourned until Nov. 23. The bill went down by a vote of 14-13. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray voted "no" so he could bring the vote up for reconsideration later. All the Democrats voted "no" on the bill. So did Sen. Ron Gould, a[...]

Nov 19, 2009

State borrows $700M; first external loan since Great Depression

The State Loan Commission has approved a $700 million line of credit from Bank of America, marking the first external borrowing the state has done since the Great Depression. State Treasurer Dean Martin said his office will finalize the agreement with Bank of America next week and will begin issuing treasurer's warrants by the end of November.

Nov 19, 2009

House panel approves budget-fix bills

A House panel followed the Senate's lead, quickly approving a series of budget bills aimed at chipping away at the state's massive deficit. The bills include $300 million in cuts to social programs and state aid for education.

Nov 18, 2009

Foreclosure law on track for repeal – again

It's back to square one for the Arizona Bankers Association. A tenuous deal to alter Arizona laws that govern home foreclosures was struck down by lawmakers on Nov. 18 after objections were raised by the homebuilding industry. The agreement had been struck by the Bankers Association and the Arizona Association of Realtors.

Nov 18, 2009

Pearce offers amendment, then pulls it back

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Nov. 18, Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican from Mesa who chairs the committee, offered an amendment that would have dictated how Pima and Maricopa counties would have to pay $22 million to the state.

Nov 18, 2009

Senate approves bills in debate, final vote expected today

In almost staccato fashion, senators approved a package of bills to reduce state spending by about $300 million on Nov. 18 - first in committee and then on the floor. Senators attempted several amendments, both in committee and during Committee of the Whole.

Nov 18, 2009

Brewer out of town for special session

Gov. Jan Brewer is on the road, just as lawmakers are convening for their fourth special session. Brewer left town this morning (Nov. 18) for a scheduled trip to Austin, Texas, where she will attend the 2009 conference of the Republican Governors Association. Spokeswoman Kim Sabow said the governor plans to attend both days of the conference, but will return to Arizona on Nov. 19.

Nov 18, 2009

Senate Appropriations panel approves bills

The budget fix to eliminate a portion of the state's $2 billion deficit is moving through Senate committees while the House is on hold until Nov. 19. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four bills after a relatively short deliberation on Nov. 18. Some of the bills received bipartisan support.

Nov 18, 2009

Senate Dems want tribal school districts to tap impact aid

Senate Democrats are pushing to give schools on American Indian reservations the ability to access federal impact aid money to make up for state budget cuts to schools. A handful of Senate Democrats want the schools to have permission to use the federal money in fiscal 2010 to essentially maintain the funding levels that were […]