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Fiscal crisis past, Legislature still to be frugal in 2013

With a fiscal crisis that forced billions of dollars in state government cuts mainly over, the Arizona Legislature enters its 2013 session Monday with a budget surplus but little appetite among majority Republicans to loosen the purse strings. The state has socked away about $450 million in a rainy day fund and has more than $1 billion in total surplus going into the budget year that begins July 1.

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Campbell offers comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence (access required)

Arizona House of Representatives Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, speaks as he offers a plan to push a $100 million school and community safety plan that would triple funding for school resource officers, add money for mental health treatment and require background checks on all buyers at gun shows, at the Arizona Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, Phoenix.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell’s ideas for preventing a mass school shooting in Arizona include more cops in schools, more money pumped into the public-health system and stricter gun laws.

With a school resource officer and an award winning school counselor to help him make his case at a Jan. 9 press conference, Campbell said the cost of his 12-point plan would be $261 million. That would come from cutting a prized school-choice program favored by Republicans - the School Tuition Organization tax credit – as well as changes to tax laws and money from a $676 million budget surplus.

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Wild West moments of 2012 (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer and President Barack Obama (AP photo)

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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AG’s Office, sheriffs to provide firearms training to school personnel (access required)

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne attends the official election canvass approval signing at the Historic Senate Chambers at the Capitol, Monday Dec. 3, 2012, in Phoenix. Horne is being investigated by the State Bar over allegations stemming from an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

In the wake of the massacre that left 20 children dead at a Connecticut elementary school, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office wants to provide firearms training to one employee at every school.

Under the plan, which Attorney General Tom Horne announced today, every K-12 school in the state can designate its principal or another employee to receive extensive training to in firearms use and emergency response.

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