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Howard Fischer, for the Miner

Stories by Howard

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Ducey to refuse debate with primary challenger

Gov. Doug Ducey won’t debate his Republican foe, with an aide calling Ken Bennett a “fringe’’ candidate despite the fact he was elected secretary of state in 2010. But he will have to face him in August, at least on the ballot, if not on TV.

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Gov. Ducey keeps National Guard at border

Gov. Doug Ducey won’t withdraw National Guard troops from the border even though he objects to President Trump’s policy of separating children from their families.

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Gov. Ducey’s campaign about ‘what’s next’

In formally launching his reelection bid, the governor touted what he said is the turnaround of the state’s financial fortune.

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Judge: Ousted Arizona lawmaker can run for state Senate

Don Shooter is a resident of Yuma and is legally qualified to make a bid for a political comeback to be a senator from the legislative district that he has represented before, a judge ruled Friday.

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Attorney asks for Gosar Facebook suit to be tossed out

A congressional attorney is asking a federal judge here to toss out a lawsuit demanding that Rep. Paul Gosar be barred from blocking them – or anyone – from his Facebook page. Thomas Hungar, the general counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, contends that the two people who filed suit have no legal standing.

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Unemployment dips on strength of construction jobs

Arizona’s jobless rate dropped two tenths of a point to 4.7 percent last month, driven in large part by an unusually strong showing in the state’s construction industry.

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Calls begin for Prescott lawmaker who used racist language to resign

Citing his comments on immigrants and immigration, the head of the Arizona Republican Party is calling on Rep. David Stringer to resign.

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Prescott lawmaker has choice words on race, immigration

Republican Rep. David Stringer said that new immigrants – especially those from non-European countries – do not assimilate as easily as those who came a century earlier.

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Attorneys try to discredit key witness in Corporation Commission bribery case

Kelly Norton acknowledged that she never reported to the Internal Revenue Service the $6,000 a month she was paid over nine months in 2011 and 2012 by utility company owner George Johnson for political consulting work.

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Gov. Ducey not in favor of Equal Rights Amendment

Technically speaking, Ducey has no say: Ratification is subject only to state House and Senate approval.

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Lawsuit seeks to disqualify Kirkpatrick

Legal papers filed Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court charges that Kirkpatrick lied in filing certain nominating papers listing her address as an apartment in Tucson.

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Critical email could determine corporation commission case

In a Dec. 29, 2011 email, Pierce tells Jim Norton, who was lobbying for Johnson, he is hoping the bank, which owned the property, would take $300,000 for the property.

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Critical distinctions for voter-approved ballot measures

Several organizations are asking the Arizona Supreme Court to void a law they say will make it more difficult for groups like theirs to put initiatives on the ballot. But they have to get the justices to let them sue in the first place.

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Lawsuit claims expelled lawmaker can’t run for office

A Republican contender for state Senate is trying to short-circuit a bid by ousted Rep. Don Shooter to get back into the Legislature. In legal papers filed here Friday, Brent Backus contends that Shooter, going after the same seat, isn’t legally eligible to run.

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Hundreds of aging school buses to be replaced in Arizona

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Friday what he intends to use more than half of the $59 million the state is getting as its share of a nationwide settlement with Volkswagen to replace buses that are at least 15 years old and have more than 100,000 miles on them.

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Appeals Court: Business can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation

The state Court of Appeals has rejected arguments by owners of a Phoenix business that a city ordinance that bars them from refusing to design wedding invitation for same-sex couples violates their constitutional and religious rights

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Outlaw of ‘dark money’ gains support from Republicans

Republican Vernon Parker said Wednesday he supports an initiative to outlaw “dark money’’ in political campaigns because he knows what it’s like to be the victim of it.

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Tax on top 1 percent could generate education dollars

Organizers of a ballot measure to generate $690 million a year for education are defending their plan to have all of that new money paid by what essentially would be the top 1 percent of Arizona wage earners.

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SCOTUS decision has limited impact on Arizona laws

Less clear is whether anything the Supreme Court said on Monday will undermine efforts to enforce those laws or affect a case pending on that issue right now before the Arizona Court of Appeals.

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Bennett doubles down, would not appoint Cindy McCain to Senate

In an email Friday, the former secretary of state doubled down on his earlier vow not to appoint Cindy McCain to fill any vacancy.

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State officials agree to remove hurdles for voter registration

But the deal, which ends a lawsuit filed last year, still leaves intact laws which say that those who cannot provide citizenship proof are unable to vote in elections to choose statewide, legislative and local officials.

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Don Shooter to seek state Senate seat

Insisting his constituents still want his services, ousted state Rep. Don Shooter filed the paperwork Wednesday to get back in the Legislature

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ACC bribery trial includes angry ex-wife

Defense attorneys in the Arizona Corporation Commission bribery and fraud trial told jurors Thursday the case against their clients is based on a sloppy FBI investigation and an ex-wife who has a motive to lie.

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Gov. Ducey has competition this election

The other high-profile contest is the one to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake.

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Controversial science: Gov. Doug Ducey says evolution should remain part of science standards, despite Diane Douglas’ proposal

In the 2,233 responses made before the system crashed, there were more than 700 references to evolution, though some were duplicate. And while the vast majority were critical of what Douglas was proposing, there were exceptions.

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Victims of crime have no legal right to being referred to as ‘victim’

In a split ruling the judges acknowledged the Arizona Constitution spells out the rights of crime victims throughout criminal proceedings. And the court said they are legally entitled “to be treated with respect and dignity.’’

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Despite voters decision, state cannot deny accused rapists bail

In a 4-3 decision, the justices overturned a 2002 voter approved state constitutional amendment which said bail must be denied when someone is accused of certain sexual offenses.

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Statewide survey shows Arizonans in favor of sports betting

A new statewide survey Thursday by First Strategic finds 51.5 percent of the 703 people questioned by telephone said they are likely to support legalized sports wagering

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Judge: Domestic partners don’t get death benefits

Heterosexual couples that always have had the right to marry in Arizona are not entitled to the same benefits that the state provided to gay couples who were not at the time entitled to wed, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

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Medical marijuana OK to possess on college campuses

The justices said the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act gave those who have certain medical conditions permission to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

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State wants to deny contracts to firms that boycott Israel

Ensign argued, however, the measure is, at its heart, a law against discrimination.

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State education superintendent has evolution on her hit list

Superintendent of Public Instruction is proposing to eliminate requirements that students be able to evaluate how inherited traits in a population can lead to evolution. Replacing that last word would be "biological diversity.''

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Sidewalk delivery robots are on the way

Coming soon to a sidewalk near you: 200 pound autonomous delivery robots. Without comment, Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation on Wednesday authorizing these devices to use sidewalks.

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Lawmakers attempting to bring Gov. Ducey back to the gun laws table

Democrat lawmakers are using Friday’s school shooting in Texas in a bid to get Gov. Doug Ducey to call lawmakers into special session to adopt new gun laws.

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Unemployed must accept job in 4 weeks or lose benefits

Arizonans who don’t take pretty much any job after being out of work for at least four weeks will lose their unemployment benefits.

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Gov. Doug Ducey talks sports betting in Arizona

The governor said Tuesday he wants to “maintain the culture and flavor of our state’’ in deciding who should get the right to offer wagering on professional and amateur sports.

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Ballot measure could take away parts of Clean Elections Act

In a new lawsuit, Louis Hoffman contends the referendum put on the November ballot by GOP lawmakers asks voters to make two changes to the law on public financing of political campaigns.

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Sports betting now allowed in all states, Supreme Court rules

In a 6-3 decision the justices struck down a 1992 federal law which dictated that most states cannot allow such wagering.

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Arizona company fined, banned for illegal telemarketing calls

The owners of Desert Valley Aire Inc. have agreed to $340,000 in civil fines to end a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office. The company, which has offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott, admitted to making at least 25,000 illegal telemarketing calls from 2011 to 2015.

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Arizona Supreme Court decides companies have no liability for ‘take-home’ asbestos

Arizona companies have no duty to protect family members from exposure to toxic materials their employees bring home on their work clothes, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Friday.

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Politics intervened in Gov. Ducey’s school safety plan

Even before Ducey could get his proposal printed up, the governor had to jettison some key provisions because of GOP criticism.

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Judge upholds bringing ballots to polls for others a felony

Rayes also rebuffed a bid by challengers to force counties to count the votes of those who cast their ballots at the wrong polling place.

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Initiatives must be within strict compliance of election laws

A state law throwing new hurdles in the path of initiative circulators will remain, at least for now

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Arizona AG tells Sedona to stop licensing vacation rentals

In a formal opinion, O.H. Skinner, the agency’s chief of the government accountability and special litigation unit, said a 2016 state law specifically trimmed the authority of local governments to regulate operations like Airbnb and other home sharing services.

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Gov. Ducey doesn’t want to raise taxes to finance education

The governor said he wants to know more about the ballot measure being pushed by teachers and education advocates

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School vouchers to be decided by voters

It looks like voters are going to get the last word on whether they want more tax dollars used to send children to private and parochial schools.

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Marijuana testing bill fell short Thursday, did not resurface

SB 1420, which would have required the Department of Agriculture to set up a testing scheme, fell short of the necessary votes Thursday for approval. It is not expected to resurface this session.

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Volkswagen settles Arizona lawsuit for $40M

Volkswagen will be shelling out $40 million to settle charges that it defrauded Arizona residents by selling them vehicles billed as clean-burning diesel, something they were not.

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Legislative session ends with a mixed bag of results

Oh, sure, there were a few outstanding successes, like coming up with a comprehensive plan to deal with opioid abuse from all angles. And even the vote to give teachers a 19 percent pay hike probably rates an A even though educators wanted far more, like restoring state aid to at least 2008 levels.

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Budget deal passed; teachers get raise

Republican lawmakers pushed through their $10.4 billion spending plan early Thursday after rejecting multiple attempts by Democrats to add more money to the budget for public education.