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Howard Fischer, for the Miner

Stories by Howard

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Indictment could lead to appointment vs. election for corporate commission

The head of the Arizona Corporation Commission says the indictment of a former member on bribery charges may make the case for appointing utility regulators instead of electing them.

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Arizona prisons illegally read inmate mail, 9th Circuit rules

For the second time in three years, a federal appeals court has declared illegal the methods used by state prison officials to check mail sent to their attorneys.

Petition started to fight vouchers for all Arizona students

Arizona voters may get the last word on making vouchers available to all students.

Effort to halt citizen initiative changes takes shape

Two former politicians are moving to overturn the decision by the Republican-controlled legislature to make it more difficult for voters to propose their own laws.

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Old corporate tax cuts weigh heavy in AZ budget

The $9.82 billion state budget is being billed by Republican lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey as the best outcome given the money the state has to spend.

Legislature moves to defund Planned Parenthood

Republican legislative leaders are using a provision buried in the state budget in their latest attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

State awards first loan guarantees to privately owned charter schools

The state has awarded the first two loan guarantees to privately owned charter schools in a program that has raised questions about its legality.

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State’s new drivers will have texting law to contend with in 2018

Saying sometimes parental admonitions are not always enough, Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Thursday that will make it illegal for the state’s newest drivers to use their cell phones by behind the wheel.

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State bill affecting local gun sales passes House

State lawmakers are making yet another bid to keep cities from requiring background checks when guns are sold from one person to another.

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House OKs county billboard legislation, goes back to Senate

The state House voted Thursday to open areas of Mohave County to electronic billboards.

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Gov. Ducey’s signature all that’s left to boost civil forfeiture links to crime

Gov. Doug Ducey is going to get the last word on whether Arizona tightens up the ability of police and prosecutors to seize property.

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Proposed riot racketeering law fizzles

Legislation to expand the state’s racketeering and conspiracy statutes to include rioting is dead, at least for this year.

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Arizona legislators talking about longer terms

Saying it will lead to greater continuity, more stability and less campaigning, the president of the Arizona Senate wants four-year terms for state lawmakers.

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Gas tax moving forward in state legislature

State lawmakers took the first steps Wednesday to asking voters to hike what they pay every time they fill up their cars and trucks.

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Sales tax exemption bill attracts bipartisan support

State lawmakers took the first steps Wednesday to potentially eliminating exemptions from sales taxes that now cost the state more than $12 billion a year.

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Lawmakers target teen drivers, texting

State lawmakers are moving to keep cell phones out of the hands of the newest drivers while behind the wheel.

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State lawmaker wants to keep most students from voting

When Rep. Bob Thorpe ran for re-election in November, the areas in around the Northern Arizona University campus were among his lowest vote tallies.

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State of the State: Ducey promises more money for education

Gov. Doug Ducey promised today to put more money into public education than legally required.

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Obamacare quick repeal may harm Arizonans, Ducey says

Saying he fears harm to Arizonans, Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday urged Congress to not rush repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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Arizona Corporation Commission swears in new members amidst controversies

State utility regulators swore in a new member Tuesday and elected a new chairman amid controversies that could mean open warfare on the panel.

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Ducey vows to fight Obama’s potential monument designation

Gov. Doug Ducey is threatening legal action if President Obama sets aside 1.7 million acres of public lands in Arizona for a new Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.

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Prosecutors need proof medical marijuana users actually impaired for DUIs

Medical marijuana users cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence of the drug absent proof that they were actually impaired, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

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Ducey’s bid to delay immigrant licenses case denied

A federal judge has rebuffed efforts by the Ducey administration to put off until Donald Trump takes office a challenge to its policy of denying to a driver’s licenses to some the Obama administration has said can remain here.

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State lawmaker proposes making flag theft a felony

Saying the American flag is a special symbol, a Republican lawmaker wants to make it automatically a felony to steal one that is on display.

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Task force proposes more funds for school

A special task force is recommending higher teacher pay, more money for schools with a high number of students in poverty and a more “predictable and equitable’’ funding system among schools. And no ideas on how to finance any of that.

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Former AG Horne won’t face criminal charges

But that doesn’t mean he’s free and clear of other election-related allegations of impropriety

Former Attorney General Tom Horne won’t face criminal charges in connection with his alleged use of state employees in his unsuccessful 2014 re-election campaign.

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Study: Medical marijuana sales expected to double next 4 years

he amount of money spent on medical marijuana in the next four years will nearly double according to a new study – assuming the Trump administration doesn’t step in.

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Economist: Arizona economy on track for solid 2017 growth

Arizona should see continued job growth and a lower unemployment rate this coming year according to two economists.

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Douglas wants $680 million more for schools

State schools chief Diane Douglas wants an immediate boost in state aid to schools plus additional dollars to attract and retain teachers.

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Ducey fires controversial Economic Security director

The embattled director of the state Department of Economic Security is out. Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday fired Tim Jeffries on the heels of reports that he had flown to Nogales on a state plane to take several staffers out drinking at a Nogales restaurant during business hours.

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Legal pot advocates will try again in 2018

If at first you don’t succeed...

Less than a month after voters rejected allowing marijuana for recreational use, there’s a new – and scaled back – proposal emerging for the 2018 ballot.

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Ducey reaches deal with tribes to limit gaming to existing reservations

Gov. Doug Ducey agreed Monday to allow full-scale gambling at the Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale in exchange for a promise the tribe won’t seek additional gaming sites in the Phoenix area.

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If Obamacare repealed, 400,000 Arizonans lose coverage

‘We want to see all of our citizens have access to affordable health care’ says Gov. Doug Ducey

Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday he does not want the new president and Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act unless and until they come up with a replacement that protects Arizonans.

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Brewer faints, misses Trump’s post-election speech

Ex-governor was one of his most loyal surrogates during campaign

When Donald Trump was giving his victory speech, cheerleader Jan Brewer was in a hospital emergency room, straining to watch what was happening on the TV on the wall.

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After loss, Ward sets sights on Flake

Undeterred by her 11-point GOP primary loss just two months ago to John McCain, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, is planning another run for U.S. Senate, this time aiming to unseat fellow Republican Jeff Flake.

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Pinnacle West pours $1 million into ACC race

Arizona’s largest electric utility hopes funds will help elect Republicans to panel

Fearful of how Democrats would view its rate hike proposals, the parent company of the state’s largest electric utility is putting at least $1 million into a campaign to ensure the Arizona Corporation Commission remains an all-Republican panel.

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Prices will go up with minimum wage hike

If Arizonans approve a hike in the minimum wage, be prepared to pay an extra 30 cents for that $5 burger, fries and soda at your favorite fast-food restaurant.

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Money from solar company could make or break Corporation Commission race

A major manufacturer of rooftop solar units is putting $140,000 into the effort to reelect Republican Bob Burns and elect Democrat Bill Mundell to the Arizona Corporation Commission.

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Kirkpatrick, McCain spar over Clinton, Trump

Incumbent John McCain found himself on the defensive Monday over the fact it took months for him to conclude that Donald Trump is not fit to be president.

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Legal marijuana foes fund opposition to ballot question

Foes of legalized marijuana are amassing a huge amount of cash in a last-minute bid to quash the measure.

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No money to fight minimum wage hike question

Early voting starts Wednesday

Just days before early ballots go out – Wednesday – foes of a higher minimum wage finally have some money to spend on the campaign.

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Lawsuit seeks to protect imperiled ocelot

The endangered ocelot has found a couple of friends in federal court.

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Limited resources vex Child Safety

The kids are not alright

Inadequate reports and failure to attend some hearings by the Department of Child Safety may be delaying some Arizona children getting permanent placement according to a new report on the agency.

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Ducey has indentified doomed state agencies, regulations

Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday he already is preparing a shopping list of state regulations and state agencies he wants to kill.

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Lower grocery prices ease grief at the grocery store

Bringing home the bacon costs more, but most everything else is less

That debate over the chicken or the egg is about to hit dinner tables.

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Abortions are down in Arizona, but why is debatable

Mohave, Yuma counties have lower rate than other counties compared to live births

Arizona had fewer abortions last year than since the state began its current method of keeping track.

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Firm that collected signatures for minimum wage sues ballot question’s backers


The private firm that collected signatures to put Proposition 206 on the November ballot is claiming it did not get paid all it is owned.

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Firm that collected signatures for minimum wage sues question’s backers

Company claims it's owed $65,000

The private firm that collected signatures to put Proposition 206 on the November ballot is claiming it did not get paid all it is owned.

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State Supreme Court: Police can charge parents with child molesting

The accused must prove 'no sexual intent'

The chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court is openly worrying that a new ruling will let police charge parents with child molesting for changing a baby’s diaper.

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Minimum wage will go up regardless of voters' preference, if only by a dime

Arizona’s minimum wage workers are going to get at least a dime-an-hour raise in January, no matter what voters decide at the ballot.