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Howard Fischer, for the Miner

Stories by Howard

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Arizona loses jobs, but unemployment rate drops to 4.6 percent

Mohave County's unemployment rate drops to 5.6 percent in July with total employment of 81,300, according to the Office of Economic Opportunity.

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Gov. Ducey doubles down on school gun safety plan

Gov. Doug Ducey is doubling down on his push for a law to let judges take guns from some people considered "dangerous'' even though it was that provision that killed pretty much his entire school safety plan earlier this year.

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Judge rules tax on rich for education good for ballot

In an extensive ruling Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith acknowledged that, strictly speaking, hiking the top income tax rate from 4.54 percent to 8 percent for those earning more than $250,000 a year actually increases the tax rate on those earnings by 76 percent.

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Statewide poll shows McSally extending senatorial lead

A new statewide poll suggests that all the money being spent on behalf of Martha McSally on TV commercials to become the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate has been paying off.

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Invest in Ed initiative could be hanging on difference between ‘percent’ and ‘percentage point’

The question of whether Arizonans get to vote on a tax hike on the wealthy to raise $690 million a year for education could depend on what a judge thinks of a math teacher's explanation of the difference between "percent" and "percentage point.''

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Ducey claims success in opioid battle

Gov. Doug Ducey is claiming progress on getting the opioid crisis under control even as the rate of overdoses shows no sign of abating.

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Shooter’s demands for documents met with resistance

The attorneys who handled the sex harassment investigation that resulted in the ouster of Rep. Don Shooter are balking at his bid to get the full report and all the documents used to prepare it.

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Is there a right to deliver someone else’s ballot?

Attorneys for a Democrat activist told a federal judge Friday there is a legal and constitutional right for her and others to deliver someone else’s ballot to polling places.

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Pot fund keeps growing, other uses for dollars – except lowering fees – being sought

State lawmakers are free to use fees paid by medical marijuana patients to operate programs to help get people off of other drugs

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Appeals court: No immunity for agent in cross-border killing

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday the mother of a teen shot by a Border Patrol agent through the fence has a legal right to sue him

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Ducey doesn’t think press is ‘enemy of the people’

He said it isn’t always a smooth relationship

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Organizers fighting in court for #InvestInEd ballot measure

Saying voters are purposely being misled, organizers of the #InvestInEd initiative asked a judge Friday to force lawmakers to recraft the description of the measure that will go to voters.

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Ducey won’t debate Bennett for Republican governor nomination; what if they did debate?

On one hand, challenger Ken Bennett says that, as Senate president, he put together a budget that cut individual income tax rates by 10 percent. Yet incumbent Doug Ducey, while vowing when first elected to cut income tax rates to "as close to zero as possible,'' has been unable to move the needle.

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ACLU drops Morgaine v. Gosar lawsuit

Congressman says he won't block constituents on his Facebook page

The American Civil Liberties Union has dropped its lawsuit against Congressman Paul Gosar, saying it now has assurances that constituents won't be blocked from posting comments on his Facebook page he does not like

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Democrat gubernatorials debate, brush off Ducey assertions that all is great

The three Democrat gubernatorial hopefuls worked Thursday night to refute Doug Ducey's narrative that job and population growth shows what a great job he is doing

500,000 jobs expected to be added in Arizona by 2026

State economists predict Arizona will add 542,975 new jobs by 2026. But one out of every eight of them will be in preparing and serving food.

Judge sides with commission in takeover of utilities company

A federal judge rebuffed a bid by the family trust that owns Johnson Utilities to block state utility regulators from taking control of the water and sewage company.

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Democrat candidates for governor debate border security, education and revenue collection

Kelly Fryer lashed out at her Democrat gubernatorial foes Tuesday for talking about ways to improve border security rather than dealing with the issue of immigration as a humanitarian problem.

Attorney for border patrol agent who killed teen argues against retrial

The attorney for a Border Patrol agent who killed a teen by firing through the fence contends his client can't be retried after a jury deadlocked on the question of whether he is guilty of manslaughter

Judge: Voters can't be blocked on renewable energy initiative

Arizonans can't be blocked from voting on a renewable energy proposal solely because organizers may have violated some state election laws, a judge ruled Tuesday.

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Attorney: Toss clean energy initiative due to no sponsoring organizaton

The attorney for the state’s largest utility said Monday that Arizonans should be precluded from voting on a renewable energy mandate.

Arizona schools continue to rank low according to new study from WalletHub

Arizona schools are near the bottom of the barrel nationally when academics, class size and even student bullying are considered, at least according to a financial advice web site.

Judge orders changes made to clean elections initiative

A judge on Monday ordered lawmakers to provide voters with a bit more information on the changes they want voters to make in the operation of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

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New Arizona laws in effect starting Friday

Come this Friday, women who want an abortion will be asked new questions, consumers can have their credit frozen for free, Grade A eggs can stay on the shelf longer, and 15-year-olds won’t be able to legally marry. There also will be new limits on the ability of cities to require public disclosure of campaign donations. And judges will be deciding who gets frozen embryos following a divorce based on who wants to actually use them.

Judge getting ready to rule on Clean Elections ballot wording

A claim that lawmakers are giving voters a flawed explanation of a measure on the November ballot drew a skeptical reaction Friday from the judge hearing the case.

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State forcing unemployment collectors to take any job raises legal questions

Federal labor officials are raising legal questions about a new Arizona law designed to effectively force people collecting unemployment insurance back to work.

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Legislature decides not to let voters know of missed revenue

A Republican-dominated legislative committee decided Wednesday that voters don’t need to be told that if they approve a business-backed tax-limiting measure the state could be foregoing more than $5.2 billion a year in revenues.

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Governor’s call to repeal legislative immunity met with resistance

Ducey directed Department of Public Safety officers under his control to consider criminal speeding – anything 20 miles over the limit – to be a “breach of the peace’’ which is not covered by the constitutional protection.

Taxing the wealthy is a numbers game

A new lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry contends the petitions circulated by the #InvestInEd committee are “objectively false and misleading.”

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APS claims nearly 500,000 signatures invalid on clean energy initiative

The question of whether voters get to decide on a new renewable energy mandate for utilities could turn, in part, on how many petition signatures a judge lets Arizona Public Service challenge.

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Mohave County unemployment rises to 5.7 percent

Continued strong growth in the construction industry helped keep the state’s jobless rate from dropping last month. New figures from the Office of Economic Opportunity pegged the seasonally adjusted June unemployment rate at 4.7 percent. That’s the same as May and just a tenth of a point below a year earlier.

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Judge declares mistrial in Corporation Commission bribery case

A federal judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the Arizona Corporation Commission bribery case.

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Candidate campaign funds released in finance report

New finance report show Ducey’s donations total $4.16 million. That includes another nearly $791,000 he raised in the most recent three months.

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Arizona Public Service trying to keep voters from approving renewable energy initiative

New campaign finance reports show Pinnacle West Capital Corp., the parent company of Arizona Public Service, has put $7.53 million in its bid to keep voters from approving a ballot measure which would require half of all power generated in the state come from renewable sources by 2030.

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Tax hike for education could have income tax break

An initiative proposing to pay for education improvements by hiking taxes on only the most wealthy also appears to remove a small income tax break available to those with fewer financial resources who are just trying to keep their income even with inflation.

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Voters asked to amend Citizens Clean Elections Act

A judge will decide whether lawmakers have an absolute right to ask voters to approve two changes in law in a single act, even if they may only want one of them and not the other.

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Law firm: Businesses have constitutional right to refuse to sell to LGBT people

A Christian law firm is making a last-ditch effort to convince the state’s high court that businesses – at least some of them – have a constitutional right to refuse to sell their services and products to gays.

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November ballot to include renewable energy initiative

Pushing ahead where utility regulators so far will not, advocates of more renewable energy filed more than 480,000 signatures Thursday to put the question on the November ballot.

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Effects of Roe v. Wade felt in Arizona gubernatorial race

At this point in the campaign, the division over abortion rights appears to be breaking down along party lines, potentially making the question of abortion rights an issue in the general election.

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Realtors seeking to ban sales tax on services

There already are some constraints on the ability of lawmakers to raise taxes.

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Applying state sales tax to internet purchases

Key state lawmakers want to take advantage of a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling which lets states collect online sales taxes.

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Clean Elections Commission suing Legislative Council

Members of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted Friday to sue the Legislative Council what commissioners claim is an effort to mislead voters about an upcoming ballot measure.

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Texting ban for teens with learner’s permits takes effect Sunday

It applies only to teens with a learner's permit or those who are within the first six months of being able to drive. However, using cellphones while driving in Kingman is against the law for all drivers.

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Court rules hashish not covered by medical marijuana card

In a divided decision, the majority concluded that hashish, essentially the resin of the cannabis plant, is legally not the same as the plant itself.

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Judge: DACA recipients cannot be denied licenses

In a sometimes sharply worded ruling, Judge David Campbell pointed out that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals told Arizona in no uncertain terms years ago that “Dreamers’’ with certain Employment Authorization Documents are lawfully present in this country and cannot be denied licenses.

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SBOE walks away from teacher discipline talk

Board President Lucas Narducci on Friday yanked the subject of the board’s authority to sanction educators from the agenda for Monday’s meeting, calling any discussion of the issue “premature at this time.’’

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Senate candidate appeals Don Shooter’s eligibility

In papers filed with the Arizona Supreme Court, attorney Tim La Sota who represents Backus said there was nothing wrong with the factual findings of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz about what evidence did and did not support Shooter’s claim that he lived in Yuma.

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Intelligent design in state superintendent debate

Three of the Republicans hoping to be state school superintendent want students exposed to and taught “intelligent design,’’ but not necessarily as part of the science curriculum.

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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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