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Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Stories by Howard

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Arizona residents consumed 43 tons of legal weed in 2017

The highest total since medical use of marijuana became legal

That’s the highest total since medical use of marijuana became legal in Arizona.

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Governor seeks rules to curb opioid abuse

Many focus on what doctors can do; special session slated

Gov. Doug Ducey wants lawmakers to enact a grab-bag of laws and authorize new regulations — many on doctors — in a bid to curb opioid abuse and overdoses.

Number of jobless in Arizona goes up, so do wages

Arizona’s unemployment rate ticked up by two-tenths of a point last month.

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Bill making it a crime not to help advances in AZ Senate

Pull out your phone to shoot video, but not to dial 911, you could go to jail

The next time you see someone in distress and pull out your phone to record it, rather than calling 911, you could risk going to jail.

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State takes action on KidsCare while Congress delays

Arizona could be liable for millions in insurance costs

State lawmakers took the first steps Thursday to preserving a health care program for children of needy families if Congress scales back federal dollars.

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Lawmaker wants to make Tasers legal on campus

Gilbert Republican says students should be able to defend themselves

A Gilbert lawmaker wants to give those on public university campuses more self-defense options. Including Tasers.

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Senator’s bill would fine people with untrained service animals $250

Its backer admits it would be difficult to enforce

A Senate panel voted Wednesday to make it illegal for people to bring their pets into restaurants and grocery stores under claims they are “service animals.’’

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Governor has huge fundraising lead over possible Democratic opponents

Ducey has $2.7M in bank, Farley and Garcia have $331K combined

With no primary foe and 10 months to go to the general election, Gov. Doug Ducey already has collected more than $3 million for his reelection campaign.

State senate panel agrees to increase car liability requirements

If bill becomes law, it will likely mean consumers will pay more for insurance

Rebuffing claims that the new legislation could harm some low-income individuals, an Arizona Senate panel agreed Tuesday to increase the amount of liability insurance that motorists must purchase to drive in Arizona.

State argues for dismissal of schools lawsuit

Attorney: It is ‘political question’ left for Governor, legislature

An attorney for the state told a judge Friday he has no legal right to hear a complaint that the Legislature is not providing enough money for schools.

Arizona woman asks High Court to overturn gay parental rights ruling

Child’s biological parent says she shouldn’t have to share custody with non-biological former spouse

Saying biology matters, an Arizona woman is making a last-ditch effort to keep from being forced to share custody of her child with her former wife.

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Grocers survey: Eggs cost more, but ham drops

Experts unsure why eggs are costing more this year

PHOENIX — Good news if you like grilled ham and cheese. The basic elements of the sandwich will cost you less now than a year ago.

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Lawmaker wants his cell phone to remain private

Proposes a bill to overturn a court ruling that he can’t

A veteran state lawmaker is carving out what one lawyer calls a large and “blatant” exemption to the state’s public records law.

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Trump tax cuts could bring state $250M; House Speaker wants to keep AZ taxpayers from paying for it

One of the state’s three Republican legislative leaders has vowed he won’t let the Trump tax cuts have a negative ripple effect on Arizona taxpayers.

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Governor’s budget plan focuses new cash on schools

Gov. Doug Ducey unveiled a $10.1 billion spending plan for the next budget year built on projections of more consumer spending, Arizonans buying more lottery tickets and hiring back many of the auditors who ensure that people are paying the state what they owe, auditors the governor previously laid off.

State argues for dismissal of schools lawsuit

Attorney: It is ‘political question’ left for Governor, legislature

An attorney for the state told a judge Friday he has no legal right to hear a complaint that the Legislature is not providing enough money for schools.

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Lawmaker pushes to use MMJ fees for drug program

Medical marijuana users argue they should lower costs, not dream up new ways to spend excess

A Tucson Republican lawmaker wants people who are legally entitled to use medical marijuana to pay for a program to discourage drug use among others rather than lowering the excess fees they pay the state.

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Arizona Supreme Court to hear weed on campus case

Justices to decide if cardholders can be charged for using marijuana on school grounds

The Arizona Supreme Court will decide whether lawmakers can make criminals of legal medical marijuana users who possess their drug on college and university campuses.

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Lawmaker tries to get tax relief for hearing aids

Politics, effort to eliminate other tax breaks get in the way

The question of whether those with hearing impairment get tax relief could depend on whether lawmakers are willing to consider eliminating other tax breaks.

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Ducey offers plan to restore capital funds to schools

Governor doesn’t say where the money will come from, however

Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday trotted out a five-year plan to restore funding for state schools’ capital needs to what it was before the Great Recession.

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State of the State: Ducey on cutting education funds: ‘Not any more’

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey promised Monday to put more money into K-12 education. But voters will need to wait to find how much — and how quickly.

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House Speaker Mesnard: ‘we can do better’

PHOENIX — With sexual harassment allegations against two of its members still pending, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard opened the 2018 legislative session with a call to all — especially the men — to do better.

Legislature expected to act on healthcare, water

There’s more on the agenda than just education

While public education is expected to be the top issue when lawmakers return today, a few other subjects are likely to command some attention.

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Legislative session opens Monday; education taking center stage

Gov. Doug Ducey kicks off the legislative session Monday with a call for more education funding — but not with the tax hikes that some say are necessary to provide truly adequate funding for schools.

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How does a bill really become law?

So you think you know how a bill becomes law? Well, it isn’t exactly the process from the Schoolhouse Rock song, “I’m just a bill on Capitol Hill.”

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Groups offer plan for $950M additional education funds

Proposal unlikely to be backed by current lawmakers

Hoping to set the agenda, a coalition of educators and others laid out options that could generate more than $950 million for education this coming year, all without a general hike in sales taxes.

State Supreme Court limits GPS use by police

Divided justices let drug conviction stand

Police cannot put a GPS device onto a vehicle to track its movements without first getting a warrant, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

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State hopes to keep some aspects of ‘ethnic studies’ ban

Judge said it was unconstitutional, top educator wants to try again

The state’s top education official wants to salvage at least some of a law banning “ethnic studies” that was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge.

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Could the feds take your guns?

Rep. Stringer working to prevent that with new bill

A Prescott lawmaker is proposing changes in state law designed to protect the right of Arizonans to keep their weapons no matter what a future Congress decides.

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Senate President eyes cap on corporate tax credits for scholarships

20% escalator, left alone, could see credits surpass corporate income tax

The architect of an ever-increasing siphoning off of state tax revenues to help send students to private and parochial schools said Thursday he’s now willing to consider a cap — now that the diversion has topped $74 million a year.

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Minimum wage goes up again on Monday

Some get a 50 cent per hour raise starting next week

Arizonans at the bottom end of the income scale are going to be getting a bit more in their paychecks this coming week.

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Lawmaker to propose no tags on plates

Car owners would still be required to keep registration current

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita says it isn’t the purpose behind her legislation, but the Scottsdale Republican is proposing to eliminate one of the things police can use as an excuse to stop and question motorists: those metallic tags affixed to license plates that show whether a vehicle’s registration is expired.

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The Name Game: Emma and Liam the most popular baby names in Arizona in 2017

Remember all the Jessicas and Jennifers born in the 1980s and 1990s?

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Lawmaker: Arizonans abuse service animal law

Plans to propose to make it illegal to misrepresent dog

Saying owners are abusing the law, a Republican state senator wants to make it illegal to misrepresent a dog as a “service animal” to bring it into places where pets are not allowed.

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Lawmaker wants nonpartisan races to be partisan

Says voters should know where a candidate stands

A Scottsdale Republican lawmaker wants to force city council and mayoral candidates to run with party labels, saying he believes it will help prevent liberals from sneaking into office.

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Construction showing renewed signs of recovery

Jobless rate drops again statewide; Yavapai County sees slight uptick

Arizona’s construction industry may finally be showing some real signs of life.

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‘Liam’ and ‘Emma’ are the top baby names for 2017

Remember all the Jessicas and Jennifers born in the 1980s and 1990s?

Border Patrol bid to not provide mats and blankets to migrants is rejected

A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a bid by Border Patrol to avoid having to provide mats and blankets to migrants they detain in holding cells in Arizona for more than 12 hours.

Judge to decide if APS top executive can be questioned

The question of whether utility regulator Bob Burns gets to grill the top executive at Arizona Public Service and review the company’s political spending could turn on what a judge decides is the meaning of the word “and.”

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Rep. Stringer takes on sentencing reform

Teams with Democrat to buck odds, work to fix system

Two state lawmakers hope to do what has proven politically impossible for decades: Convince colleagues to consider sentencing reform.

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Department of Revenue presents new tax form for out-of-state purchases

State revenue officials are hoping a new tax form and a public relations campaign convinces more Arizonans to send them money after they buy items from out of state, whether online or on vacation.

Court rules public officials can’t hide info on personal cell phones

Public officials can’t hide public business by using their own cell phones for texts, emails and social messages, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.

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State still has 2,000 vacant teaching positions

Low salaries, bureaucratic hassles cited as reasons why

A new report shows that nearly 2,000 teaching positions in Arizona remain vacant four months into the school year.

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Lawmaker takes a stand against limiting opioids

Scottsdale Republican announces bill before governor can enact limits

Rep. Jay Lawrence is declaring his own war against the governor’s war on opioids.

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Lawmaker: Senate sex harassment policy doesn’t go far enough

A move by Senate leadership to update the chamber’s harassment policy is provoking some criticism over what is not included.

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Blood testing company sending settlement checks

288 residents in tri-cities getting $83.82 average from Theranos

Checks are going out today to 76,000 Arizonans who had blood tests done by Theranos laboratories, tests that may not have been accurate.

Court sides with counties in chase for jobs

Says they do not need to c omply with competitive bidding

The state Court of Appeals on Thursday said competitive bidding laws do not apply when counties are trying to lure a specific company to the area.

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Business leaders push for tax hike for schools

Plan is to put 1.5 cent increase on the 2020 ballot

A plan by business leaders to ask voters for a 1.5-cent sales tax hike for education on the 2020 ballot could set the stage for a possibly expensive battle with Gov. Doug Ducey and his Koch brothers allies — assuming Ducey is still in office at that point.

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Senator hopes to limit marijuana billboards

The way Sen. David Farnsworth sees it, the decision by voters to legalize the sale of marijuana for medical uses does not mean they get to promote it.

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Arizona bill to punish ticket scalpers, may limit artificial intelligence

Unintended consequences could harm state’s tech industry

A bid by a veteran lawmaker to protect Arizonans from ticket scalpers and their high prices could undermine research in the state into artificial intelligence.