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Howard Fischer, For the Courier

Stories by Howard

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The Republican architect of the texting ban signed into law Monday by Gov. Doug Ducey said it could not have been done if a former Democrat senator had not paved the way.

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PHOENIX — State senators approved legislation this past week crafted by House Speaker Rusty Bowers that he said will help keep thousands of Arizonans out of jail.

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A baker’s dozen of things you need to know about the new texting law.

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PHOENIX — Arizona’s top water official said Wednesday that a lawsuit filed by California’s Imperial Irrigation District could pose a threat to the newly approved multi-state drought contingency plan.

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House Bill 2318 was not the only measure to pass on Thursday. While it passed 44-16, lawmakers also voted 31-29 – strictly along party lines – for SB 1141. That is a totally separate measure to outlaw “distracted driving,’’ which also will go to the governor.

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Arizona lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a comprehensive statewide ban on the use of hand-held cellphones by motorist, sending the bill already approved by the Senate to Gov. Doug Ducey for his anticipated signature.

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House may vote Thursday on banning cellphones while driving in Arizona
New law may supersede Prescott, Prescott Valley hand-held ordinances

PHOENIX -- Arizona is on the verge of no longer being just one of three states without a comprehensive ban on texting while driving.

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PHOENIX — President Trump on Tuesday signed the plan for how Arizona and other Colorado River basin states will divide up the limited water that is now available.

PHOENIX — State lawmakers are moving to curb the ability of regulators to seek documents from some private companies because of a fight with one firm that doesn't want to cough up the information.

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PHOENIX — Lobbied by the industry, state lawmakers are not going to help those who bought timeshares get out from under what is often a lifetime obligation.

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PHOENIX — Claiming boycotts are anti-Semitic, the state House voted last week to deny public contracts to firms that refuse to do business with other companies that do business in Israel.

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PHOENIX — Ousted state Rep. Don Shooter wants the Senate Ethics Committee to determine whether former House Speaker J.D. Mesnard acted unethically in refusing to release parts of an investigative report on Shooter that resulted in his expulsion.

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PHOENIX — Rising beef prices are pushing up the cost of eating at home.

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Judge asked to order US Senate election soon
Attorney: McSally should not hold McCain seat until 2020 without vote

An attorney for members of various political parties told a federal judge Friday she should order a statewide election -- and soon -- to let voters fill the Senate seat now occupied by Martha McSally.

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U.S. wants to block suit over border shooting
Lower court cleared way for woman to sue over son’s death

The Trump administration wants the U.S. Supreme Court to conclude that the family of a Mexican teen who died after being shot by a Border Patrol agent through the fence at Nogales has no right to sue.

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The state’s controversial “no promo homo’’ law is on its way out.

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A Sierra Vista lawmaker who sells fireworks around certain holidays is defending his proposal to expand the number of days when Arizonans can buy and use them.

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Claiming the rights of women are being violated, Planned Parenthood filed a broad-based legal attack on a host of Arizona laws and regulations governing abortion.

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Margaritas may be the drink of the Southwest.

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Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Wednesday that will pretty much allow anyone with any professional license to practice in Arizona without further state review.

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Minimum wage bill falls far short of votes needed at Senate Rules Committee
Bill could have paid some young workers less than

PHOENIX — A bid to allow employers to pay some young workers less than the voter-mandated minimum wage is effectively dead.

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PHOENIX — Ignoring complaints by a Pima County lawmaker, the state Senate voted Thursday to allow a public vote to not just extend the existing half-cent sales tax for roads and transit projects but to double it.

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State lawmakers agreed Thursday, April 4, that members of the Indian community should have the right to use sparklers and similar fireworks for the festival of Diwali the same as other Arizonans can for other holidays.

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Arizona is in danger of losing $340 million in federal cash because of a decision by state lawmakers to allow schools to offer an alternative to the AzMERIT standardized tests.

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Victims of child rape and sexual abuse won’t get more time to sue their assailants, at least not this year.

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Saying they were just helping tenants, the state Senate voted Wednesday to bar cities and towns from enacting any new regulations and restrictions on landlords.

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All that wonderful rain and snow this winter is going to create perfect conditions for more and larger wildfires this summer, according to a key state official.

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Gov. Doug Ducey is siding with the Trump administration in its bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census despite concerns by some that it will cause an undercount that could cost the state millions -- and maybe a congressional seat.

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Facing Democrat demands, House Speaker Rusty Bowers on Wednesday finally directed the Ethics Committee to come up with a code of conduct for lawmakers — including whether they can be ousted for their public comments — more than a year after it was first promised.

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Saying too much money is wasted on duplication, state lawmakers took the first steps Tuesday to force consolidation of the more than 200 school districts in the state.

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With less than two weeks until the filing deadline, proponents of saving Arizonans from an unexpected $155 million income tax hike sought by Gov. Doug Ducey this year have given up.

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The state House is set to debate a proposal that could be an alternative to -- and a broader version — of efforts to ban texting while driving.

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Senate committee pumps brakes on minimum wage bill, cite Arizona Constitution
Senate President Karen Fann: ‘I have a hard time trying to take money away from [workers under 22] if they’re truly trying to pay their way through school’

PHOENIX — A bid to slice the minimum wage for some young workers hit a speed bump Monday as some lawmakers questioned its legality.

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PHOENIX — Legislation to allow employers to pay some young people less than the voter-mandated minimum wage cleared a crucial hurdle Thursday after its sponsor agreed it would not be tied to whether the worker was in school.

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On the narrowest of margins a Senate panel agreed Thursday to boost the criminal penalty on those who purposely and knowingly abuse and kill family pets.

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Two gay rights organizations filed suit Thursday in federal court in Tucson challenging the legality of what is known as Arizona’s “no promo homo’’ law.

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The state’s largest electric utility admitted late Friday it spent $10.7 million in 2014 to elect two regulators of its choosing.

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1983 Police Report: Former Rep. Stringer paid for sex with underage boys
House Speaker says representative quit when told Arizona officials had details of Maryland case

Rep. David Stringer quit the Legislature Wednesday after House Speaker Rusty Bowers revealed to him he had the report of the legislator's 1983 arrest in Maryland for allegedly having sex with two boys, one age 13 and the other listed as a child younger than 15 who was developmentally disabled.

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Answering pleas of parents of disabled adult children, a Senate panel on Wednesday resurrected legislation to require that new or extensively remodeled bathrooms in public buildings have suitable changing stations so they don’t have to put their offspring on dirty bathroom floors.

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Some sex offenders may avoid being registered for life
Lawmakers may roll back registry for certain sex offense situations

State lawmakers are weighing whether to give judges more leeway to eliminate the requirement that certain people register for life as sex offenders.

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PHOENIX — Embattled state Rep. David Stringer resigned late Wednesday in the face of a probe by the House Ethics Committee into charges of making racially charged comments and a recently disclosed 1983 arrest on charges including child pornography.

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Republican lawmakers are moving to effectively strip the word “permanent’’ from the laws that allow voters to enroll in the permanent early voting list.

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Armed with volunteers and 15 months until a deadline, former Attorney General Terry Goddard launched a new bid Tuesday to end “dark money’’ anonymous donations to Arizona political campaigns.

A member of the Window Rock Unified School District was illegally elected and can no longer serve on the board, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled on Tuesday.

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PHOENIX — State lawmakers are taking steps to ensure that rural residents have easy access to medical marijuana without having to grow their own.

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PHOENIX — The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent in February as the number of jobs created pretty much matched the number of people looking for work.

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PHOENIX — A bid to legally create a special community college and university tuition for “dreamers’’ and others who don’t qualify for the in-state rate has run headlong into a potentially fatal snag.

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PHOENIX — A plan to clarify what online purchases are and are not taxable has run into a fiscal problem: a $33 million price tag.

PHOENIX — A now-divorced woman is entitled to implant some fertilized embryos created before she was married despite the objections of her former husband, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.

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PHOENIX — A bid by a Gilbert teen to have lawmakers officially recognize lemonade as the state drink may be hijacked by some legislative adults.

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