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Howard Fischer, for the Courier

Stories by Howard

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Searching for common ground on gun issues

Gov. Doug Ducey isn’t interested in arming teachers as a way to deal with school violence.

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Road tax needs could get fee from vehicle licensing

Arizona motorists could fund what amounts to a $120 million infusion into road construction and repairs.

GOP lawmaker halts motion to bring ‘bump stocks’ bill to floor

Saying gun violence is caused by everything from video games to abortions, House Republicans thwarted a last-ditch procedural move by Democrats Tuesday to force a vote on whether to ban “bump stocks in Arizona.’’

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Gov. Ducey: Don’t ‘politicize’ Florida school shooting

Three years into office, Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday he has no clear idea of how to prevent mass shootings at schools.

Teens on the ballot? Arizona lawmakers on board, for now

On a 7-6 margin Monday, the House Appropriations Committee agreed to ask voters in November to repeal existing constitutional provisions that require candidates for statewide and legislative office to be at least 25 years old.

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Judge rules ‘dark money’ to remain hidden

Commissioner’s fight to uncover APS campaign spending could be at an end

A judge won’t help Bob Burns force Arizona Public Service to disclose the money it has spent — and may spend in the future — to elect candidates of its choice.

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Trump administration opposes Arizona’s ban on driver’s licenses for Dreamers

U.S. Justice Department tells High Court to let stand a Circuit Court ruling that voided the Arizona policy

There is reason to believe that the appellate court reached the correct conclusion based on the evidence before it — and that Arizona is legally wrong.

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State lawmakers look to extend sober living regulations statewide

Arizona lawmakers appear finally ready to regulate sober living homes statewide.

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Arizona politician looking to recall Sen. McCain

A Libertarian who concedes he was never a supporter in the past is launching a drive to recall Sen. John McCain.

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Punish doctors who prescribe weed too easily?

Could get a year in prison for not conducting a full medical exam first

State lawmakers are moving to make felons of doctors who don’t follow all the rules when recommending that a patient be allowed to use marijuana.

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Bill would create exemption for 'normal caretaking interactions' in sexual contact with minors law

Alarmed by claims that people could be imprisoned for changing a diaper, a House panel voted Wednesday to craft an exemption to laws that criminalize sexual contact with minors.

State senators want to choose U.S. senate candidates

Claiming they’re being ignored by U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, Republican state legislators took the first steps Tuesday to allowing themselves — and not the voters — to choose who gets to run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona.

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Senate panel favors new abortion requirements

Doctors will have to ask the woman why before the procedure

Women who want an abortion would have to tell state health officials exactly why under the terms of legislation approved Wednesday by a Senate panel.

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House panel votes to limit child marriages

Leaves loopholes so people younger than 18 can still marry

A House panel voted Wednesday to restrict the ability of teens younger than 18 to marry in Arizona -- but did so only after creating a couple of ways around that proposed restriction.

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House wants to keep ‘dark money’ contributors hidden

Prescott’s Campbell only Republican to vote against the bill

State lawmakers voted Tuesday to block any efforts by Arizona cities and counties to find out — and inform the public — who is funneling money into local elections through nonprofit groups.

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Arizona Supreme Court to hear Dreamers, tuition case

Decision is a victory for state’s colleges

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether “dreamers” who the federal government has allowed to remain in the country are eligible to pay the same reduced tuition as other Arizona residents.

Appeals court rules in favor of immigration protesters

They want to be close to a Border Patrol checkpoint

Arivaca-area residents and protesters are going to get another chance to argue that they’re entitled to be closer to a Border Patrol checkpoint to keep an eye on what’s going on there.

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Senate panel offers voters a chance to reject minimum wage increases

Senators wants Arizona voters to reconsider minimum wage hike that they approved

Calling the voter-approved measure morally wrong, a Republican-controlled Senate panel voted Monday to ask voters to reconsider the 2016 measure, which is set to hike the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

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Bill would extend expiration date on eggs

It would allow eggs to be sold for 45 days, instead of 24

Standards for egg freshness, including the meaning of the expiration date printed on egg cartons, would change if legislation underway in Phoenix becomes law.

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Bill would make animal cruelty a harsher felony

Tougher classification would take sentencing decision from judges

Linking the crime to domestic violence, a Senate panel voted Thursday to expand state laws of what constitutes animal abuse and demand harsher penalties.

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Legislature takes steps to ban non-disclosure agreements

Primary focus is on sex harassment cases where public funds are paid to victims

State lawmakers took the first steps this week to keep those accused of sex crimes or harassment from buying silence from their victims.

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Court: Lawsuit over effluent-made snow can go forward

An Arizona tribe has the legal right to challenge the use of treated effluent to make snow — even on public lands, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

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Campbell’s bill to raise road funds advances

Proposal would raise registration fees up to $19 per year

Unable politically to hike the state gasoline tax to help pave and repair roads, a House panel voted Wednesday to impose a new fee when people register their cars and trucks every year.

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Lawmakers want all insurance contracts in English

Proposal would invalidate contracts in Spanish invalid

Saying voters made English the official language of the state, the House of Representatives voted Thursday to spell out in law that versions of insurance contracts in that language are valid, even if customers are given copies in another language that promise something else.

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Panel approves use of delivery robots

Bots would obey same pedestrian laws when delivering pizza, mail

What’s being called a “personal delivery device” doesn’t have the personality of WALL-E, nor the communication skills of that small, waste-collecting robot of Pixar-film fame.

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Governor raises concern about a water bill

Ducey’s office claims the bill would roll back conservation efforts

Top officials in the Ducey administration are reaching out to the media — and by extension, the public —in a bid to undermine changes in water law being pushed by a Southern Arizona lawmaker.

Legislation would remove costs to freeze credit

Currently consumers must pay $5 each time they lock, unlock their accounts

Calling the practice unfair, the Senate Finance Committee panel voted Wednesday to block credit bureaus from charging Arizonans to freeze their credit to prevent identity theft.

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Senate moves forward a ban on texting while driving

Supporters still have obstacles to overcome

Arizona may finally be ready to join the 47 other states who find the practice of texting while driving so dangerous, they have made it illegal.

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Lawmaker proposes wrong-way spikes to stop drivers

Would put them in strategic locations if passed

Saying warning signs and detection systems may not be the right answer, a state lawmaker has a more radical approach to stopping wrong-way drivers: slicing and dicing their tires.

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Senate votes to exempt first $10K of military pension from Arizona income tax

A tax break proposed for military retirees in Arizona has cleared a pair of significant hurdles in the state legislature.

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State utility funneling thousands into Ducey campaign

The state’s largest electric utility and its top executives are funneling money into campaigns to ensure that Doug Ducey remains governor for another four years.

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Wages in Arizona not keeping pace with nation

Yavapai County in bottom third of state

Increases in wages for Arizona workers are not keeping pace with the rest of the country.

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Defense wants jury to see nighttime Border site of teen’s shooting

Agent’s military record off limits at upcoming trial

The attorney for the Border Patrol agent on trial for shooting and killing a teen through the fence wants jurors to visit the site — at night — to get an idea of what his client saw.

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House expels member over sexual harassment claims

Prescott’s Campbell, Stringer join Shooter in voting against

Concluding that Rep. Don Shooter’s repeated actions of sexual harassment against lawmakers, lobbyists and others were inexcusable, the state House voted Thursday afternoon to expel him.

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Native Americans could ban team nicknames they find offensive

Lawmaker wants to keep any ‘Redskins’ type names out of Arizona

A Native American lawmaker wants a new state law to forbid the display of any name or logo of any sports team at any publicly funded stadium if any of the state’s 22 tribes finds it “disparaging.”

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State House votes to expel Rep. Shooter over sex harassment claims

Prescott’s representatives are the only ones to join Shooter in voting against

Concluding his actions were just too wrong to excuse, the state House voted this afternoon to expel Rep. Don Shooter.

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Tribes put the brakes on state’s lottery expansion

Lawyer says moving forward endangers existing agreements over gambling

Plans for what could be an instant, state-run numbers game hit a snag Wednesday as an attorney for the state’s largest tribe warned lawmakers the proposal would blow up a decades-old agreement.

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Speaker to seek censure over sexual harassment

Lawmaker criticizes Yuma Republican as ‘pervy old man’

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard will ask fellow lawmakers to censure Rep. Don Shooter on Thursday, following an investigation that found “credible evidence” that the Yuma Republican violated the House of Representatives policy against sexual harassment.

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Judge won’t block school voucher vote

Supporters plan to appeal ruling so voters don’t get a say

A judge has refused to block voters from getting the last word on whether they want to expand a system of vouchers that uses public funds to send children to private and parochial schools.

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Non-lethal means of self protection proposed for campuses

Saying college and university students, faculty and visitors need more protection, a state House panel voted Monday to let them arm themselves—at least somewhat.

Beauticians warn lawmakers of possible health crisis

Concluding public safety would not be harmed, a House panel voted Monday to let people style and blow dry hair for money without first getting a license from the state.

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Proposed law would help ensure that medical marijuana is not tainted

Sen. Sonny Borrelli says the state has an obligation to ensure that medical marijuana buyers are getting a product that’s not tainted and has the amount of psychoactive THC that buyers are promised.

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Education Committee earmarks $800K towards SAT, ACT prep

Arizona high schoolers may get a little extra state help getting into college.

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State may crack down on cheating retailers

Arizona could be losing as much as $350M a year due to retailers who cheat on taxes, officials say.

SB 1386 would make it a felony to purchase, install or use any “automated sales suppression device or service” with the intent of cheating the state.

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Ducey signs changes in drug laws focusing on opioids

Saying there is a crisis, Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday defended demanding that lawmakers review and adopt multiple changes in Arizona drug laws in just three days.

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State lawmakers adopt opioid bill, despite its ‘flaws’

Governor wanted it approved Thursday and legislature complied

State lawmakers voted late Thursday to adopt changes in laws on opioids despite what some said are flaws and concerns by others that the plan won’t do much of anything to deal with the drug abuse epidemic.

Prosecutors: Keep information from jurors in border shooting case

Doesn’t want them to know victim’s mother filed a civil suit

Federal prosecutors want to block jurors in the murder trial of a Border Patrol agent from being told that the victim’s mother has filed a civil suit against him.

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Lawmaker wants voters to stop minimum wage hikes

Hopes to put measure on the November ballot

A state lawmaker wants to give Arizona voters a chance to decide if the current $10.50 an hour minimum wage is as high as it should go.

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Senate panel advances bill that would give vets a tax cut

Measure would cost the state $15M in revenues

By the barest margin, a Senate panel voted Wednesday to give an additional break in state taxes to military retirees despite the potential loss of $15 million in revenues.

Feminine hygiene products could be exempt from state sales tax

House panel advances bill, but just barely

A House panel voted Wednesday — but just barely — to give feminine hygiene products and diapers the same tax treatment as lottery tickets, Viagra, tourist magazines, college textbooks and farm animals sold for breeding.