Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Mon, June 17
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Howard Fischer, For the Courier

Stories by Howard

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Boyer rejects compromise bid to get state budget deal done
He says offer from House Speaker does not do enough to help sexual assault victims

A bid by House Speaker Rusty Bowers to break the Republican gridlock over the budget has been rejected out of hand by the Phoenix Republican who it is supposed to satisfy.

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Construction industry booming in Arizona
But state’s economy is less susceptible to recession than previously, officials say

Arizona added another 75,300 private sector jobs in the past year — with more than one out of every four of them being in the construction industry.

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Insisting the state made a "commitment", a Central Arizona lawmaker and farmers he represents is making a last-ditch pitch for $20 million in taxpayer dollars to drill new wells and water delivery canals.

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2 bills take aim at vaping
One would raise age to 21, limit cities from being restrictive; other focuses on where, ‘Big Tobacco’ being ‘Big Vape’

Siding with retailers, the state House voted Wednesday to at least partly preempt cities and towns from enacting their own rules on the sale and marketing of tobacco and vaping products.

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Having burned through $28 million in a pair of losing political battles in Arizona last year, California billionaire Tom Steyer is now prepared to pump some more cash into the state.

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A former national speed skating champion lent her voice Tuesday to those who want to give victims of child sexual assault and abuse more time to sue their assailants -- and specifically those who permitted it to happen.

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Well, it’s official: The Arizona Legislature is now in overtime.

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Arizona voters may be on the verge of getting three more weeks of candidate speeches, robocalls, door hangars and mailers.

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Arizona doesn’t have a state budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. Nor have state lawmakers addressed other pressing issues ranging from giving more time for victims of child sex abuse to sue their assailants or debating a surprise $32-a-vehicle registration fee.

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A student-led group that tried to get lawmakers to enact gun control last year is refocusing on something more attainable.

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Attorney General Mark Brnovich is getting some allies in its legal fight with California over that state’s efforts to tax Arizona businesses and individuals.

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Republican lawmakers voted last week to put some new hurdles in the path of groups that seek to propose their own laws and constitutional amendments.

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Republican lawmakers are making yet another bid to make it more difficult for those proposing their own laws to gather sufficient signatures.

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Rejecting objections from prosecutors, the state House voted 42-16 on Thursday to limit their ability to charge criminal defendants as serial offenders.

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Plans for a Republican-crafted budget blew up Thursday when a second GOP lawmaker said she won’t vote for a spending plan unless and until the state gives victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue their attackers.

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State senators approved their own crackdown on “vaping" devices and liquids Tuesday, May 7, setting the stage for a fight with some House lawmakers who support an industry-backed bill.

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Senate approves lemonade as official state drink
Measure heads to Gov. Ducey’s desk

With a final squeeze, the state Senate on Monday gave final approval to legislation declaring lemonade to be the official state drink, despite objections that the action sends precisely the wrong message to teens who want to affect state policy.

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Proposed teacher conduct code could go to public vote
Representative wants to block educators from engaging in classroom political advocacy

Unable to get even a hearing on his plan, Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, is now working with parents and some teachers to put a measure on the 2020 ballot to block educators from engaging in classroom political advocacy.

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Calling an economic downturn “inevitable,’’ Gov. Doug Ducey is pushing back against demands by lawmakers from his own Republican Party to use an unexpected cash windfall to pay down debt.

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Bill would boost penalty for cruelty to pets
Judges also could force violators to get counseling

Arizonans who purposely kill or torture family pets could soon face stiffer prison terms — or at least mandatory counseling.

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Arizonans hit with higher state income taxes this year due to changes in federal tax law are not going to get any relief -- at least not this year.

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A veteran state lawmaker is threatening to hold up the state budget until he gets a vote on his plan to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue their attackers.

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Adults who need help with their diapers will apparently finally get some access to changing facilities in public buildings — eventually.

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State may lift ban on nunchucks
Law apparently was put in place during popularity of martial-arts movies in 1970s

Arizona could soon lose the distinction of being one of only three states in the nation where two sticks linked together with a piece of chain or leather could land someone in state prison.

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PHOENIX — Some state lawmakers, educators and public health advocates are trying to derail legislation pushed by the tobacco industry and vaping retailers to block local cities, towns and counties from regulating the sale of their products.

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A Mesa Republican senator on Wednesday accused a GOP Sun City colleague of making political threats to force him to vote for legislation.

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The Florence town manager told police that the owner of Johnson Utilities threatened last year to cut his throat.

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Republican lawmakers on Wednesday approved new mandates on schools to report violent incidents in what Democrats say is feel-good legislation to hide the shortfalls in education funding.

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The Arizona Supreme Court has rebuffed the latest bid by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to have the method of setting tuition at the state's three universities be declared unconstitutional.

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State senators confirmed four new members to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments on Tuesday over the objection of Democrats who complained the 15-member panel lacks political, gender and ethnic diversity.

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Board of Education repeals sex-ed class requirements
Decision made amid gay rights organization lawsuit

Facing a lawsuit over their own rules, the state Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to repeal a requirement that sex-ed classes in Arizona “promote honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.’’

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PHOENIX — The official calendar says the Legislature should have gone home this past week. But lawmakers are still here, with the key hang-up being how to spend the $11.4 billion budgeted for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

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The state Department of Child Safety has to defend how it handles the more than 14,000 children in foster care now and all those who will be there in the future.

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Saying it could confuse the issue for motorists, Gov. Doug Ducey late Friday vetoed legislation to create a new offense of distracted driving.

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Gov. Doug Ducey passed on the chance to appoint the first black Hispanic woman to the Arizona Supreme Court, choosing instead a man who said on his application he is Hispanic/Latino on his mother's side.

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State senators deny squeeze over lemonade bill
Measure will return in future despite Wednesday’s defeat

Reversing course, state senators agreed Thursday to give a Gilbert teen one more chance to make his case for declaring lemonade the state drink.

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Family courts have no right to interfere with the decisions of a parent given sole legal custody of a child after a divorce absent some showing of specific harm, even when the issue involves the youngster’s decisions about sexual identification, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

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It’s not exactly life imitating art. But a real life state senator from Mesa decided to air the fictional “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’’ Tuesday for colleagues and staff saying the movie will educate them about the nature of politics, corruption in government and “swamp creatures’’ that wear suits and ties at the state Capitol. Republican Sen. David Farnsworth told called the movie a lesson in caution.

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The head of the Arizona Republican Party is seeking to rally GOP lawmakers to allow a public vote on a plan to boost the state sales tax for education by four-tenths of a cent.

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PHOENIX -- Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that the problems of migrants from Central America reaching our borders and flooding into Arizona communities won't be solved until Mexico deals with its own southern border.

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The state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate ticked down a tenth of a point in March in what, by all indications, was a pretty unremarkable report.

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A bid by House Democrats to force a vote on the Equal Rights Amendment last week was sidelined by Republicans who claimed it is not only unnecessary but a scheme to enshrine abortion rights in the U.S. Constitution.

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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.