In this week’s episode, reporters Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Dan Nowicki and Rob Hansen discuss the health-care bill, and how it might affect Arizonans, along with the state’s school-voucher program. Johanna Huckeba/azcentral.com
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The Republic’s political team discusses Arizona’s congress support of President Trump’s agenda, the disconnect between foster families and the Department of Child Safety and a recent request for voter information. Johanna Huckeba/azcentral.com
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Our weekly politics podcast gives you inside-the-newsroom conversation you can’t get anywhere else. This week, a special edition examines the politics of education in Arizona, and our exclusive report on the state’s teacher shortage.
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The Republic’s political team on June 13, 2017, talks about a secret recording, a comparative decline in the quality of Arizona kids’ lives and Governor Ducey’s stance on trade with Mexico. Johanna Huckeba/azcentral.com
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The Republic’s political team on April 25, 2017, talks state Sen. Steve Farley jumping into the governor’s race, Arizona’s hopes for infrastructure funding and the state of the state under acting governor Diane Douglas. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses on May 30, 2017, the scandal involving a former corporation commissioner, whether or not to renew an AUMF and much ado about county recorders.
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses the ongoing McCain/Trump feud, Gov. Ducey’s veto pen on recent legislation and drama in Phoenix City Hall.
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team talks about unfinished business, potholes and an avalanche of unwanted shoes. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team looks back wistfully, maybe even sentimentally, “on the session that was,” and looks forward hopefully to sine die. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses teachers’ “boat parade,” a protest for pay raises; the upcoming state budget; and what’s up with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.
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The Republic’s political team on April 25, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including the protests surrounding the future of school vouchers and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s donation controversy.
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The Republic’s political team on April 18, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including 2018 candidates, Sen. Jeff Flake’s town hall and how a bill to require child-welfare officials to get warrants fell apart.
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The Republic’s political team on April 11, 2017, talks about “zombie” health care reform in Congress, and the expansion of the school voucher program headed by Gov. Doug Ducey.
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The Republic’s political team on April 4, 2017, talks about the state of the filibuster and the latest on Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s “Show Me the Money” campaign.
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The Republic’s political team on March 28, 2017, talks about funding for teacher raises in the state budget, what comes next after the non-vote on the ‘Obamacare’ repeal bill in Congress and proposed restrictions on citizen initiatives in Arizona.
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The Republic’s political team on March 21, 2017, talks about the possible impact on the president’s blueprint for a budget, and the lack of female representation in Arizona’s legislative leadership.
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The Republic’s political team on March 14, 2017, talks about how much of Arizona’s delegation has been quiet about the “Obamacare” replacement, but even Republicans don’t seem to like it.
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The Republic’s political team on March 8, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including a failed tax-cut bill, a congressman’s tweets and how a former state senator isn’t working at the White House after all.
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The Republic’s political team on March 1, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including the state of Senate Bill 1142 and the rowdy crowds at U.S. Rep. Martha McSally’s Town Hall.
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The Republic’s political team on Feb. 21, 2017, talks about recent political news, including Trump’s Arizona announcement about Intel, McCain and Obamacare, and House Bill 2404 targeting voter initiatives.
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The Republic’s political team on Feb. 6, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including how much debt is too much for the state and which lawmaker wants to be shot.
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The Gaggle: Health bill, school-voucher program
The Gaggle: Foster families, Trump’s agenda and voter information
The Gaggle: Arizona’s Teacher Shortage
The Gaggle: A Secret Recording, Mexico Trade and Kids’ Health
The Gaggle: The governor’s race and infrastructure funding
The Gaggle: Corporation Commission scandal and renewing an AUMF
The Gaggle: McCain Trump feud, Ducey’s veto pen and Phoenix city hall
The Gaggle: Unfinished business and hallway laments
The Gaggle: Legislative session recap, May 2017
The Gaggle: Teachers protesting, a budget afoot and what’s up with Stanton?
The Gaggle: Voucher vote, Arizona university funding
The Gaggle: DCS warrants and Flake gets scorched
The Gaggle: Health care in Congress and school voucher expansion
The Gaggle: Is the filibuster busted and will Michele Reagan show us the money?
The Gaggle: Teacher raises, ACA repeal and ballot initiatives
The Gaggle: Federal budget and few women in the Legislature
The Gaggle: Obamacare replacement, George W. in town and TANF benefits
The Gaggle: Tax that did not get cut, tweets from Gosar and a non-job
The Gaggle: SB 1142 is dead and town halls get rowdy
The Gaggle: Bigfooted, McCain and HB 2404
The Gaggle: How much debt is too much?
Backers of an effort to let voters weigh in on a new state law that puts restrictions on citizen initiatives are dropping their referendum effort.
Instead, the Voters of Arizona group hopes to focus its finances on defeating the law in court.
The group, led by former Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, spent the past few months trying to collect the more than 75,000 signatures needed to refer the issue to the ballot.
Meanwhile, state lawyers and attorneys representing a broad coalition of individuals and advocacy groups faced off during two days of hearings this week before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens.
Stephens said she would make a decision by Aug. 4 — five days before the law takes effect.
The Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey passed House Bill 2244 this session. It requires the mechanics of the initiative effort — from the size of the petition to the font size of the text — to strictly comply with state law.
Republican lawmakers who supported it said it would help prevent fraud. Opponents argued the law ultimately is intended to prevent residents from making an end-run around the Legislature by putting their own proposals on the ballot.
Voters of Arizona had used a combination of paid and volunteer circulators to collect signatures.
On Friday, committee consultant Joe Yuhas said they were halting the use of paid circulators so they could focus the group’s limited funds on the legal battle.
“Given our limited resources … we couldn’t sustain a paid petition drive and litigation so we had to make a choice,” Yuhas said. “With litigation proceeding this week, which we’re optimistic about, we have to deploy those resources in a way that would be most effective.”
Without paid circulators, Yuhas conceded, it would be nearly impossible to gather enough signatures by the Aug. 8 deadline.
“We always saw that as supplemental to the paid effort,” he said. “We’re realistic.”
He said if there were an influx of funds, the group could restart the petition effort.
Yuhas said he felt confident about how court arguments went this week.
“It changes a right that Arizona voters have had since statehood,” he said. “I felt overall we presented a strong case. Now we’re just awaiting a decision.”
During court proceedings, the attorney for the advocacy groups argued the Legislature overstepped its bounds, and the new law is unconstitutional.
The attorney representing the state argued the Legislature has the right to toughen the state law, even though the state Supreme Court has historically held initiative efforts to a lower legal standard.
Yuhas said the losing side will likely appeal.
Resident-led initiatives have been part of the Arizona lawmaking process since statehood. Successful efforts have included banning smoking in bars and restaurants and raising the minimum wage.
Last fall’s successful minimum-wage campaign, Proposition 206, helped propel the new laws that restrict initiative efforts. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other business groups upset about the citizen-imposed mandate advocated for the laws.
A separate group, Refer 2404, continues to collect signatures in its effort to refer a different law to the ballot and overturn it.
House Bill 2404, also passed this session, makes it illegal to pay petition gatherers per signatures, as is the current practice.
Spokeswoman Cassy Loseke said they have volunteer petition gatherers collecting signatures across the state.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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