Manchin Objects to Dems’ Billionaire Tax, Saying They ‘Create a Lot of Jobs’

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin came out against his party’s plan to tax billionaires in order to finance their social-spending package just hours after it was first released.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday morning, describing billionaires as people who “contributed to society and create a lot of jobs and a lot of money and give a lot to philanthropic pursuits.”

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Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman Asks Attorney General Brnovich for Legal Opinion on Biden Administration’s Failure at the Border

Arizona Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) sent a letter to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich requesting a legal opinion on whether the Biden administration has failed its obligations at the U.S. border with Mexico. He is concerned there is an “invasion” taking place due to the vast numbers of illegal immigrants entering the country, the increase in crime, and the control the drug cartels have over areas along the border.

He wrote, “In light of the efforts by the new federal administration of President Joe Biden to encourage, rather than discourage, illegal aliens coming to our country, including by crossing the Arizona border illegally, I am writing to ask for your formal legal opinion of whether or not the federal government has failed — intentionally or unintentionally — to uphold its obligations to protect our state from invasion under Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.”

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Prosecuting Felon Who Voted From Jail

A state grand jury has indicted a 46-year-old felon for illegally voting while in jail. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Manuel Aguirre of Sahuarita was indicted on one count of false registration and one count of illegal voting, both felonies. He voted during the 2020 election from the Pima County Jail. 

Aguirre falsely stated on his voter registration form that he had no felonies or that his rights had been restored. He has five felony convictions, including vehicular theft, criminal trespassing and weapons misconduct. 

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Arizona Republican Party Chair Demands Election Audits in Every County in the State

Dr. Kelli Ward of Arizona

Based on the results of the Maricopa County ballot audit, as well as findings that have come from informal auditing of the election in Pima County, Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward wants an audit done in every county in Arizona. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is currently investigating the results of the Maricopa County audit, and has ordered the county supervisors to put a litigation hold on the election materials. Former President Donald Trump has called to decertify the results of the Pima County election or hold a new election. 

“I’ve been asking for full audits of all 15 of Arizona counties,” Ward said during a video. “Momentum for election integrity only continues to build. We the people will not back down. We will not waver.” 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Files Request for Temporary Restraining Order Against Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

After filing the first lawsuit in the country to stop President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with over 100 employees, federal employees and federal contractors, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is now amending it to request a temporary restraining order and nationwide preliminary injunction. He cites a lengthy list of problems with the mandate, beginning the 54-page brief by saying, “This case presents circumstances that would have been unthinkable to our Founding Fathers.” 

In a statement, Brnovich declared, “Once a vaccine has been administered, it can never be undone. The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers by any administration in our country’s history.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Taking on City of Tucson for Firing Employees Who Refuse to Get Vaccinated

The City of Tucson initially backed off of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion declaring it was illegal, but Tucson has now reversed itself again with a new 4-3 vote by the Tucson City Council. Any Tucson employee not in compliance by December 1 will be fired. Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted that it was “unfathomable” and had his General Counsel Annie Foster send City Attorney Mike Rankin a stern letter. 

“It’s unfathomable that after a year as tough as last, the Tucson City Council voted to FIRE unvaccinated city employees,” Ducey tweeted. “The state Legislature has spoken on this issue — they want Arizonans and their sincerely held beliefs to be protected from overreaching mandates.”

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Goldwater Institute Issues Report Showing Arizona School Boards Are Being Forced to Fund Critical Race Theory at Taxpayer Expense

The watchdog Goldwater Institute has discovered that the Arizona School Boards Association is controlling much of the teaching within Arizona’s K-12 public schools, which includes Critical Race Theory. Schools are locked into the agenda, because if they try to opt out, the ASBA will accuse them of copyright infringement for using their own previously adopted policies or replicating those of other public bodies.

According to a new report the Goldwater Institute put out about the problem, the ASBA uses the messaging of “equity,” asserting that it is not CRT. But “retreating to the less revolutionary sounding term ‘equity’ reflects a distinction without a difference.” The purpose is still the same, “replacing the principle of legal equality with practices and government mandates forcing people to treat their fellow Americans differently based on race — inflicting racist policies on people today in order to balance out the racism of centuries past.”

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Report Says Arizona Seeing Highest Spike in Illegal Border Crossings

According to a Fox News report, Arizona is seeing a larger influx of illegal alien crossings than any other state. 

In September, Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were encountering 600 illegal aliens daily, which he said is a 2000 percent increase from last year. 

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Judicial Watch Investigating Town of Gilbert over Employees ‘Promoting the Political Marxist Agenda’

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is looking into complaints that employees working for the Town of Gilbert misused their positions to push the “Marxist agenda of Black Lives Matter.” Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson said she just found out that Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request back in August for information relating to the potentially improper behavior of several employees, and is now asking the Gilbert Town Council to join her in asking for an outside investigation.

Mark Spencer, the Southwest Projects Coordinator for Judicial Watch who submitted the FOIA, told The Arizona Sun Times, “One might be led to believe the Town Manager’s office is allowing a costly liberal social experiment to be conducted on Gilbert taxpayers. The endorsement of Marxist literature such as The 1619 Project, White Fragility and How To Be An Antiracist appears to have taken roots in the altering of employee testing processes by injecting equal outcome practices based on gender and ethnicity over skill and competency. Citizens are put at risk when this type of bias is allowed by management into a first-responder hiring process.”

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Citing Precincts with Ballot Return Rate Greater Than 100 Percent, Donald Trump Calls to Decertify Pima County’s 2020 Election or Hold a New One

Former President Donald Trump issued a statement on October 15 denouncing the results of an investigation of mail-in ballots in Pima County’s 2020 election, calling for either the results for president to be decertified with Trump declared the winner or hold a new election. He said the election was “Rigged and Stolen,” citing “staggering anomalies and fictitious votes” that “stuffed the ballot box” with more ballots than were sent out in some precincts. Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, echoed Trump’s claims, saying there are “34,000 or 35,000 fictitious voters” in Pima County.

Trump said the analysis was done from publicly available election data, and showed that mail-in ballots returned in Pima County during the election initially showed him up 3 points over other Republicans, with Joe Biden underperforming other Democrats by 3 points. Then the mail-in ballots started returning at an abnormally high rate, over 87%, and Trump suddenly started performing worse and Biden better. However, “they overplayed their hand, and got caught. Two precincts in Pima had over 100 percent turnout for mail-in ballots — which is impossible — and 40 precincts had over 97% returned.”

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Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai Defends His Maricopa County Ballot Audit Findings After Media Attack

Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who authored the portion of the Maricopa County ballot audit addressing the signatures on the return envelopes of mail-in ballots, is furious with an article by an Arizona journalist in a left-leaning publication. Ayyadurai believes the Maricopa County Supervisors got Arizona Mirror reporter Jeremy Duda to write a “hit job” on him. He wrote a 67-page letter to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich about the article, asking them to conduct an investigation, and to allow him to hold a public meeting where he can address his concerns with the supervisors. Brnovich is currently investigating the results of the audit, and has instructed Maricopa County to freeze all 2020 election materials in a litigation hold.

Specifically, Ayyadurai wants to “Expose how the Arizona Mirror has nothing to do with ‘Independent Journalism,’ but is part of an organized network of local and decentralized media funded by Arabella Advisors, what the The New York Times and Politico term as ‘dark money’ aimed to manufacture narratives to meet partisan objectives.”

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Mollie Hemingway’s New Book Exposes How Fox News Called the Election Early in Arizona for Biden

Conservative columnist Mollie Hemingway has written a book exposing how President Joe Biden won the presidential election, entitled Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections. Hemingway goes over all the suspicious behavior and possible fraud that occurred, including Fox News — the allegedly conservative news station — calling the race in Arizona early for Biden, before any other network did.

“[T]he rush to call a critical battleground such as Arizona less than ninety minutes after the polls closed [was] very odd,” Hemingway wrote. Acknowledging that she is a contributor to Fox News, she explained how it was Fox News’ Decision Desk that made the call, “Fox News … is unique among cable networks in retaining a distinction between its opinion and news programming. The news side handles Election Night and other big coverage. Its Decision Desk, a group of pollsters, statisticians, and political analysts, is independent from both the opinion and news programming.”

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Maricopa County Admits Deleting Hundreds of Thousands of Records They Previously Archived Away from Subpoenas

During a House Oversight Committee hearing addressing the results of the audit of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit ordered by the Arizona Senate, one of the Maricopa County Supervisors who fought the audit admitted that hundreds of thousands of election related files were deleted. Instead of producing them in response to the legislative subpoena, he said the county “archived” them.

Responding to a question from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) asking him whether it was appropriate to delete files on a server after an election, Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said, “I would say it is appropriate to maintain files, and that is exactly what we did. We deleted — the files that have been discussed, they were archived.” 

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Grassroots ‘America Pack’ in Scottsdale Draws Large Crowd to Discuss Election Fraud, More

Woman voting at booth

A new grassroots patriotic organization has sprung up in the Phoenix area, America Pack. Led by founder Valerie Grosso-Turley, it seeks to get involved at the local level in a way many conservative groups fail to — boots on the ground, not just sitting around listening to speakers.

Grosso-Turley urged the crowd, which was composed substantially of precinct committee people, to get involved at the school board level. She cited the Biden administration weaponizing the FBI to squelch dissent by parents. She said this is because parents speaking up is having results, “They wouldn’t be doing it if it didn’t matter.” 

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Rep. Andy Biggs Says During Congressional Hearing ‘We Don’t Know’ Whether Trump or Biden Won in Arizona

The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Thursday on the results of the audit of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit ordered by the Arizona Senate. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) found the audit results troubling, leading him to question whether Joe Biden really won the election in Arizona.

At the beginning of the hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) asked Biggs who won the presidential election in Arizona. Biggs responded, “We don’t know. There are a lot of issues with this election that took place.” He said the only reason the hearing is being conducted is because the chair, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), wants to see any election integrity legislation scuttled. 

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Arizona State Rep. Turns State Ballot Integrity Project into National Opportunity

Mark Finchem, the State Representative from Arizona who has also received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in a bid to become that State’s Secretary of State in 2022, has effectively taken his Arizona Ballot Integrity Project (BIP) national as of this past Wednesday when he and approximately 30 others from around the country gathered at the suburban Dallas offices of international authentication leader, Authentix, to create a process for introducing a highly counterfeit-resistant paper ballot. 

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Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee Sends Letter to Sinema, Kelly Opposing Legislation to Allow IRS to Monitor Americans’ $600 or More Withdrawals and Deposits

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee sent a letter to Arizona’s Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly urging them not to vote for legislation that would allow the IRS to monitor Americans’ bank accounts for transactions of $600 or more in withdrawals and deposits. The proposal is part of the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion American Families Plan, the so-called “human infrastructure” bill. Scott Earl, the CEO & President of Mountain West Credit Union Association, also signed the letter, representing multiple credit unions. 

Yee, who is running for governor of Arizona, said, “As it stands now, this proposal would threaten the financial security of more than 100 million Americans from all demographics. If it passes, the government will conduct one of the largest data mining exercises in American history, risking the security of the banking system.”

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Convicted Felon in Tucson Indicted for Voting in 2018, 2020 Elections

A convicted felon in Tucson was indicted by a Grand Jury for illegally registering to vote and voting. According to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, 45-year-old Kenneth Russell Nelson falsely stated on a voter registration form while incarcerated that he did not have a felony conviction, and then proceeded to vote in the 2018 primary and general election and the 2020 general election.

Nelson was convicted in 2007 of aggravated driving while under the influence of liquor while his license was suspended. He did not have his rights restored. He was arrested for first-degree murder in 2019 for killing his wife, which he admitted to. For the voter fraud, the Grand Jury indicted him on one count of false registration and three counts of illegal voting, comprising four felonies. 

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24 Legislators Want Ducey to Declare a State of Emergency on the Border Crisis

A significant group of Arizona Republican legislators is calling upon Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency over the crisis on the border between Arizona and Mexico. The 24 senators and representatives sent the letter to Ducey on Tuesday.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu), the Majority Whip, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I think all of America can agree that our southern border is a complete disaster. As this Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore our calls for help, thousands of illegal immigrants are pouring into our state daily. This administration is signaling to the world that we have an open border. Myself, along with my Republican colleagues at the Arizona Legislature, will not tolerate this lawlessness anymore. We are a land of law and order. But when the federal government fails at their duty to protect our border, it is up to us to uphold our oath to the constitution and do whatever it takes to help stop this invasion.”

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Arizona Democratic Party Approves Resolution Threatening to Censure Kyrsten Sinema

The Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) is putting pressure on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in order to coerce her into opposing the Senate filibuster, voting for President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” bill, and supporting multiple voting related bills. They issued a resolution which threatens to give her a vote of no confidence, censure her, and withdraw support of her reelection if she fails to comply by the next state committee meeting in January 2022. 

The resolution states in part:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED – that the Arizona Democratic Party will closely watch Senator Sinema’s votes in the coming weeks and if Senator Sinema, does not vote in favor of Filibuster reform to change the Senate rules in order to allow the passage of The For The People Act – voting rights bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill, or other urgent legislation, for example the PRO ACT, that has already passed by the House or if she votes against the Senate Reconciliation Budget Bill, also referred to as the Human Infrastructure Package or the American Families Plan supported by President Biden and the vast majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, or if she continues to delay, disrupt, or votes to gut the Reconciliation Package of its necessary funding, then the Arizona Democratic Party State Committee will go officially on record and will give Senator Sinema a vote of NO CONFIDENCE.

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Chip Company Intel Begins Construction in Arizona on New Plants, New Jobs Created

Intel Corp. broke ground on two new semiconductor fabrication factories in Chandler, Arizona on Friday, as part of its plan to become a major chip manufacturer for outside customers. 

 The $20 billion plants, Fab 52 and Fab 62, are expected to bring more than 3,000 new high-tech, high-wage jobs and 3,000 construction jobs to Arizona, while supporting an estimated 15,000 additional indirect jobs in the community, according to a press release from the governor’s office. This marks a 25% increase in Intel employees. 

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Arizonans for Voter ID Act Making Progress Getting on Ballot

People voting

A coalition of Arizona legislators and about 10 conservative groups launched an effort last month to get an initiative on the ballot that would combat voter fraud, the Arizonans for Voter ID Act. They began collecting signatures last week. Spearheaded by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, the four-pronged plan would end the practice of voting without an ID — even for mail-in or dropped-off ballots. By requiring ID, ballot harvesting would become impossible. 

Scot Musser, president and executive director of The Arizona Free Enterprise Club, told The Arizona Sun Times that the response from people interested in helping has been tremendous. “At the Constitution Celebration event in Queen Creek this past weekend, there were long lines of people waiting to sign the petition or seeking to become petition circulators.” He said many politicians and others have reached out eager to join the effort.

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Maricopa County Audit Supporter Threatens Arizona GOP Lawmaker

A Republican member of the Arizona Legislature says her family’s safety is her first priority after getting a threatening email over her scrutiny of Maricopa County’s 2020 election. 

State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, posted a screenshot of an email from an account named Matt Boster that started out by calling her a racial slur.

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Independent Canvassing Effort in Maricopa County, Arizona Finds 34 Percent of Votes Missing or Lost

A grassroots canvass of Maricopa County voters in the 2020 election found that over 34 percent of those canvassed said they voted even though the county didn’t have a record of their vote.

Liz Harris, the Arizona resident who organized the independent canvass talked to Steve Bannon about her Voter Integrity Project findings on the Wednesday morning edition of the “War Room.”

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Arizona Expected to Follow Texas’s Abortion Heartbeat Law

With the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to block a Texas law banning abortions at six weeks when fetal heartbeats begin, Arizona’s Republican-dominated legislature is expected to enact a similar law. Until now, federal courts had struck down several laws regulating abortion enacted in Arizona. The unusual nature of the Texas law — allowing citizens to sue in order to enforce it instead of the state — is why a 5-4 majority on SCOTUS allowed the significant intrusion into Roe v. Wade.

Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy and a key architect of pro-life bills in the Arizona Legislature, said Arizona should copy the successful legislation in order to avoid being struck down. “The Texas heartbeat law is a road map to what other states can do,” she told Capitol Media Services. “The Texas heartbeat law is worthy of serious consideration by the Arizona Legislature.”

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Leads 16 States to Stop Biden’s Lack of Immigration Enforcement Related to Crime

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich led 15 other attorneys general to file an amicus curiae brief on August 30 in a lawsuit requesting to halt the Biden administration’s “Interim Guidance” policy of not enforcing laws against illegal immigration when it comes to crime. The lawsuit was filed against the Biden administration on April 6 by the attorneys general of Texas and Louisiana accusing Biden of endangering Americans by no longer arresting or deporting nearly all illegal immigrants involved in crime. Brnovich and the coalition asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny Biden’s request for a stay of his policy while his administration appeals a trial court’s ruling halting the policy. 

“The Biden Administration continues to intentionally violate federal immigration laws and endanger all Americans,” said Brnovich in a statement. “We continue to see the release of convicted felons, COVID-19 positive migrants, and record levels of dangerous drugs into cities across our country. These reckless policies are illegal, unconscionable and disgraceful. The Biden Administration must be held accountable.”

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Report on Arizona’s Maricopa County Ballots in 2020 Election Delayed, Auditors Have COVID, Report

The report of ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election in Arizona’s Maricopa County has been delayed because the chief executive and two other employees of the audit team reportedly have COVID-19 and are “quite sick.”

A draft report of the findings was expected to be delivered Monday to Republicans in the state Senate, who hired the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct the audit.

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Commentary: Reject Federal Takeover of Elections – Again

Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

That is exactly how Americans must feel as they learn that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is trying to ram through another bill orchestrating a federal takeover of elections, despite the previous failed attempt in the Senate.

The bill, H.R. 4, is expected to come up in the House of Representatives this week, and it is stunning in its breadth. In short, Pelosi would give broad, sweeping powers to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to rewrite every state and local election law in the country.

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Program Offering Low-Income Families up to $7k for K-12 School Choice over COVID Measures Begins

Governor Doug Ducey’s program offering up to $7,000 in grants for low-income K-12 parents wanting to relocate their students due to their current school’s COVID-19 protocols began Friday. Eligible families have a total household income at or below 350 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, and show proof that their current school has COVID constraints, including: mask mandates, quarantines, vaccine mandates, or discrimination based on vaccination status. The grant funds may be used for a variety of education-related expenses beyond tuition like transportation, online tutoring, and even child care.

Ducey announced the $7,000 booster on Tuesday. The governor’s office cited Yale University research that found COVID-based school closures disproportionately harm low-income students. More affluent students reportedly didn’t exhibit any significant impairments.

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Major Conservative Groups Join Arizona Legislators to Launch New Arizona Voter ID Ballot Initiative Effort

A coalition of conservative organizations is working with Arizona Republican legislators to put the Arizonans for Voter ID Act on the ballot next fall. The initiative will require voter ID on mail-in ballots, improve existing in-person voter ID requirements, prevent ballot harvesting by enhancing voter ID requirements for in-person ballot drop off, and provide a free voter ID option to lawfully registered Arizona voters who need it for voting. 

Scott Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which is spearheading the initiative, said in a statement, “This initiative will ensure that no matter when you vote, where you vote, or how you vote, identification will be required.” The AFEC went on, “Arizonans use these forms of identification commonly in their everyday lives to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, obtain a driver’s license, board a commercial flight, donate blood, open a bank account, purchase a firearm, receive unemployment benefits, obtain auto insurance, purchase or rent a home, confirm identity over the phone, and many other basic transactions.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Calls for Afghan Refugees Even as Thousands of Americans Still Remain in Afghanistan

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and state Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers (R-District 25) announced Thursday that Arizona will welcome refugees from Afghanistan.

“The Afghans fleeing the Taliban regime served alongside America’s military forces and fought for freedom,” the press release states. “We’re grateful for their efforts and Arizona wholeheartedly welcomes our fair share of the refugees in our state.”

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Colorado River Water Shortage Significant for Arizona

Arizona’s water supply is going to take a hit in 2022 because of falling levels behind the Hoover Dam.

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior announced Monday that, based on projected water levels at Lake Mead, an unprecedented Tier I shortage emergency would be enacted Jan. 1 for the Colorado River and its basins. 

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Biden Commends Phoenix School District That Violated Ban on Mask Requirements

Biden Commends Phoenix School District

President Joe Biden called the head of Phoenix Union High School District after the district implemented mask requirements that may be contrary to state law, praising Superintendent Chad Geston for the move. In a statement, Biden said he told Geston during his Friday phone call that he “did the right thing.” 

The issue is currently under litigation in Maricopa County Superior Court. Numerous state legislators asked Governor Doug Ducey a few days ago to take action against the school districts in violation, and Ducey responded on Tuesday with a directive financially penalizing the districts. They will not receive any of the $163 million that the state got through the American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil funding. Students in those districts will receive vouchers to attend schools elsewhere.

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All Seven of Arizona’s Democratic Members of Congress Push for Earmarks, Republicans Don’t

Now that a 10-year ban on Congressional earmarks has ended, all seven Democrats in Arizona’s congressional delegation are requesting them. None of the four Republican members are. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07) wants to beautify light poles and several of the members want to expand public transit. Many of them are getting their requests approved as part of the $2.1 trillion infrastructure bill, which is expected to pass into law soon.

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ-06) told The Arizona Sun Times Friday that the earmarks aren’t necessary, since they are for the types of projects local and state governments generally cover.

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Arizona Republican State Legislators Ask Governor to Take Action Regarding School Districts Violating Law on Mask Mandates

Doug Ducey and Jake Hoffman

Twenty-six Republican members of the Arizona Legislature signed onto a letter drafted by Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) asking Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to take four steps of action in regards to several school districts that appear to be violating state law by imposing mask mandates in schools. A high school biology teacher recently filed a lawsuit over the mandate implemented by Phoenix Union High School District. The school districts contend that the law, A.R.S. 15-342.05, doesn’t apply yet since bills do not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, but the bill contains a retroactive clause. 

“It borders on anarchy and destabilizes the very foundation of our society to have local governments effectively refusing to comply with the law. It must not be allowed to stand,” the legislators said. “Any local government that willfully and intentionally flaunts state law must be held accountable.”

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Arizona Ranks First in Nation for Small Business Growth

A new report from the payroll company PayChex ranked the states in order of small business job growth and Arizona came out No. 1, with nearly 6% growth over the past year. Phoenix ranked third among the country’s 20 most populated cities. The Arizona Legislature released a report shortly before that showing Arizona is in great condition, breaking records. The state passed historic tax cuts this year, preventing a 77% increase on small business taxes, reducing small business property taxes by 10%, and capping the maximum tax rate on businesses at 4.5%.

Frank Fiorelle, vice president of risk, compliance and data analytics at Paychex, explained that a lot of the job growth is due to the pandemic ending. “A lot of those restaurants are coming back online, opening the doors and turning on the lights, he said. He added that states which reopened their economies earlier have higher job creation rates.

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Department of Justice Announces Investigation of Phoenix Police Use of Force

Phoenix Police Department

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has opened a pattern or practice investigation into the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department, according to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Civil Rights Division on Thursday. 

The Special Litigation Section of the DOJ Civil Rights Division will conduct the investigation. It will assess force used by Phoenix officers, including deadly force, the DOJ said in a press release. They said they would investigate whether PhxPD engages in retaliatory activity against people for conduct protected by the First Amendment if PhxPD engages in discriminatory policing and whether PhxPD unlawfully seizes or disposes of the belongings of individuals experiencing homelessness.

The DOJ said the investigation would additionally examine Phoenix practices for responding to people with disabilities. They will review policies, training, supervision, force investigations, and PhxPD’s accountability systems, such as misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline.

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KORE Power to Grow in Maricopa County, Bringing Thousands of Jobs

KORE Power, Inc. announced on July 29 that they are building the first lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility owned entirely by a U.S. company in Maricopa County, bringing 3,000 jobs to the Grand Canyon state. 

The one million square foot KOREPlex manufacturing facility 40 miles west of Phoenix in Buckeye will support up to 12 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery cell production. Once operational, the facility will produce enough power capacity for 3.2 million homes each year, the company said.

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Arizona Legislator Wendy Rogers Launches Petition to Decertify Election Results Due to Ballot Audit

Arizona Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Prescott) launched a petition recently demanding the decertification of the 2020 election results in Arizona, based on preliminary results from the ballot audit in Maricopa County ordered by the Arizona state senate. The audit is looking at both the presidential race and the U.S. senate race, where Democrat Mark Kelly defeated incumbent Republican Martha McSally by a small margin. According to a tweet Friday evening from Rogers, the petition was at 36,302 signatures despite server issues forcing the site offline periodically. She is aiming for one million signatures.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Files Amicus Brief to Uphold Georgia ‘Election Integrity Act’

Attorney General Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that he joined a coalition of 16 states in filing an amicus brief urging the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to uphold the state’s recently-enacted “Election Integrity Act of 2021.”

The attorneys general expressed their support for Georgia’s motion to throw out the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit against the new voting law, which Georgia said was based on “political posturing rather than a serious legal challenge.”

The “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” or Senate Bill 202, passed the legislature along party lines. Gov. Brian Kemp, R-Ga, signed the 98-page omnibus bill on March 25.

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Court to Hear Clash over Phoenix School District’s Mask Mandate That Defies New State Law

A judge is expected to hear arguments on August 13 in a lawsuit filed by a teacher in the Phoenix Union High School district over its revived mandatory mask policy. Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1826 in June, the education budget bill, which includes an amendment prohibiting schools from requiring masks. 

Biology teacher Douglas Hester filed the lawsuit against the school district, its governing board and superintendent Chad Gestson, citing the conflict with state law. The school contends that the law isn’t scheduled to go into effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns, September 28. However, A.R.S. 15-342.05 includes a clause making it retroactive to June 30.

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Arizona Legislative Report Reveals ‘Extraordinary’ Fiscal Growth in State

A new report from the Arizona Legislature’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows Arizona is in great economic condition, breaking records. Revenues from taxes are high or better than projected, with significant gains expected in the future, and personal income is growing at the fastest pace since 1985. It comes after Arizona passed historic tax cuts, reducing the personal income tax to the lowest flat tax in the country at 2.5%. However, some of the rosy picture is due to COVID-19 relief.

Governor Doug Ducey issued a statement about the report, “It paints a picture of a state economy that has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic not only in great shape, but poised to achieve even greater accomplishments in the years ahead. The ‘extraordinary growth’ Arizona saw in Fiscal Year 2021 is positive news for every Arizonan. We are leading the way in the nation’s economic recovery.”

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Phoenix Housing Market Booms as Migration from California Continues

Phoenix was the most popular migration destination in the second quarter of 2021 for users of Redfin.com, a technology-powered real estate broker, who were looking to move to a different major city. 

In Phoenix, institutions or businesses that purchase residential real estate, known by Redfin as investors, purchased 24.5% of homes sold in the second quarter of 2021. Redfin said that out of the 41 U.S. metropolitan areas analyzed, Phoenix had the highest percentage of home purchases by investors. The Valley was followed closely by Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Las Vegas.

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Western Governors to Biden on Wildfires: Feds Need to Play to Win

Joe Biden

Governors in wildfire country had a message for President Joe Biden and Congress on Friday: it’s time for the federal government to step in and manage its forests because their state resources are running on empty.

In 2021, 83 large fires have burned more than 1.7 million acres in 13 states, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. Some 547,000 acres have been lost to fires in Oregon, where the state’s Bootleg Fire has swelled to 413,000 acres and has become the nation’s largest fire. While some 22,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel beat back the flames nationwide, states governments are calling on Biden to help them rewrite the nation’s firefighting playbook.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said as much to Biden on Friday at a virtual news briefing. More specifically, Newsom took aim at the U.S. Forest Service response to the Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe that grew to 625 acres before creeping into Nevada over little more than a three-week span this month. 

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Arizona Top Doctor to Step Down to Take New High-Profile Role

Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Wednesday that Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director, is leaving her position on August 27 to become chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. 

“When Cara Christ became a doctor, she did it to help others and save lives. That’s exactly what she’s done,” Ducey said in a news release. “She dedicated countless hours to protecting millions of Arizonans from the COVID-19 pandemic — and she’s done it with grace, stability and confidence.”

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Commentary: With Arizona’s Election Audit Completed, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Michigan Could be Next

Arizona likely has gotten the most attention because it has moved the furthest along in pursuing an audit. Most of the other states discussing audits have not taken concrete action to get started yet, while Arizona’s audit is almost complete.

Arizona’s audit has focused on Maricopa County. In the run-up to the 2020 election, many experts saw Maricopa as a bellwether county for the winner of the state and the election itself. Maricopa is Arizona’s largest county and accounts for over half of the state’s population. Joe Biden carried the county, and with it the state.

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Enforcement of Arizona Senate’s Maricopa Subpoena ‘Unlikely’ with Reported GOP Holdout

The enforcement of the Arizona Senate’s second subpoena of election materials from the state’s Maricopa County depends upon achieving a majority vote in the chamber that one Republican senator says is “unlikely” due to a reported GOP holdout.

State Senate Republicans this week issued a fresh subpoena to the county, demanding a fresh wave of documents related to the 2020 election there as an ongoing forensic audit of results approaches a conclusion.

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COVID-19 Cases Barely Pass 1,000 Per Day in Arizona

Despite fears that COVID-19 cases are surging in Arizona due to the state’s low vaccination rate and the emergence of the delta variant, new cases barely exceed 1,000 per day. The most recent data from Worldometer, which is cited by reputable organizations and governments around the world, shows the number of new daily cases was 1,043 on July 21. The number of new cases has stayed generally between 500 and 1,000 since the beginning of March.

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Urges Continuation of Title 42 Border Restrictions

Gov. Ducey Title 42

Gov. Doug Ducey has called on Arizona’s congressional delegation to urge the Biden administration to maintain Title 42 restrictions, which allow federal officials to prohibit entry into the U.S. for those posing a potential health risk.

“I am writing to you today to share details of the impact this dangerous and misguided idea would have on Arizona and to request your assistance on behalf of the people of Arizona in urging the Biden administration to maintain these critical protections,” Ducey wrote last week in a letter to Arizona’s 11 members of Congress.

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Criminal Justice Reform Champion Rep. Walt Blackman Jumps into Arizona Congressional Race

Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) is running for Congress in Arizona’s first Congressional district. The seat, which encompasses much of the northeast part of the state, is currently held by Tom O’Halleran, a former Republican turned moderate Democrat.

“We need to get back to the rule of law of Arizona to protect its people,” the Arizona legislator said in a video discussing his run on July 18.

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