Arizona Ballot Initiative Proposed to Cap In-State Tuition

Categories: News

Nick Schweitzer
An organization is working on a proposal to cap in-state tuition rates at Arizona's universities.

The group, Save Our Students, is hoping to gather enough signatures to get the proposal on 2016 ballots.

"A large number of students get priced out for every increase there is," Save Our Students president Matthew Capalby tells New Times. "The Legislature and unforuntely now the governor seem to ignore . . . the Arizona Constitution that says higher education needs to be 'as nearly free as possible.'"

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Darren Sharper Gets Nine Years in Prison for Sex Crimes

Categories: News

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper was sentenced today in Maricopa County to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to two sex crimes.

Sharper was accused of drugging drinks and sexually assaulting two women in a Tempe apartment in late 2013, and this morning pleaded guilty to sexual assault and attempted sexual assault.

Sharper faces similar accusations and charges in several other states.

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Cleaning Company to Pay at Least $250,000 for Hiring Undocumented Workers

Categories: Immigration

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A Valley-based company that specializes in cleaning LDS temples and churches will pay at least $250,000 to the federal government for hiring undocumented immigrants, its owner says.

Joel Votaw, operating officer and founder of Valley View Building Services, tells New Times the payment will be part of a deal still in the making with the feds. Last week, the federal government filed forfeiture paperwork in the five-year-old case for "a monetary judgment of not less than $250,000," which represents the profit made by the company made from its violations.

The case stems back to a 2010 raid by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office that resulted in five arrests, including that of one undocumented suspect who'd been providing cleaning services at Fort Huachua, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

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"No to Loan Sharks!" in Arizona, Community, Faith Leaders Say

Elizabeth Stuart

A bill that would put an end to a nearly five-year ban on payday lending is languishing in the Arizona Senate after narrowly slipping through the House with a 31-29 vote.

Still, about two dozen legislators, faith leaders, and community activists gathered in a gravel parking lot sandwiched between two auto-title loan offices Friday to protest the proposal.

"I won't believe the bill is dead until they adjourn the session," said Kathy Jorgensen, a member of the board of directors at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix, who attended the rally. "It's like zombie land up there at the legislature. You think you've killed something and it comes back."

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10 Types of People You'll See in Downtown Phoenix

Categories: Top Lists

Alan Stark
There are some common types of people you'll see in Downtown Phoenix.

Below, check out the 10 types of downtowners you'l'l see most often:

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Arpaio Needs "Skin in the Game," Says Judge, Before Any Civil Contempt Settlement

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During a hearing in federal court in Phoenix on Friday, Judge G. Murray Snow said more than once that Sheriff Joe Arpaio would have to have "skin in the game" as part of any settlement agreement in contempt allegations against Arpaio and four current and former high-ranking MCSO deputies.

Snow was addressing a surprise admission of guilt this week by Arpaio and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan that they committed civil contempt of the judge's orders in the ACLU's big racial profiling case Melendres v. Arpaio.

Sheridan and Arpaio are looking to head off a four-day civil trial scheduled for late April, which could result in the referral of the matter to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible criminal contempt proceedings.

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Joe Arpaio Tries Diverting Media from Guilt Admission, ACLU Still Wants April Hearing

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So what do you do if you've just undercut more than two decades of selling yourself to the public as "America's Toughest Sheriff" with a groveling admission to a federal judge that you're guilty of civil contempt and are ready to bend over for punishment?

If you're Sheriff Joe Arpaio, you raid a cat lady's house and blow out of proportion a few cockamamie death threats against you.

It's a classic move by ol' Joe, one he and his top flack Lisa Allen have pulled so many times over the years that you'd think the local media would see it coming.

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Ban on Ballot Collection Voted Down by Arizona Lawmakers

Categories: Arizona Capitol

Tom Arthur
Arizona lawmakers yesterday rejected another attempt to ban the practice of people collecting others' election ballots to turn in.

Such a practice was utilized by the group Citizens for a Better Arizona during the successful 2012 recall of then-Senate President Russell Pearce. CBA workers collected early-voting ballots from voters who agreed to have their completed ballot hand-delivered to elections officials to make sure it was counted.

A ban on such a practice was included in 2013's House Bill 2305, a Republican-backed package of changes to election law. Seeing that Democrats, third-party supporters, and other non-Republicans had enough support to put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide, the Republican-led Legislature repealed the whole law last year, but Democrats have kept their eye out for any attempts to pass parts of this bill again.

Such an attempt was made yesterday, in which the House Elections Committee voted on a proposal to make it a felony to collect someone else's ballot. A Republican vote against the bill spelled failure.

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Phoenix to Investigate Airport Employee's Involvement with Flight-Path Changes

Categories: News

Evie Carpenter

An employee with the Phoenix Aviation Department might have known more about the Sky Harbor flight path changes than was originally thought.

In a memo sent to the mayor and City Council members yesterday, City Manager Ed Zuercher wrote that the city was "told that there was no authorization or endorsement of the FAA changes" by the Aviation Department, "and that now appears to be potentially false."

In the past, Aviation Department officials have maintained that only "technical experts" knew "technical details" about the changes, but this new revelation prompted "enough concern to launch an investigation," explains Deborah Ostreicher, spokeswoman for the City Manager's Office.

The question arose during an Aviation Noise and Air Quality Symposium held earlier this month. "An FAA employee made public comments that caused renewed concern regarding the level of Phoenix staff's knowledge about or participation in the FAA's planned flight path changes," the memo states.

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Maricopa County Emergency-Homeless-Shelter Plan for Phoenix Coming Soon

Categories: News

Miriam Wasser

"The East Lot is going to continue as long as we need it."

That's the message Bruce Liggett, director of the Maricopa County Human Services Department, wants to make loud and clear.

He's aware of the rumor that the Central Arizona Shelter Services, the nonprofit that manages the Men's Overflow Shelter and adjacent East Lot in downtown Phoenix, is abandoning the property soon. But, he and others emphasize, it's just a rumor. "Nobody needs to ring an alarm."

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Glendale Judge Didn't Know Sean Pearce Speeding Case Involved a Death

Categories: Arpaio

Deputy Sean Pearce's speeding case went into overtime last week after a Glendale city judge said he discovered only recently that a death was involved.

Pearce, a veteran Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detective and the son of recalled State Senator Russell Pearce, was on duty when he plowed into a small SUV on December 16, 2013, killing 63-year-old John Edward Harding.

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Maricopa County Mugshots of the Week: Swagger or Something

At the end of the week, we bring you a roundup of visitors to the desert's own Fourth Avenue Jail. To be considered for our Maricopa County mugshots of the week, get arrested, strike a pose, and we'll take care of the rest.

This week, our alleged offenders all have some swagger . . . or something.

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Doug Ducey's Power Grab Continues, Mark Brnovich Pushes Back

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Some hot, Republican-on-Republican action broke out Wednesday in a state Senate Government Committee hearing, as Senator John Kavanagh offered a "strike all" amendment to House Bill 2420 that creates a state Inspector General's Office, with wide police powers, beholden only to the governor.

As I recently reported, the Ducey administration says it wants this new IG's office, with its subpoena power and its authority over existing IGs in various department of state government, so Ducey can root out waste, mismanagement, and corruption.

IG investigators would have badges, and employees of state government would have to cooperate with them or face sanctions. The IG will be able to conduct criminal investigations, but its employees will not be certified by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board.

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Arizona House Committee OKs Proposal to Block Federal Gun Laws

Rod Waddington/Flickr

An Arizona House committee passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit state agencies and employees from enforcing any new federal "act, law, order, rule or regulation" restricting gun ownership or ammunition.

Senate Bill 1330 prevents the federal government from forcing Arizona to use resources and manpower to enforce federal laws, said state Senator Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City), who introduced the legislation. It does not, however, block state agencies from "voluntarily" entering into agreements.

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Ryan Giroux's Past Full of Violence and Meth Use

Categories: News

Court records show that violence and meth use are constants throughout the life of Ryan Giroux, the man accused of shooting six people in Mesa, killing one, on Wednesday.

After an arrest last year, Giroux's probation officer wrote to the court that Giroux "took it upon himself" to get mental-health treatment and started to get the white supremacist tattoos removed from his face.

However, even as recently as last year, Giroux tested positive for meth as part of his probation. Court records show that Giroux, 41, has been using meth and other drugs on-and-off for the majority of his life.

"By the defendant's own admission, he has the propensity to become violent when he is either intoxicated or using illegal drugs," says a report from his probation officer last year. "He has a long arrest history that demonstrates violent behavior."

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Arizona Lawmakers Pass New Tax Break for Religious Groups

Categories: Arizona Capitol

Matthew Hendley
The Arizona Senate yesterday passed a bill that creates a new tax break for certain religious groups.

A version of the bill, which is being pushed by the notorious Center for Arizona Policy, was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer after it was passed by lawmakers last year. Now it's up to Governor Doug Ducey to decide whether this bill becomes law.

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White Supremacist Suspected of Shooting Six People in Mesa

Categories: News

A man with white-supremacist tattoos on his face is the man police believe shot six people in Mesa today, killing one person.

Ryan Giroux, age 41, has been identified as the suspect, and was arrested by Mesa police this afternoon after an hours-long manhunt.

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Arizona Citizens Speak Out Against "Secret Police Bill"

Categories: Arizona Capitol

Miriam Wasser
Lawrence Robinson, professor at Arizona Summit Law School, addresses the crowd.

Update 3/17/15 7:30 p.m.: An amendment to SB 1445 passed in the House Wednesday afternoon. The vote was 44 to 13, with three members not voting. (View the full voting breakdown here)

Original story follows:

Community leaders and members of the ACLU gathered on the capital lawn this morning to speak out against SB 1445, a controversial bill that "limits the release of the name of a peace officer who is involved in a use of deadly physical force incident for 60 days."

It's scheduled to be read for the third time this afternoon in the House, where it's expected to pass and soon move on to the Governor's office.

Community member Channel Powe said the bill is "a black eye on Arizona." She urged lawmakers to vote against this "immoral and unconstitutional" measure that "limits transparency and promotes discrimination."

Arizona ACLU Executive Director, Alessandra Soler, called the bill "un-American" for "taking away the public's right to know." (An earlier version of the bill actually mandated that the names be kept secret for 90 days.) She and others say that secrecy brews distrust, and that the bill "creates a secret police force, which is the antithesis of democracy."

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Abortion Queen Cathi Herrod Is Back With Another Sick Piece of Legislation Endangering Women and the Doctors Who Serve Them

GOP legislators shamelessly bow and scrape before Cathi Herrod.
Without abortion and gay sex, Cathi Herrod would cease to exist, melting like the Wicked Witch of the West hit with a torrential downpour.

Why, the more sodomy, scissoring, and pregnancy terminations there are, the better off Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, is.

See, her six-figure salary at the far-right, evangelical Christian "nonprofit" depends on her fanning the flames of hatred against gays and railing against the evils of not carrying a pregnancy to term.

Ironically (or not, depending on how you look at it), you could say Herrod's doing a dang good job of keeping the abortion rate high in Arizona.

According to Planned Parenthood, nearly 30 pieces of CAP-backed legislation restricting abortion have been introduced at the state Legislature since 2009.

In that time, the number of abortions performed in the state has increased from more than 10,000 in 2009 to more than 13,000 in 2013.

Herrod contends this rise is because of a change in reporting requirements that occurred in 2010.

Sure it is, Cathi. (Wink.)

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Doug Ducey Seeks Expansion of Executive Power in State Inspector General Bill

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Those allegedly small-gub'mint Republicans are at it again in the state legislature, proposing a brand spankin' new law enforcement agency, beholden only to the governor, and apparently exempt from state public records law.

The proffered legislation comes in the form of a "strike everything" amendment from state Senator John Kavanaugh (on behalf of Governor Doug Ducey) to House Bill 2420, which would create an "office of the inspector general" to investigate fraud, waste and mismanagement in state government.

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