Here’s some of what happened Thursday at the State Legislature:

The Senate Education Committee passes a bill that goes to the heart of the continuing power feud between the State Board of Education and Superintendent Diane Douglas. S-B 1416 gives the Board authority to supervise its employees.

The Superintendent would also not direct Board employee work. Douglas argues this bill is much worse than another remedial bill last year because, she says, it strips her, an elected official, of all her powers. But Senator Jeff Dial says his bill is only intended to clarify what the constitution says about allocating powers.

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The Senate unanimously O.K.’s a package of bills designed to overhaul Arizona’s pension system for police and firefighters. The bills include changes such as a lower annual funding cap, raising retirement age from 52 to 55, and placing new hires in a fifty-fifty cost sharing arrangement.

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A bill that would criminalize collecting someone’s ballot passes the Arizona House Thursday. Under H-B 2320, you could face one year in jail and a 150-thousand dollar fine for picking up and delivering a mail-in ballot, unless you’re a relative or caregiver. Scottsdale Republican Michelle Ugenti Rita says the bill is meant to cut on voter fraud, and rebukes critics that 30 days is plenty of time to drop your ballot in the mail. But rural Democrats argue their constituents don’t have the convenience of a mail box close by or transportation to the post office and must depend on someone who can deliver their ballot.

–Barbara Villa

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