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CHURCH ABUSE LAWSUIT-PHOENIX

Arizona church sued over decades-old abuse allegations

PHOENIX (AP) — New lawsuits allege two children were sexually abused by Catholic priests about 40 years ago and that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix covered up the abuse. Both lawsuits were brought Monday under a 2019 state law that extends the rights of people who say they were abused as children to sue until their 30th birthday —- a decade longer than before. The Phoenix diocese declined to comment on the specific allegations in both lawsuits. However, it said it stands with all those who grieve and suffer because of the abuse caused by clergy.

TAX CUT PROPOSALS

Arizona Republicans push tax cuts as state surplus soars

Arizona Republicans are pushing a series of large and small tax cuts as state revenues soar and money from new tax collections on out-of-state internet sales comes in higher than expected. The biggest tax cut plans making their way through the House of Representatives were debated Wednesday. They include a $100 million-a-year property tax cut for commercial and residential properties and a proposal to cut income taxes and eliminate a vehicle license fee that would cost $161 million in the first year. Minority Democrats are strongly opposed to most of the measures, saying schools and other state needs make it ill-advised.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-ARIZONA

1st McSally ad for 2020 race slams Kelly over impeachment

PHOENIX (AP) — Vulnerable Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally is attacking her Democratic opponent for supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump. McSally's first television ad of the election cycle began airing on Wednesday. It ties Democrat Mark Kelly to liberal members of Congress and the leaders of the Democratic efforts to impeach Trump and remove him from office. The ad also says Kelly is too liberal for Arizona. Kelly said after the Senate trial that he would have voted to convict Trump of abuse of power and impeding the Congressional investigation. McSally said the president acted inappropriately but his actions were not impeachable.

BANNING NATURAL GAS

Arizona legislation would block natural gas bans

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona cities and counties would not be allowed to ban new natural gas hookups under legislation moving through the Arizona Legislature. The House approved the measure on Wednesday in a 35-25 vote, and a similar bill is moving through the Senate. The push comes as more than a dozen cities in California have banned natural gas hookups in new construction to help combat climate change. Arizona Republicans say they want to head off a similar effort in Arizona because homeowners should be allowed to make the decision for themselves. Democrats say the state shouldn't tie the hands of cities and counties to do what they think is best.

ARIZONA LAWMAKER-ETHICS COMPLAINT

Law firm to investigate complaints about Arizona lawmaker

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona House of Representatives has hired a Phoenix law firm to investigate ethics complaints against Republican Rep. David Cook. The House said Wednesday the investigation will be led by Mark Kokanovich of the firm Ballard Spahr. Cook is accused of carrying out an extramarital affair that with an agricultural lobbyist and supporting legislation that she favored. He's denied crossing ethical boundaries. He's also accused of arranging a favor for the lobbyist's family from Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. The sheriff has denied the allegation. Kokanovich and his firm investigated ethics complaints last year against former Republican Rep. David Stringer. The firm's findings led Stringer to resign.

AP-US-NASA-CFO-RESIGNATION

Ex-Arizona treasurer to step down as NASA CFO to return home

PHOENIX (AP) — Former Arizona state Treasurer Jeff DeWit is stepping down as chief financial officer at NASA. His last day will be Thursday. DeWit said Wednesday he will return to Arizona and has no plans to seek another elected office. Instead, he says he will work in the private sector and try his attend all his three daughters’ sports and school events. DeWit served as chief operating officer for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He resigned as state treasurer in March 2018 after he was nominated by Trump to the post overseeing the space agency’s $22.6 billion budget.

JODI ARIAS-PROSECUTOR

Office: Arias prosecutor placed on paid administrative leave

PHOENIX (AP) — The homicide prosecutor who won convictions in the Jodi Arias murder case and other killings in metro Phoenix has been placed on paid administrative leave. Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer disclosed Juan Martinez's status late Tuesday in response to media inquiries but said the office wouldn't elaborate. Martinez attorney Donald Wilson Jr. declined to comment when contacted Wednesday by The Associated Press. Martinez was reassigned last September within the County Attorney's Office to mostly handle non-homicide cases, which the office said would give Martinez time and flexibility to resolve still-pending attorney ethics allegations against him. Arias is serving a life sentence in the 2008 killing of boyfriend Travis Alexander.

SCHOOL BURGLARY-LOCKDOWN

Burglary suspect spotted on roof; school placed on lockdown

PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix Police Department spokeswoman says a school was placed on lockdown Wednesday morning until police were able to remove and arrest a burglary suspect who was spotted on the roof. Sgt. Mercedes Fortune says the suspect refused to cooperate with officers who then resorted to use non-lethal means to take him into custody. The lockdown of Phoenix Christian Preparatory School was lifted after the suspect was removed from the roof.