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US Sen. McSally of Arizona calls CNN reporter 'liberal hack'

Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona called a CNN reporter who asked her about the impeachment of President Donald Trump “liberal hack." McSally refused to answer Thursday when CNN reporter Manu Raju asked whether the Senate should consider new evidence as part of its impeachment trial. Her campaign quickly sought to raise money over the episode. She sent a fundraising pitch to her email list. McSally is facing a tough election to hold on to her seat. She was appointed to it after Sen. John McCain's death. McSally had lost a tight 2018 race for Arizona's other Senate seat.


Trial on Border Patrol conditions continues after inspection

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A judge overseeing the trial to examine allegations of unsafe and freezing conditions in some Border Patrol facilities in Arizona gave a brief synopsis Thursday of his last-minute inspection at Tucson station. Judge David C. Bury gave a brief description of the holding cells and items that are handed out to migrants who are apprehended, such as sleeping mats. The case is limited to the Tucson Sector but is indicative of the issues the agency faces when large numbers of immigrants cross the border and the government is strapped for resources, forcing many to wait extended periods of time in facilities that are meant for short-term detention.


Official says Phoenix airport ride-hailing fee is illegal

PHOENIX (AP) — The state attorney general says a new $4 fee on Uber and Lyft rides to and from Phoenix airport is “very likely” unconstitutional. The determination ups the ante in the showdown that has led the ride-hailing giants to threaten to abandon the airport service.  Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Thursday the fees approved by the Phoenix City Council violated a 2018 ballot measure prohibiting higher taxes on services. He says he'll ask the Arizona Supreme Court for a final determination. Lawyers for Phoenix say the higher fees are permissible charges for businesses to use the city-owned airport.


Arizona-based health care provider settles with Medicaid

PHOENIX (AP) — An embattled Phoenix-based health care company has announced it will keep its Medicaid contract under certain conditions after reaching a settlement with a federal agency. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in June said it would terminate its contract with Hacienda HealthCare amid two cases involving patient safety problems. Hacienda appealed the termination. Medicaid officials say Hacienda failed to meet basic health and safety requirements in cases involving a 29-year-old patient who was raped and gave birth in 2018, and a 28-year-old male patient who was discovered with maggots, Hacienda declined Wednesday to comment on the agreement.


Court upholds Pinal County sales tax for transportation

PHOENIX (AP) — A new Arizona court ruling upholds a half-cent sales tax for Pinal County transportation projects, a levy that county voters approved in 2017 but that was later overturned by a trial judge. An Arizona Court of Appeals panel's decision Thursday says the scope of the measure complied with state law. State Tax Court Judge Christopher Whitten had ruled against the county and in favor of taxpayer plaintiffs represented by the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based advocacy group. County officials envisioned money from the tax being used for projects such as a new freeway to connect Apache Junction with Interstate 10 and widening of State Route 347.


Juvenile corrections officer accused of sex with parolee

PHOENIX (AP) — A female Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections officer has been fired and arrested after being accused of having sex with an 18-year-old man now on parole. Officials say another officer accused 25-year-old Imarie Waller of having a relationship with the 18-year-old parolee who acknowledged there was a consensual relationship. Officials say there was no evidence of sexual conduct involving the two at the department's Adobe Mountain School. But they said the offender told investigators he had sex with Waller at a group home where he lived later while still under supervision. Waller was arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual conduct with a person in custody. Court records don't list an attorney for Waller who could comment on his behalf.


Joe Arpaio leads in fundraising in sheriff’s race with $656K

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Joe Arpaio is leading all candidates in the Maricopa County sheriff’s race in fundraising. The former six-term sheriff raised $351,000 from October through December and had a total of $656,000 in campaign funds at the beginning of 2020. Sheriff Paul Penzone, the Democrat who defeated Arpaio in 2016, reported $151,000 in contributions during the three-month period and has $270,000 in campaign funds. Jerry Sheridan, who is challenging his old boss in the Republican primary, had $14,000 in contributions during that period. Sheridan had $39,000 at the end of 2019.


Navajo Nation to lower flags in honor of tribal lawmaker

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A former Navajo Nation Council delegate is being remembered for his years of public service and inspiration to others. The tribe says a funeral for John Perry Jr. is scheduled Thursday morning at Cope Memorial Chapel in Gallup. Meanwhile, flags across the Navajo Nation will be lowered. Perry died earlier this month at the age of 71. Tribal officials say two other former Tribal Council members died this month. Benjamin Hogue, who served between 1963 and 1979, died Jan. 3 at age 88. James Tomchee, who served in the 1990s, died Jan. 7 at age 86.