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US sending Mexican migrants 1,000 miles from border

PHOENIX (AP) — The Trump administration says it's sending Mexicans who cross the border in Arizona on flights to the central Mexico city of Guadalajara — roughly 1,000 miles away. The announcement Tuesday as more and more Mexicans have been coming to the border. Many are fleeing extreme violence and threats in southern Mexico. Mexicans accounted for half of the arrests and people stopped at the U.S. border in December, more than three times more than any other nationality and a shift from much of last year, when Guatemala and Honduras were the top countries of origin.


Arizona bill banning sex ed before 7th grade going nowhere

PHOENIX (AP) — A conservative Arizona Republican senator who was pushing a contentious proposal barring any sexual education instruction for students before the 7th grade is conceding that her proposal stands no chance of advancing. Sen. Sylvia Allen told a large group of parents and other opponents of current state sex ed rules Tuesday that she wasn't giving up. She said liberal opponents falsely claimed it would ban any mention of homosexuality. She said all she wants is more transparency and parental choice. Opponents called her proposal unneeded in a state where parents have to approve having their children take sex ed classes.


New utility chief: No spending on election of regulators

PHOENIX (AP) — The new chief executive of Arizona's largest electric utility says the company will not spend money to influence elections for the company's regulators. Arizona Public Service CEO Jeff Guldner told the Corporation Commission Tuesday that APS and its parent company, Pinnacle West, will not directly or indirectly support any candidates for the commission. In 2014, APS broke with its precedent and secretly spent more than $3 million to support its favored candidates for the Corporation Commission. It openly spent more than $4 million on commission races two years later.


Report: Arizona teaching vacancies continue to rise

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A new report says teaching vacancies throughout Arizona have increased by more than 150 positions compared to last year. Arizona Daily Star reports that the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association released the report last week saying a quarter of teaching positions in the state are vacant. The report identified 1,846 vacancies out of the 209 school districts and charter schools that participated in the statewide survey. The survey found about 1,000 teachers statewide either abandoned or resigned from their teaching positions during the first half of the school year. The report also found that about 4,000 or half the teaching positions are filled by teachers who do not meet the state's certification requirements.


Lawyers unable to reach new deal over inmate care in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — Attorneys trying to renegotiate a settlement over health care in Arizona’s prisons say they’re unable to reach a new deal. A judge will now decide whether to order more mediation sessions or toss the earlier agreement and schedule a trial. The negotiations were ordered after the judge criticized the state’s failure to fulfill its promises to improve inmate care. Attorneys for the inmates said Monday that they want a trial. The state is seeking more mediation. Its failure to comply with the settlement led to a 2018 contempt-of-court finding against the then-corrections chief and a $1.4 million fine. A judge has threatened more fines.


Kelly tops McSally in fundraising for Arizona Senate race

Democratic challenger Mark Kelly has again topped Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally's fundraising in one of the top 2020 Senate races. The retired astronaut's campaign said Tuesday that he raised $6.3 million in the fourth quarter and had $13.6 million in the bank at the end of 2019. McSally's campaign says she raised $4 million during the last three months of the year and had $7.6 million in the bank. The totals do not include millions more in spending by outside groups looking to influence a race that could help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.


Group: Cattle hooves, manure spoiling Southwest US waterways

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Environmentalists are suing the federal government to keep livestock away from rivers and streams in two national forests in New Mexico and Arizona. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week. The group argues the agencies aren't doing enough to ensure cows aren't pushing threatened and endangered species into extinction. It's an argument the group made in a courtroom more than 20 years ago. In that case, the Forest Service agreed to remove cattle from much of the riparian areas across hundreds of grazing allotments.


Couple accused of child abuse after month-old boy found dead

PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix couple are accused of child abuse following the death of a month-old child and the discovery of their four other young children in grim conditions in their motel room. Court records say 38-year-old Donald Roy Ferguson and 29-year-old Emmaline Amelia Ramirez were arrested Jan. 7 on suspicion of seven counts of child abuse. An autopsy didn't find that the child found dead was had injuries but police say another month-old child and a 15-month-old boy had serious head injuries. Police say state child protection workers who removed the surviving children reported finding conditions that including a lice infestation and insects crawling out of ears. Court records don't list defense attorneys for Ferguson and Ramirez who could comment on the allegations.