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The Latest: Arizona House passes budget, pressures Senate

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Posted at 8:23 AM, May 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-25 11:23:30-04

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on action in the Arizona Legislature on a state budget (all times local):

4:45 a.m.

The Arizona House approved an $11.8 billion state budget in an overnight session that puts pressure on the deadlocked Senate to resolve an impasse.

House Republicans backed the budget package in party-line votes that finished shortly before 5 a.m. on Saturday. The Senate was scheduled to meet later Saturday for a third attempt to find sufficient support.

Democrats cried foul about last-minute changes to the spending plan. Those included changes to the elections budget for the secretary of state and a requirement for the attorney general to give legislative leaders all complaints he receives about political influence in schools.

At least three Republican senators are refusing to vote for the budget. With all Democrats in opposition, there aren't enough votes to approve it.

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3:30 a.m.

A Democratic lawmaker says an overnight addition to Arizona budget legislation could lead to harassment of teachers.

One of dozens of budget items adopted early Saturday would require the attorney general to forward to the governor and legislative leaders any complaints about the use of school resources to influence an election.

Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler says that "seems like a way to threaten, harass teachers." She worries teachers will be targeted for wearing red after last year's "red for ed" protests.

The attorney general is charged with investigating complaints about the misuse of school resources for politics. Butler says automatically forwarding those complaints to the Legislature and governor is worrisome.

Lawmakers are considering separate legislation to fine or otherwise punish teachers for getting too political in the classroom.