- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona lawmakers were working into the night to wrap up the 2016 legislative session Friday, but votes on more than 100 bills means it’s unlikely to end until the wee hours of the morning Saturday.

The Arizona House alone set Friday votes on more than 130 bills that had stacked up during the weeks a signing moratorium issued by Gov. Doug Ducey was in place. The Senate was waiting on return bills from the House after it voted on a couple dozen pieces of legislation and a contentious battle over a children’s health care proposal at midday.

The Senate action on the legislation restoring KidsCare insurance for about 30,000 low-income children left some Republicans who opposed the measure with hard feelings. That’s because a coalition of Republicans and Democrats voted to suspend the rules to move the legislation after Senate President Andy Biggs refused to put it up for a vote.

“What we are faced with now is frankly great harm to the institution, to the process,” Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough said. “To the way the Legislature works. That’s what is being harmed here.”

Backers said they did what was needed to get needy children insured. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the measure into law hours after it passed.

Republicans who control both chambers sent Ducey a $9.6 billion state budget package earlier in the week. The spending plan for the budget year that starts July 1 awaits his expected signature early next week.

Among the legislation moving forward Friday was a bill easing rules on anonymous political spending ahead of the state’s 2016 primary election. The proposal could have a significant impact on upcoming state elections as it includes an amendment borrowing language from a sweeping campaign finance overhaul that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed earlier this session.

The Legislature also sent Ducey a bill repealing two measures he signed that target abortion or abortion providers. Both were considered indefensible in court.

Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin also was freed from a conflict of interest that stems from his son-in-law’s job for a solar company. Solar firms and utilities have been feuding, and the conflict has kept him from voting on some electric utility matters.

Other bills of note that went to the governor included a measure prohibiting cities and towns from requiring employers to provide sick, vacation and severance pay and legislation barring cities and town from banning short-term rentals on lodging websites such as Airbnb.

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