- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - With a state budget passed, the Arizona Legislature on Wednesday began rushing to complete its yearly work by the end of the week, considering dozens of the hundreds of bills that still need votes.

Lawmakers worked into the early morning hours Wednesday before passing the $9 .6 billion spending plan, which now awaits Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature.

They returned at midday with the goal of tackling dozens of votes in each chamber. Bills on new high interest rate loans, a series of tax cuts, allowing guns in public buildings and regulations on drones were up for votes.

That didn’t come to pass, with the Senate calling it a day without considering the so-called “flex loan” bill or the drone legislation.

But lawmakers in the Senate did narrowly defeat the bill allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring their guns into most public buildings. Senate Bill 1257 could return for a reconsideration vote.

Those against the bill say local cities and towns should make the decision while Republican supporters say signs aren’t enough.

“It’s not guns that harm people. It’s people with ill intent that harm people,” Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, said during the vote.

Also going down in the House was a bill that would stiffen sentences for immigrants in the country illegally.

Republican Sen. Steve Smith of Maricopa said his measure essentially would make it impossible for immigrants in the country illegally to receive any leniency in the courts when they commit serious crimes.

Senate Bill 1377 would require people who break immigration laws and are found guilty of felonies to serve at lease the presumptive terms without the possibility for probation or release.

The House failed to pass the proposal on a 32-28 vote but could still come back under rules that allow reconsideration of bills.

Also passed - and on the way to Ducey’s desk - were bills easing the assured water supply requirement for developers in two rural counties. The Legislature also approved a bill settling a yearlong fight between the state’s top elected school official and the Board of Education.

The Senate hopes to adjourn for the year by Thursday, but House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro says that’s an ambitious schedule and he’s not inclined to rush for rushing’s sake.

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