In the run-up to the 2014 congressional and legislative elections, News21 examines the “arms race” between the gun control and gun rights advocacy forces, especially since Bloomberg consolidated some of the gun control groups and pledged $50 million for them this year alone, including their legal and tax status, finances, campaign contributions, interrelationships and rivalries, strategies and tactics.
News21 examines the recent expansion of Stand Your Ground laws, how they have been applied in cases where shooters claim self-defense and what investigations of the laws’ impact show. Since 2005, 31 states have adopted stronger self-defense laws. The laws have been invoked for everything from road rage ending in gunfire to suspected thieves shot to death as they tried to flee.
A federal task force identified sweeping shortfalls in the oversight of hazardous materials in the U.S., showing that short and long-term challenges exist to protect communities from the toxic and explosive chemicals stored at facilities across the nation and in Arizona.
Government agencies across the U.S. can’t regulate ammonium nitrate, the hazardous chemical compound that detonated in West, Texas, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds more, a congressional investigation has found. Emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels don’t know how many facilities in the U.S. store the hazardous chemical. A patchwork of outdated regulations, lack of communication between agencies, and a series of exemptions exist for reporting storage of ammonium nitrate, the U.S. Government Accountability Office report stated, which was publicly released May 21. These findings mirror a recent AZCIR and ABC15 investigation into Arizona oversight of ammonium nitrate.
Cronkite News Service: Yuma, Pinal and Coconino counties had Arizona’s worst overall election performances in 2012, according to a report released Thursday by a progressive advocacy group.
Phoenix area residents are expected to pay out $21 million for charges against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after a court ruled that his office racially profiled Latinos. “Maricopa County also would have to pick up an additional $10 million in staff and other costs each year beginning in mid-2015 to comply with the judge’s order against Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office,” according to the Associated Press.
An Arizona Republic investigation looked at Border Patrol incidents and found “on-duty Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed at least 42 people, including at least 13 Americans,” since 2005 with little public repercussions. The story package includes a glimpse into people killed due to rock-throwing, an interactive feature detailing these incident reports from 2010 to 2012, and a database of the full records of the 42 deaths.
A four-part series starts with the main findings of an Arizona Republic analysis of the state’s wildfires, which found these forests to be “dangerously overgrown.” According to the Republic, this hasn’t hindered development. “Since 1990 [Arizonans] built more than 230,000 homes and other structures in wildfire-prone areas, creating risks for themselves and the firefighters called upon to protect them.”
The Center for Public Integrity evaluated the disclosure rules for judges in the highest state courts nationwide. The level of disclosure in the 50 states and the District of Columbia was poor, with 43 receiving failing grades, making it difficult for the public to identify potential conflicts of interest on the bench.
The Arizona Lottery assures consumers in its ads that revenue from ticket purchases goes to education, health and public welfare, the environment and economic development. The Arizona Republic investigated and analyzed 30 years of lottery revenue data and found that of the funds generated in recent years, “less money has gone to those promised areas of focus, while more has gone toward prizes and retailer bonuses — and into the state’s general fund, where it is impossible to track how specific general-fund dollars are spent.”