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Strikers 

A striker is an entirely new law that replaces one that has already made it through committee cycle. It's a way for last-minute or controversial laws to avoid the cumbersome legislative process of hearings and public input.

The most notorious striker in recent years was the infamous alt-fuel bill, which started out as a bill to support carpool lanes and clean air. At the end of the session, sleazy House Speaker Jeff Groscost, aided by a salesman of propane-fueled vehicles, added a provision that essentially bought a new car for Arizona citizens who modified it to run on alternative fuels such as propane. The program was supposed to cost about $10 million annually, but was swamped by people--including at least four lawmakers--who wanted to cash in on the generous giveaway. Before lawmakers hastily curtailed the program, the cost to the state treasury was at least $110 million, which was drawn from the state's rainy-day reserve fund. (Lawsuits are still pending by people who missed the opportunity to take advantage of the generous government program.)

Later that year, Groscost conclusively proved that no lawmaker is absolutely bulletproof. The Mesa Republican lost his bid for a state Senate seat to Democrat Jay Blanchard, an ivory tower ASU professor who had never sought public office, in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1. Blanchard's upset win tipped the even 15-15 balance in the Senate, but, as we've mentioned above, that's over with the end of this session.

More by Jim Nintzel

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