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NewsNet 04-08-14

ARIZONA LAWMAKERS APPROVE $9.23 BILLION BUDGET FOR THE COMING FISCAL YEAR - Senate Republicans yesterday agreed on a spending plan higher than they had originally wanted, but still less than sought by Gov. Jan Brewer and their House GOP counterparts. Among other things, the plan gives an extra $2 million to the University of Arizona over current funding and an identical amount to Arizona State University. That’s $500,000 less for each than the House plan but still more than the $1.3 million for each the Senate had been offering. Northern Arizona University will get $500,000. House and Senate leaders say they expect Brewer to sign the spending plan. Read more from Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star.

NOGALES PORT EXPANSION GETS ANOTHER BOOST - The U.S. government recently doubled the lanes for cargo and people at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, but there has been some uncertainty over whether the Port would add enough new inspectors to make those new lanes valuable. That uncertainty ended earlier this month when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decided to hire and train about 170 new Customs inspectors so the expanded Port facility can live up to its potential. Business leaders say the extra lanes help speed up distribution for items such as produce, but there are often bottlenecks in crossing the border, so the extra inspectors will help speed up the process. Read more from KGUN9.

PIMA COUNTY RECEIVES $5.4 MILLION FEDERAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANT - Pima County is the recipient of a $5.4 million grant to support a regional effort to train 940 young people for jobs in local technology industries. The Youth CareerConnect grant is one of 24 grants totaling $107 million nationwide. The grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is the only grant awarded in Arizona. The grant will allow certain employers who share a common skill shortage to work with workforce staff and K-12 and community college educators to align class offerings to meet workforce needs. The money also will be used for paid internships and mentoring.

PROTECTED BIKE LANES TESTED LAST WEEKEND - Sunday's Cyclovia event put the protected bike lane idea on display with wooden boxes lining a bike lane on Sixth Avenue. The street was already closed to traffic for the event, but the makeshift barriers gave cyclists an idea of what it would be like if they had a protected lane in traffic. "The key to biking and getting more people to bike is making them feel like they can bike safely," said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who spoke at the event. He said you may start seeing a lot more of those barriers. A portion of St. Marys Road, between Davis Street and Main Street, will have a barrier installed at the end of the month. Read more from KGUN9.

SHORT VIDEO ILLUSTRATES DANGER OF TEXTING AND DRIVING - The City of Tucson sends a message about the potential for tragedy associated with texting while driving, which is illegal in City limits. In addition to risking their own lives and the lives of others, motorists caught texting while driving are subject to a $100 fine, which increases to $250, if involved in an accident. View the video from Tucson 12.