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Weekend wrap-up: Biggest stories from past weekend in Arizona, nation

After a meeting voting to end net neutrality, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai answers a question from a reporter, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PHOENIX — Just like 2017, this week is coming to a close.

There were several Arizona-related stories that made national headlines, including a high-profile malicious prosecution case between one of the sons of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Here are some of the biggest stories from the past weekend, both in Arizona and across the nation.

FCC removes net neutrality rules that guaranteed equal internet access

The Federal Communications Commission voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era net neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.

The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican who said his plan to repeal net neutrality will eliminate unnecessary regulation, called the internet the “greatest free-market innovation in history.”

Several Arizona politicians, including Rep. Andy Biggs, praised the move, saying the agency “rightly stopped federal regulators from controlling our internet.”

Arizona settles with blood-testing firm, thousands to receive refund checks

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said more than 76,000 checks worth an average of $61 will be mailed to Arizonans who had blood work done at health-tech company Theranos, Inc.

“[Unsolicited checks] are usually some of kind of scam, but I will tell you what — if you get a check with our logo on it with a letter explaining … that check is OK,” Brnovich told KTAR News 92.FM’s Arizona Morning News.

The refunds checks were the $4.6 million settlement reached in April over inaccurate testing conducted from 2013 to 2016. Clients will receive a full refund of their test costs and one will receive $3,400.

Arizona politicians will not trigger ‘resign-to-run’ law for Franks’ seat

The Arizona Legislature’s nonpartisan legal counsel said the state’s “resign to run” law won’t be triggered if sitting lawmakers want to seek the U.S. House seat vacated by Trent Franks.

The nonbinding memo from the Legislative Council issued comes as confusion over the state constitutional provision hangs over several Republican members of the Legislature who are running or considering running for the seat.

Phoenix jury sides with Joe Arpaio in malicious-prosecution case

Jurors in Phoenix determined that former sheriff Joe Arpaio did not maliciously build an animal-cruelty case against a son of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.

Austin Flake’s lawsuit had accused Arpaio of malicious prosecution in the case of the deaths of 21 dogs at a Gilbert kennel in 2014.

Flake and his now ex-wife Logan Brown had sought monetary compensation, citing emotional distress.

Trent Franks denies claim he improperly nixed woman’s job offer

Former Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) denied inviting a woman over to his home for an interview while she was under consideration for a job working for the then-lawmaker.

According to the Washington Post, the woman, Melissa Richmond, said Franks called her and invited her over to his home “late” on a Sunday night about eight years ago.

Richmond, then 23, said Franks commented that his family wasn’t home that night and asked her to come over for “a final one-on-one interview” for a summer internship at the congressman’s office.

When she declined, Franks rescinded the internship offer, according to Richmond.

In a text message to a Washington Post reporter, Franks denied the latest allegations.

“I can categorically state that I have never invited any person applying for any job in my office to be interviewed in my home,” Franks said.

Phoenix metro area receives overnight rain showers

Overnight storms dropped more than a quarter inch of rain in parts of the Phoenix metro area early Sunday with more expected through the middle of the day, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain gauges in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Mesa received from 0.30 inches to 0.40 inches before sunrise.

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will happily settle for second.

Rian Johnson’s second installment in the third “Star Wars” trilogy rocketed to a debut of $220 million at the North American box office, according to studio estimates.

That gives “The Last Jedi” the second-best opening ever, slotting in behind only its predecessor, “The Force Awakens.”

Sen. John McCain ‘doing well,’ but will return to Arizona, miss tax bill vote

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is “doing well,” despite his recent hospitalization due to the side effects of his cancer treatment, but is expected to miss this week’s tax bill vote.

“I’m happy to say that he’s doing well,” Ben Domenech, Meghan McCain’s husband, said on CBS News’ Face The Nation.

It was not clear when McCain would return to Washington, D.C., but President Donald Trump told reporters that McCain would come back if Republicans needed his vote to pass the bill.

Atlanta airport power outage to affect handful of Sky Harbor flights

A power outage at an Atlanta international airport will affect a handful of Valley flights, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport officials said.

The power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday halted all outgoing flights from the airport.

That has caused minor delays for Southwest flights at Sky Harbor, as well as one canceled inbound flight for later tonight.

Delta Airlines had three outbound and two inbound flights delayed at the Phoenix airport. American Airlines had one inbound and one outbound flight cancelled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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