Weekend Wrap: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from June 14-16

Jun 16, 2024, 6:00 PM

Bipartisan state budget of $16 billion passes in Arizona Legislature...

Arizona lawmakers approved a new state budget that closes its $1.4 billion deficit. (Arizona Senate Democrats photo)

(Arizona Senate Democrats photo)

PHOENIX — From Arizona lawmakers passing a controversial state budget to a fire blazing north of Fountain Hills, here are some of the biggest news stories in the Valley over the weekend.

Arizona lawmakers pass bipartisan $16.1 billion budget, fix $1.4 billion deficit

The Arizona Legislature passed a controversial bipartisan state budget on Saturday evening.

Lawmakers worked late into the night to discuss how they would close the $1.4 billion deficit.

The new $16.1 billion budget fixes the shortfall by slashing spending on higher education and various state agencies.

Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, teamed up with two GOP leaders to negotiate the 16-bill package: Senate President Warren Petersen House Speaker Ben Toma.

Arizona AG ‘extremely disappointed’ with state budget cuts to opioid settlement funds

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is “extremely disappointed” with the state’s new budget, particularly the plan to reallocate opioid settlement funds to the Department of Corrections.

“This is an egregious grab,” Mayes said in a Saturday announcement. “I will do everything in my power to protect these opioid settlement funds for all Arizonans.”

These funds come from nationwide settlements of over $50 billion that pharmaceutical companies accused of perpetuating the opioid epidemic have agreed to pay.

Of that amount, $1.14 billion in settlement funds go to Arizona. Over 90 cities and towns — along with all of the state’s 15 counties — agreed on a plan to allocate those funds: the One Arizona Agreement.

Bartlett Lake recreational areas north of Fountain Hills evacuated for Riverside Fire

The recreational areas near Bartlett Lake have been evacuated as firefighters battle the Riverside Fire north of Fountain Hills, officials said Sunday.

Additionally, Bartlett Dam Road was closed at Service Road 205.

Firefighters from the Cave Creek Ranger District are on the scene, assisted by three hotshot crews, four new super scoopers, eight fire engines, two water tenders and two Type 1 helicopters.

Police disclose more details regarding death of Scottsdale detective

Law enforcement authorities on Friday night disclosed more information about the death of Scottsdale Police detective Ryan So on Thursday.

The Mesa Police Department, which is investigating So’s death, said that after a search warrant and arrest operation, detectives from the Special Assignment Unit were unloading equipment from a vehicle.

While So was moving a bag from the vehicle, a rifle within the bag fell to the ground, hit the pavement and discharged, striking So.

Other detectives on the scene, near 76th Street and Greenway Hayden Loop, immediately rendered aid to So, who later died at a hospital.

Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Point Trail to close starting June 21

A popular trail at the Grand Canyon will become temporarily unavailable to visitors starting next week.

The Bright Angel Point Trail on the North Rim, which leads to Bright Angel Point, will be closed for construction starting Friday, June 21.

The trail is located a quarter of a mile from the Grand Canyon Lodge. It’s generally known as the first scenic viewpoint visitors experience after arriving at the North Rim.

The trail will be closed to all pedestrian traffic as the National Park Service (NPS) replaces asphalt, moves large rocks and operates equipment in the area.

The project is expected to be completed by November.

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Weekend Wrap: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from June 14-16