Government and Politics
4:58 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Oregon Lawmakers: No Food Stamps For Lottery Jackpot Winners

Credit Beth77 / Flickr

Oregon lawmakers decided Wednesday to make it less likely for people who win big at the Oregon Lottery to keep getting public assistance.

The Lottery likes to dangle the possibility of winning big bucks in front of its players. But a 2013 state audit found that in one two-year period, hundreds of Oregonians continued to receive food stamps despite winning lottery payouts of $5,000 or more.

Republican Representative Andy Olson said it went up from there.

"There was one person who won more than $900,000,” Olson said. “So we had a little bit of a problem."

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Prickly Lettuce
6:56 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Common Weed Could Become New Northwest Cash Crop

Credit Flickr user nature80020 / Flickr

A common Northwest weed may be more valuable than we knew. Prickly lettuce, a weed found throughout the Northwest and beyond, is a nuisance to farmers and gardeners. But new research at Washington State University shows the weed could be a source of rubber.

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Oil Trains
4:56 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Puget Sound Tribe's Lawsuit Aims To Keep Oil Trains Off Its Reservation

The Swinomish Tribe said BNSF Railways doesn’t have permission for the increased oil train traffic because the company is putting the tribe’s way of life at risk.
Credit Michael Werner / EarthFix

A Puget Sound tribe filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court to stop oil trains from traveling through its reservation north of Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s train tracks cross the top of the Swinomish Reservation in Skagit County. In recent years they’ve been used to move oil from North Dakota to two refineries in Anacortes.

In 1990 BNSF and the Swinomish reached a settlement that required the railroad to regularly update the tribe on the type of cargo moving through the reservation. It also limited traffic to two 25-car trains per day.

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Cannabis Oil
7:19 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Idaho House

Idaho lawmakers passed a bill to allow parents to treat epileptic children with an oil extracted from cannabis.
Credit Symic / Flickr

Idaho lawmakers this Monday passed a bill to allow parents to treat epileptic children with an oil extracted from cannabis. Idaho’s House approved it 39 to 30 after more than an hour of intense debate.

Opponents argued the bill legalizes marijuana. The oil has small amounts of the chemical that makes pot users high. Iona Republican Thomas Loertscher said the bill was not about legalizing drug use but about easing children’s suffering.

“This is whether we want to measure what we do here with compassion, or whether we do what we do out of fear,” Loertscher says.

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Northwest News
6:56 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Speed Traps Lurk For Proposals To Increase Highway Speed Limits

The top speed limit in Oregon is 65, compared to 80 in neighboring Idaho.
Credit Curtis Perry / Flickr

We know the old saying that "speed kills" applies to people who drive recklessly. But does it also apply to legislation to raise highway speed limits? An interstate speed limit increase in Washington looks dead, but appears to have a chance in Oregon.

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Carbon Tax Initiative
6:47 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Group Launches Initiative For A Carbon Tax In Washington

Credit Kristen Steele / Flickr

If you’re at the Seattle Mariner’s game Monday afternoon you might run into some folks with clipboards. They’re gathering signatures for a new initiative for 2016 that would tax carbon emissions.

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Military Suicide
4:43 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Deployment Doesn't Increase Suicide Risk, Military Says

Joint Base Lewis-McChord headquarters.
Credit Flickr

The suicide rate among recent veterans is about 50 percent higher than non veterans with similar demographics. But a study published Wednesday found that deploying to a war zone didn't necessarily increase a service members' suicide risk.

The U.S. Department of Defense study examined data from nearly 4 million service members who served between 2001 and 2007. It found that of the 5,041 suicides by 2009, the service members who deployed were no more likely to kill themselves than those who had not deployed.

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Daughters of Hanford
7:10 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Daughters of Hanford: Manhattan Project Secretary Locked Up Secret Files At Night

Sue Olson, 94, was a Manhattan Project era secretary at Hanford during World War II. She locked her filing drawer anytime she left her office.
Credit Kai-Huei Yau

In World War Two, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was brand new. Sue Olson was there as a young secretary. She took shorthand, pumped out calculations and locked up top-secret papers. She's become known as one of the "Daughters of Hanford."

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Ridesharing Bill
5:58 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Bill To Require Rideshare Companies To Carry Insurance

Rideshare services and taxi companies in Washington would have to carry liability insurance under a bill heard Tuesday.
Credit Gero Breloer / Associated Press

Drivers for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft would have to carry liability insurance under a bill heard Tuesday in the Washington state House.

It’s the latest compromise in a months-long negotiation between state leaders, rideshare services and taxi companies.

State Senator Cyrus Habib first sponsored a bill to create an entire framework to regulate the companies – but that proved hard to move past other lawmakers. The Kirkland Democrat said the new version of his bill focuses on requiring insurance, which he said is the most important issue.

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Profiling Bill
7:26 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Salem Considers Profiling Complaint System

Salem lawmakers took up a bill yesterday that would require the state to set up a method for recording profiling complaints against law enforcement agencies.
Credit jimmywayne / Flickr

Lawmakers in Salem took up a bill yesterday that would require the state to set up a method for recording profiling complaints against law enforcement agencies.

According to the Center for Intercultural Organizing, Oregon is among just eight states that don't ban profiling.

According to the nonprofit, Oregon also has no way for people to document or report cases. Rather, the state leaves issues of profiling up to individual law enforcement agencies.

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