economy

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Legislature has passed and sent to the governor a measure to increase the tax on phone bills. The extra money raised will go to pay for 911 system upgrades. The increase amounts to 25 cents per line per month split between the state and individual counties. During the Washington House debate, Republican Representative Ed Orcutt and Democrat Christopher Hurst disagreed over the wisdom of the tax hike. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Washington's Secretary of Corrections will make the case Wednesday for permanent changes to the interstate compact on parolees. This stems from the murders of four Lakewood police officers last November by Arkansas parolee Maurice Clemmons.

The Idaho legislature adjourned for the year last night. Lawmakers spent much of the final day on a last-minute attempt to ban texting while driving. But in a surprise, the bill failed.

Supporters of a texting ban thought they had a compromise that would satisfy members of the House and the Senate. Each chamber had easily approved a bill that would have set fines at 50-dollars for the first texting ticket and 100-dollars for each subsequent one.

OLYMPIA, Wash. --Millions of Northwest electricity customers have the option to pay a little bit extra on their monthly bills to support “green energy.” In the coming years, that voluntary option could take a back seat to a mandatory, but invisible charge on electric bills. Policymakers along the West Coast are working on a new green energy incentive. It relies not on tax dollars, as is traditional, but rather on ratepayer dollars. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on how it would work.

Recently, Northwest Public Radio aired a profile about a family dairy as part of a series on the Northwest economy.It resulted in a flurry of comments from representatives of the dairy industry, and it spurred questions about the practices of pasteurization and homogenization. Mary Hawkins took the opportunity to speak with leading dairy expert, Stephanie Clark.Formerly with Washington State University, Dr. Clark is now an associate professor at Iowa State University, specializing in food science with a focus on dairy foods.

HELENA — A new federal Environmental Protection Agency study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 states, though those levels aren't considered dangerous in the Montana lakes tested.

According to the agency, the study marks the first time the EPA has been able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

Pages