Government and Politics

Washington State Damage Claims
6:16 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Wash. Pays Out $60 Million In Damages Over Past 12 Months

Washington State paid out millions in damage claims over the past year.
Tradnor Wikimedia Commons

Washington state paid out nearly $60 million in damage claims during the fiscal year that ends this month. Nearly a third of that went to one man – a motorist who was paralyzed in a traffic accident.

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Oregon State Representative
5:16 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Embattled Oregon State Rep Says He Won't Seek Re-Election

Some Oregon State House Democrats say they'll work to strengthen the chamber's rules about workplace harassment.
M.O. Stevens Wikimedia Commons

An embattled Oregon state Representative Matt Wingard says he won't seek re-election. Two-term Republican lawmaker Matt Wingard admitted to having a sexual relationship with a college-age employee who worked at his state capitol office.

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Washington State Parks Funding
6:15 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Wash. Lawmaker: Discover Pass For State Parks Should Be Temporary

Sales of the new $30 annual Discover Pass have not met early projections.
Washington State Parks

Washington’s new Discover Pass for state parks might end up being a temporary budget fix, rather than a long-term solution. At least that’s the hope of one key statehouse Democrat.

Representative Larry Seaquist remembers well when two of the state parks in his district were on the chopping block. That was a few years ago. So far, Washington has managed to avoid closing parks despite the after-effects of the Great Recession. That’s largely because of the new $30 annual Discover Pass. But sales did not meet early projections. Seaquist says ultimately he doesn’t think charging park-goers is the solution.

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Obama's Immigration Announcement
4:28 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Northwesterners Cheer, Jeer Obama's Immigration Announcement

President Barack Obama addresses the new Department of Homeland Security’s immigration policy.
The White House Northwest News Network

President Obama's announcement Friday that some young adults who came to this country illegally as children will get a reprieve from deportation has sparked strong reactions here in the Northwest.

Oregon and Washington groups opposed to illegal immigration strongly criticized the President's announcement. They said it was politically motivated. But those in the region who support an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws cheered.

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Oregon Counties Federal Aide
5:45 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Northwest Oregon Counties In Line For Federal Aid, But Will There Be More?

Northwest counties receiving the highest PILT payments from the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2012.
DOI

Cash strapped county budgets got word Thursday, that their annual federal aid check is coming through. But as it stands, this year’s payments in lieu of property taxes could be the last of their kind.

Nearly every county in the Northwest receives at least some money based on their population and how much nontaxable public land is within their borders. The program, called PILT for short expires this year. It’s up to congress to reauthorize it.

Gil Riddell, Policy Coordinator for the Association of Oregon Counties, predicts that despite congressional gridlock, the counties won’t be left out to dry.

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Idaho Budget
4:49 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Idaho Budget Writers Tour U- Idaho, Other North Idaho Locations

U- Idaho illustration of proposed integrated science research facility
Northwest News Network

Members of Idaho’s state legislative budget committee are on a fact- finding tour of locations in north central Idaho this week.  The delegation is making the rounds in places like Moscow and Orofino, with the intent being to better understanding issues and budget requests that will come up in the next legislative session.

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Immigrant Driver's License
4:31 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Wash. A.G. Debate Touches On Immigration; Driver’s Licenses

To get a driver’s license, most states require proof of citizenship. But not Washington.
Ildar Sagdejev Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday’s debate between candidates for Washington Attorney General touched briefly on the issue of immigration. Specifically, they addressed whether the state should require citizenship checks for driver’s licenses.

It’s a question that’s getting renewed attention, as election season moves into full swing.

To get a driver’s license, most states require proof of citizenship. But not Washington.

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Oregon Petitions
5:50 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Oregon Signature Collectors Near Deadline

Some Oregon petitions have gained enough signatures but others still need more to be put on the ballot this fall.
Wikimedia user M.O. Stevens Wikimedia Commons

Signature gatherers will be out in force in Oregon in the next few weeks. Groups are racing to beat a deadline early next month to submit enough names to get initiatives on the ballot this fall.

The man with a clipboard gathering names on this downtown Salem street corner offers passersby a preview of what could be on their ballot this fall:

"Do you think marijuana should be legalized, ma'am?" he asks.

In fact, pro-pot groups are on track to get not one, but two marijuana legalization measures on the Oregon ballot.

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Wash. Governor Debate
4:37 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Washington Gubernatorial Candidates Debate In Spokane

Wash. gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna will face off in their first debate on Tuesday in Spokane.
Northwest News Network

Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee sparred in an hour-long debate heard on Northwest Public Radio this afternoon, and again at 7 PM Tuesday. Listen to the debate.

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Anti-Gay Marriage
6:01 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Gay Marriage Foes Vow Civil Campaign In Wash.

Workers at Washington’s Secretary of State’s office begin to count R-74 petitions.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Opponents of gay marriage in Washington vow to run a civil campaign to repeal the state’s new marriage equality law. Preserve Marriage Washington Wednesday submitted twice the voter signatures it needs to qualify for the November ballot.

The group’s Joseph Backholm says he wants a campaign about issues, not people.

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