Government and Politics

Idaho Representative/Tax Evader
6:31 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Idaho Lawmaker Is Tax Crusader To Some, Tax Dodger To Feds

Idaho Representative R- Phil Hart is in danger of the U.S. Justice Department foreclosing on his home near Athol, Idaho.
Photo credit: Idaho House of Representatives Northwest News Network

ATHOL, Idaho -- Tax evasion will get you into hot water with the IRS. But in north Idaho, it won’t necessarily spell the end of your political career. A Republican state legislator who believes the federal income tax is unconstitutional is battling charges of tax evasion, even as he seeks reelection.

The federal government says Phil Hart owes more than $500,ooo in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. The U.S. Justice Department is threatening to foreclose on his home near Athol, Idaho if he doesn’t pay up. Meanwhile, Idaho tax collectors say Hart owes the state another $53,000.

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Tribal/Fed Settlement
6:00 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Non-Monetary Benefits A Big Part Of $1Billion Tribal Settlement

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the settlement Wednesday of breach-of-trust lawsuits filed by 41 American Indian tribes against the United States.
Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Justice. U.S. Dept. of Justice.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- A landmark settlement announced this week between the federal government and American Indian tribes is expected to have long-term effects beyond the $1 billion in the agreement. Nine Northwest tribes are part of the deal: Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock, Colville, Spokane, Tulalip, Makah, Nooksack, Swinomish.

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Washington Budget
3:41 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Wash. Governor Wishes New Budget Had Bigger Cushion Of Reserves

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is concerned by the slim cushion of reserves in the state's budget.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is praising the rebalanced state budget that the legislature delivered to her in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. But Gregoire also told reporters Thursday that she's concerned by the very slim cushion of reserves lawmakers left in the state treasury. She indicates she will selectively veto some proposed spending to keep more cash in reserve.

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Wash. Legislature Update
3:39 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Wash. Legislature: “Progress,” But No Deal As Midnight Deadline Looms

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Marathon negotiations over state spending continued Tuesday in Olympia. This is the last day of the 30 day overtime legislative session. Lawmakers are up against a midnight deadline to complete their unfinished business. Governor Chris Gregoire gave this short status update as she passed through the senate wings.

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Democrat Defectors
6:07 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

One Month Later, Democrats’ Defection Still A Raw Nerve

Wash. Democrats: Senators Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom and Jim Kastama are taking heat from fellow Democrats.
Photo credit: Wikimedia user visitor7 Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The three Washington Senate Democrats who broke from their caucus last month to vote with Republicans face renewed criticism from their fellow Democrats. At issue is whether to link a series of government reforms to a plan to rebalance the state budget.

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Wash. Budget
6:01 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Wash. House Dems Unveil New Budget, Republicans Pan It

Washington House to vote on new budget Thursday.
Washington State

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington House Democrats have a new plan to rebalance the state budget and go home. The proposed spending blueprint unveiled Wednesday abandons a controversial delayed payment to school districts. But it would also leave less cash-on-hand in case of an emergency. Majority Leader Pat Sullivan says the House hopes to use the budget to kick start stalled negotiations.

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Senate Workplace Claim
4:11 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Republican Take-Over Of Wash. Senate Results In $1.75M Workplace Claim

State Senator Pam Roach.
Photo credit: WSDOT/Flickr" Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Republican takeover of the Washington state senate last month could prove costly. A longtime lawyer for the Senate Republican caucus is now demanding $1.75 million in damages. He says to muster enough votes to control the senate, Republicans lifted sanctions against a senator who created a hostile work environment.

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Federal Immigration in Wash. Jails
6:19 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Immigration Program Activated in Wash. Jails

Once fingerprinted, the program automatically shares those prints with immigration agents.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A controversial federal immigration program is now in effect across all of Washington State, as of today . The statewide rollout came earlier than some anticipated.

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Washington State Budget
5:16 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Wash. Special Session: No Budget Deal, House Plans Action Anyway

Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire’s deadline for a bipartisan budget deal has come and gone. Lawmakers Tuesday failed to agree on a plan to rebalance the state budget and implement so called government reforms.

Now, House Democrats say they will pass their own budget in hopes of breaking the logjam.

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Washington State Budget
4:07 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Gregoire Hopes For Wash. Budget Deal By Tuesday

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has put a compromise budget balancing proposal on the table in hopes of breaking the stalemate.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says she has put a compromise budget balancing proposal on the table in hopes of breaking the stalemate at the state capital. Speaking to reporters Friday, she indicated bipartisan negotiations are making some progress, but calls the talks "tenuous." Gregoire declined to reveal any details about what is included in her spending blueprint.

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