Politics

Oregon Senate
6:55 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Oregon Senate In ‘Holding Pattern’ As Injured Senator Mulls Comeback

A key Oregon state lawmaker could return to the capitol as early as this week. Democratic Senator Betsy Johnson broke her pelvis in a car accident last month. Her absence has delayed some potentially close votes. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Adoption Bill
6:38 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Adoption Bill Aims For More Access To Paperwork

Courtesy Laura Batt

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:43 pm

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it easier for people who were adopted as children to access court records about their biological family. A House committee could vote to advance the measure Tuesday.

Oregon Senate Bill 623 is what is sometimes called a housekeeping bill. It's pretty boring, really. The measure clarifies who gets access to certain kinds of paperwork and how they go about getting it.

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Special Session
7:24 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Washington Special Session Starts With No Budget Deal

The Washington legislature reconvenes Monday for a 30-day special session. But there’s still no budget deal in sight – despite a two week break to negotiate. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update from the Capitol.

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Minimum Wage Workers
7:10 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Why Won't This McDonalds Move 20 Feet Into Lower-Wage Idaho?

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:00 pm

The border between the states of Washington and Idaho is like a petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet. Idaho has the federal minimum wage: $7.25 an hour. While Washington’s? It’s nearly $2 more -- the highest in the nation.

You might expect that wage gap to send Washington border businesses fleeing over to Idaho. But that's not what's happening.

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No New Wind Turbines
9:16 am
Thu May 9, 2013

No New Wind Farm Construction In PNW This Year

You may have seen wind turbines springing up all over the Pacific Northwest in the past decade. So far this year, the region’s wind industry has faced a different story. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Bae's Release
8:14 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Oregon Senators Call For Bae's Release

Federal authorities say they’re working on the release of Kenneth Bae – the University of Oregon graduate believed to be in a North Korean prison. Government-run news outlets in North Korea say Bae has received as much as a 15-year sentence from the country’s Supreme Court for allegedly undermining the government.

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Lobbyist Dinners
8:03 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Washington Lawmakers Defend Frequent Dinners With Lobbyists

Two Washington state lawmakers are defending their frequent dinners with lobbyists. The meals show up in monthly reports filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has been digging into those reports.

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Budget Debates
7:48 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Social Service Advocates Don't Want To Be Left Behind In Budget Debate

Deborah Favors stands in front of her apartment in Stayton, Oregon.
Credit Chris Lehman

Oregon lawmakers will find out later this month how much money will be available to spend in the upcoming budget cycle. So right now, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the budget-writing process. Education, as usual, is in line for the biggest piece of the pie. But human service advocates say after years of budget turmoil, this year could be their chance to restore funding for Oregon’s social safety net. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports:

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Washington Lobbyists
7:05 am
Wed May 1, 2013

The Influence Game: Wining And Dining Washington Lawmakers After Hours

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:39 pm

In the first three months of this year, lobbyists in Washington state spent more than $200,000 on entertainment. Much of that money was spent to wine and dine state lawmakers during the just-concluded 105-day session. But what are lobbyists and their clients getting in exchange for picking up the tab?

After the legislative day ends up at the Capitol, it’s pretty common for some of the players to decamp. They go to one of a handful of usually higher-end Olympia establishments. This is where – over a meal, perhaps a bottle of Washington wine – the work continues.

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Washington Legislative Session
7:59 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Washington Legislature Adjourns, But Not For Long

The Washington Legislature adjourned Sunday night.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington legislature has adjourned after a 105-day session. The final gavels fell just after six o’clock Sunday night.

Owen: “The 2013 regular session of the 63rd legislature is adjourned Sine Die"

But the adjournment won’t last long. Governor Jay Inslee immediately called a special session for two weeks from now because the House and Senate failed to come to agreement on a two-year budget. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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