Government and Politics

Political news

Hanford Nuclear Reservation
US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – The federal government is reviewing three years of payments to a major contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The review follows growing concerns about a nuclear waste treatment plant at the southeast Washington site.

SALEM, Ore. - Governor John Kitzhaber called the Special Session after he said Nike was being courted by other states for a major expansion. The Democrat said he wanted lawmakers to authorize the governor to extend Nike an offer: In exchange for freezing the way Oregon calculates its taxes for as long as 30 years, Nike would agree to spend at least $150 million in capital improvements and expand by at least 500 jobs. Lawmakers grumbled about the short timeframe to consider the proposal, but in the end relatively few voted against it.

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

SALEM, OR. - The Oregon House has passed a bill designed to give sports apparel maker Nike special tax status. Governor John Kitzhaber called the legislature into Special Session in order to act quickly to ensure the Beaverton-based company didn't locate a major expansion in another state.

The measure allows the governor to guarantee that the state won't change the way Nike's corporate income taxes are calculated. In exchange, the company agrees to spend at least $150 million on its expansion, and create at least 150 jobs.

The White House

OLYMPIA, Wash. – President Obama’s first comments about marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado leave more questions than answers. The President tells ABC News that federal agents have “bigger fish to fry” than recreational pot users.

In the interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, President Obama says about marijuana enforcement: “It would not make sense for us [to go] after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

Brandon Carson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are meeting in a rare Special Session to consider a proposal to give Nike a unique tax deal. The measure has passed out of committee but its ultimate fate remains unclear Friday afternoon.

Governor John Kitzhaber called lawmakers to the capitol and asked them to do this: Pass a law right away that would allow the governor to freeze the way Nike's Oregon income taxes are calculated, at least for a certain period of time. The Beaverton-based shoe-maker says it will launch a major expansion in the state in exchange for the tax freeze.

Chris Lehman

SALEM, Ore. – Protesters outside the Oregon capitol building Friday are urging lawmakers to reject a bill to give Nike special tax status. Lawmakers are meeting in Special Session to consider the measure. It would allow the governor to freeze the way Oregon calculates the shoe giant’s corporate income taxes. In exchange, the Beaverton-based company would promise to invest at least $150 million and expand by at least 500 jobs in Oregon. Protester Peter Bergel says Nike and other large companies don't need any special deals.

Office of the Governor

OLYMPIA, Wash. – When Washington Governor-elect Jay Inslee is sworn in this January he’ll get more than just the keys to the office. Outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire plans to leave behind a book for future governors to consult when it starts feeling lonely at the top.

In the midst of the Great Recession, Gregoire went in search of wisdom from past governors. Her chief of staff Marty Loesch says Gregoire consulted the state archives.

“And found there’s just precious little there to provide guidance to somebody like her who was facing those kinds of challenges,“ Loesch says.

Gregoire campaign photo / Flickr

"I want to get in a car and just drive."

That's one of the freedoms Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is most excited to reclaim when she leaves office in January. For the past eight years, Gregoire has been relegated to the backseat of a Chevy Suburban chauffeured by the State Patrol. "I like driving and there's something that's freeing about [it]," says the governor.

But before Gregoire gets behind the wheel, she'll get a refresher course on how to drive - from the State Patrol.  

Brandon Carson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – The proposal to give Nike certainty on the way its Oregon income taxes are calculated is winning both cheers and jeers at the state capitol. Lawmakers and interest groups are suggesting several changes to Governor John Kitzhaber's plan, which will come before a Special Session of the legislature Friday.

The bill would allow the governor to enter into a contract with Nike. The bargain? If Nike or any large company expands by at least 500 jobs and invests $150 million, the state would guarantee it wouldn't change the way its corporate income taxes are calculated.

Wikimedia

Washington Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) will “have to learn” to negotiate. That tough talk comes from former Republican Governor Dan Evans in reaction to the announcement that a philosophical majority of Republicans and two Democrats have formed to take control of the state Senate for the 2013 session.

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