Government

Idaho Governor Butch Otter said he has received reassurances from the federal government about the adequacy of vetting of refugees from the war-torn Middle East.

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter spoke forcefully about observing the “rule of law” in his first comments on the armed protesters in adjacent eastern Oregon.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday that the state is suing the U.S. government over the settlement of Syrian refugees. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, accuses the Obama administration of violating the Refugee Act of 1980 by not consulting states on the placement of refugees.

Flickr Photo/Chuck Coker (CC BY-ND 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1ZPVQSL

Washington is going to take a different tack on reducing gun violence, Gov. Jay Inslee says: Treat it as a public health problem.

Malheur Occupation: Who Has A Claim To This Land?

Jan 6, 2016

On Tuesday Jan. 5, LaVoy Finicum, a spokesperson for the armed occupiers in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, told OPB's Think Out Loud his group would like to see the federal government return the wetland area property rights to local ranchers.

Nancy Langston disagrees with Finicum's premise.

According to the latest non-partisan Elway Poll released Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee leads his top Republican challenger by nine points. Pollster Stuart Elway said a nine point race at this early stage seems like a tight race.

Community members in Harney County are scheduled to gather Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the county fairgrounds to discuss the situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward wants the armed occupiers of the Wildlife Refuge headquarters to leave the county. In a recorded statement, Ward said the goal of the meeting is for the community to unite around that message.

Oregon Utilities Agree To Phase Out Coal-Fired Power

Jan 6, 2016

Oregon utilities have agreed to support a bill that would phase out coal-fired power in Oregon by 2030.

The agreement follows negotiations with the backers of a proposed ballot measure that set the same target for eliminating coal from the state's electrical supply.

The proposed legislation would only affect Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, which together serve about 70 percent of Oregon's electricity. It also calls for doubling the amount of renewable energy the utilities generate by 2040.

When President Obama announced new gun control measures on Tuesday, the White House said they were needed because Congress failed to address the problem of gun violence.

Gun control advocates also are frustrated with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. That's why they've been focused on changing state laws in recent years. And they're succeeding.

Oregon is one state where gun control advocates won last year with the passage of Senate Bill 941, which requires background checks for private party gun sales.

North Korea was celebratory in its claims that it detonated its first hydrogen bomb on Wednesday.

"Through the test conducted with indigenous wisdom, technology and efforts [North Korea] fully proved that the technological specifications of the newly developed H-bomb for the purpose of test were accurate and scientifically verified the power of smaller H-bomb," the country's official news agency reported.

But the White House, along with many others, isn't buying it.

With the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon in its fifth day, a local Native American tribe says the militants are "desecrating sacred property."

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Amanda Peacher tells our Newscast unit that Burns Paiute tribal leaders denounced the militants and demanded that they leave. "The 190,000-acre wildlife refuge is within Paiute ancestral lands," Amanda says.

Tribal Chairperson Charlotte Rodrique says that she is "offended by occupiers' statements about returning the land to its rightful owners," Amanda reports.

The chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court has ordered the state's probate judges not to issue marriage license to same-sex couples — despite a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last year that legalized same-sex marriage in America.

Roy S. Moore, the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, issued an administrative order Wednesday. He noted that the Supreme Court of Alabama had, in March of 2015, upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Deciphering events in North Korea often seems more like long-distance psychoanalysis than reporting.

So it's not surprising there's a dearth of hard information about the country's latest nuclear test. In a statement heavy on propaganda and light on details, North Korea claimed it successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test Wednesday morning.

LaVoy Finicum is a member of the armed group occupying a federal building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He is a rancher from Arizona and supporter of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who are now in federal custody. Finicum spoke with OPB's Think Out Loud host Dave Miller Tuesday.

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he's taking executive action in an attempt to reduce gun violence. But his actions will mean few immediate changes for many gun buyers in the Northwest.

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