State & Local

New law allows Tracy, Calif., to buy land for solar project

Capping a rare show of congressional bipartisanship, and several years of work, President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law a bill that frees up 150 acres for purchase by the city of Tracy in California’s San Joaquin Valley. | 05/16/12 17:31:02 By - By Michael Doyle

Rick Santorum's Texas GOP convention speech won't be public

Perhaps the biggest name featured at the Texas Republican Party's convention next month -- former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum -- will give a speech that is off-limits to the media and the public. | 05/16/12 07:24:39 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Kansas Gov. Brownback signs act allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense abortion drugs

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill that will allow pharmacists to refuse to provide drugs they believe might cause an abortion. | 05/15/12 07:11:26 By - Brad Cooper

N.C. Republican hopeful Scott Keadle regrets comments on Obama’s birthplace

As his competition endured criticism for questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace, congressional candidate Scott Keadle of North Carolina took the high road last week and said he hadn’t spent “two seconds of my life thinking” about Obama’s birthplace. | 05/15/12 06:28:55 By - By Franco Ordonez

LaHood warns California lawmakers on high-speed rail funds

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned California lawmakers Thursday not to wait until fall for a vote on high-speed rail, urging its approval in a budget vote next month. | 05/11/12 07:04:10 By - David Siders

N.C. gay marriage amendment draws plenty of snarky online comments

The colorful, normally cheerful Facebook page called “Visit North Carolina” filled up so quickly with profane posts Wednesday that its moderator had to plead for a more civil tone. | 05/10/12 07:20:54 By - Thomas Goldsmith and Brooke Cain

Boy Scouts' policy on gays, atheists rankles California lawmakers

Stressing to millions of boys the value of honesty, loyalty, honor and good deeds is not enough to win a commendation from the California Assembly – if you exclude gays and atheists. | 05/09/12 06:52:20 By - Jim Sanders

California lawmakers propose way to keep state parks open

Democratic state Sens. Joe Simitian and Noreen Evans have rolled out a proposal aimed at keeping gates open at more than 50 California state parks set to close this summer. | 05/09/12 06:47:17 By - Torey Van Oot

Abortion becomes a tax issue in Kansas House bill

The tax code is becoming the new weapon in the war against abortion with Kansas pioneering the way. The Kansas House passed a bill Monday that would further restrict abortion by rewriting state tax law. "Nobody on the state level has gone through their tax code in this manner," said Elizabeth Nash, a state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health issues. | 05/08/12 07:10:36 By - Brad Cooper

S.C. Gov. Haley cleared of illegal lobbying by ethics committee

A House panel cleared Gov. Nikki Haley Wednesday of claims she illegally lobbied and broke other ethics laws while a state representative. | 05/03/12 07:16:03 By - Gina Smith

Bill giving pharmacists leeway on abortion drugs passes in Kansas

A bill that would allow pharmacists to bow out of providing drugs they believe might cause an abortion cleared the Kansas state legislature Wednesday. | 05/03/12 07:06:50 By - Brad Cooper

Missouri lawmaker Wyatt comes out, denounces state's 'don't say gay' bill

After deciding this year would be his last in the Missouri General Assembly, Zach Wyatt says he wanted to do something truly meaningful. He just didn’t know what. But when news broke last month about a bill pushed by his fellow Republicans that would restrict discussion of sexual orientation in public schools — dubbed the "don't say gay" bill — Wyatt finally knew what he had to do. | 05/03/12 07:02:31 By - Jason Hancock

Rule change would make ethics hearing for S.C. Gov. Haley public

If a panel of S.C. House members decides to open a formal probe into whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied while a state representative, its investigation will be open to the public. | 05/02/12 07:30:41 By - Gina Smith

N.C. Rep. Ellmers faces challenge from 3 Republicans in re-election bid

Clem Munno is running for Congress. He doesn't expect to win. He has no political experience, and he's running against a rising star in his own party, Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers. | 05/01/12 07:17:31 By - Franco Ordoñez

Florida task force seeks major overhaul to Stand Your Ground law

The statewide task force to review Florida’s Stand Your Ground law will begin its work Tuesday, but a state senator who formed his own task force is recommending the law be rewritten to make it more difficult for defendants to claim self-defense. | 05/01/12 06:53:17 By - Toluse Olorunnipa

Kansas protestors rally against 'Religious Freedom Act'

Nearly 100 people crowded on the Capitol steps Thursday to protest what they called “legislative hate.” The group, many members or allies of the LGBT community, waved rainbow flags and had strong words for legislators looking to pass SB 142, also called the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act. | 04/27/12 07:19:34 By - Adam Strunk

S.C. subcommittee votes to not pay for abortions in rape, incest

S.C. taxpayers and state employees would not pay for abortions in cases of rape or incest, according to a budget rule unanimously approved Tuesday by a state Senate subcommittee. | 04/26/12 06:22:18 By - Adam Bean

California lawmakers want to tie minimum wage to consumer price index

Gasoline was selling for $3.33 a gallon, Jerry Brown was attorney general, and California was bracing for a budget crisis when the state's hourly minimum wage rose to $8 in early 2008. | 04/24/12 06:57:47 By - Jim Sanders

N.C. Democratic Chairman Parker refuses to resign

In an extraordinary act of political theater, North Carolina's Democratic chairman described and dismissed outright the sexual harassment claims against the party’s former top official and refused to immediately relinquish his post Thursday, despite intense national political pressure. | 04/20/12 07:11:40 By - John Frank

Florida's welfare drug tests cost more money than state saves, data shows

Required drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits ended up costing Florida taxpayers more than it saved and failed to curb the number of prospective applicants, data used against the state in an ongoing legal battle shows. | 04/20/12 06:55:26 By - Brittany Alana Davis

Details of alleged sexual harassment emerge in N.C. Democratic Party scandal

A former staffer accused North Carolina's state Democratic Party executive director of showing him a picture of male genitals, caressing his leg and discussing his sexual exploits, according to new documents obtained by The News & Observer. | 04/19/12 07:20:11 By - John Frank

N.C. Gov. Perdue calls on state Democratic Party Chairman Parker to resign

The chairman of the state Democratic Party is expected to resign after an avalanche of top elected officials called for his ouster Tuesday amid revelations that he authorized a secret agreement to pay a former staffer to keep quiet after making sexual harassment allegations. | 04/18/12 07:14:55 By - John Frank

California Assembly committee kills teacher-student trysts legislation

On the same day that 18-year-old Jordan Powers disclosed that she has reunited with former teacher James Hooker, legislation to ban such romantic relationships in the future was killed by a California Assembly committee Tuesday. | 04/18/12 07:00:26 By - Jim Sanders

Study: ALEC has 'secretive influence' in Missouri statehouse

At least 30 bills have been introduced in the Missouri statehouse in recent years that are nearly identical to legislation originally written by a conservative organization whose membership includes some of the country’s largest corporations. | 04/17/12 07:14:03 By - Jason Hancock

S.C. Gov. Haley 'makes stuff up' in her book, critics charge

Gov. Nikki Haley’s new memoir, "Can't Is Not An Option," is untruthful or twists many events, a half-dozen S.C. politicians said last week. | 04/16/12 13:44:36 By - Gina Smith

N.C. Democratic Party director steps down over sexual harassment allegations

The executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party resigned Sunday amid mounting questions about a secret settlement to pay a former staffer to keep quiet about sexual harassment allegations. | 04/16/12 07:40:49 By - John Frank and Tim Funk

FBI's Florida investigation of Alaska Rep. Young outlined in document list

The Justice Department revealed descriptions of hundreds of documents Monday night that it had prepared in its investigation of Rep. Don Young and the infamous Coconut Road interchange, including what it said was a "potential witness list and indictment." | 04/11/12 06:46:47 By - Richard Mauer

Alaska Railroad credit rating gets hit after Senate's $30 million funding cut

Moody's Investors Service has lowered the outlook for Alaska Railroad bonds from stable to negative, saying the U.S. Senate's move to gut the railroad's budget could leave it short of money to pay off debt. | 04/10/12 06:39:23 By - Sean Cockerham

Voter fraud and illegal immigration work brings Kansas Secretary of State Kobach praise, scorn

Kris Kobach holds what should be one of the quietest jobs in government: Kansas secretary of state. Yet it’s hard to find anyone who stays very quiet when asked about Kobach: He’s either loved or loathed. | 04/09/12 07:11:36 By - Brad Cooper and Dave Helling

Bank wants Missouri Rep. Cleaver to pay $1.5 million on car wash loan

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's car wash headache is raging once again. The bank that loaned the Kansas City congressman and his wife $1.3 million in 2002 to buy the Grandview Auto Wash is now demanding payment of more than $1.5 million, after the Cleavers repeatedly fell behind on repaying the loan. | 04/06/12 07:01:56 By - Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

Fla. Rep. Connie Mack launches Keystone XL pipeline petition

With a gas pump doubling as a campaign prop, Senate candidate Connie Mack launched a petition drive Thursday at a Miami gas station to call for the building of the politically charged Keystone XL pipeline. | 04/06/12 06:49:53 By - Marc Caputo

ACLU wants special counsel to investigate Anchorage election

As an internal city review of what went wrong in Tuesday's Anchorage election moves forward, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is calling for a special counsel to investigate the matter. So far, 59 of 121 voting precincts have been reviewed by the city clerk's office and just over half, 31, ran out of the preprinted ballot cards at some point, according to the clerk's office. | 04/06/12 06:35:01 By - Lisa Demer

S.C. Rep. Clyburn compares voter ID laws to Jim Crow era

U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn and voting-rights advocates warned Wednesday that laws in South Carolina and other states could disenfranchise millions of Americans in the November presidential elections. | 04/05/12 11:37:17 By - James Rosen

ACLU, Anchorage investigate ballot shortage during municipal election

A shortage of ballots in Tuesday's municipal election led to chaos and dissatisfaction among voters at polling places around Anchorage and has spurred a review by the city attorney to see whether the problems impact the validity of the election. | 04/05/12 06:47:07 By - Lisa Demer and Rosemary Shinohara

Friends of Stevens group seeks Justice Dept. accountability

An advocacy group started by friends of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens is on a rampage, calling for accountability in the U.S. Department of Justice and specifically for the firing of two prosecutors and an FBI agent who pursued the flawed and failed corruption case against him. | 04/04/12 06:55:16 By - Lisa Demer

Anchorage voters reject sexual orientation initiative

Anchorage voters rejected a proposed ordinance to add legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people in a chaotic municipal election fraught with ballot shortages and high voter turnout in many precincts. | 04/04/12 06:52:39 By - Michelle Theriault Boots

Texas Rep. Kay Granger presses Air Force on C-130 plans

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger told Air Force Secretary Michael Donley in a meeting Thursday that if the Air Force does not scrap its plan to move a fleet of C-130 transport aircraft from Fort Worth to Montana or provide more justification, she will work to stop its implementation legislatively. | 03/30/12 07:29:05 By - Chris Vaughn

S.C. Gov. Haley denies she's linked to temple tax probe

Gov. Nikki Haley vehemently denied Thursday that she is in any way connected to a 2011 tax audit of the Sikh temple in Chapin where her parents are leaders. | 03/30/12 07:23:38 By - Gina Smith

California Gov. Brown wants health care changes regardless of Supreme Court decision

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration vowed Thursday to continue pushing forward elements of the federal health care overhaul in California, even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes it down. | 03/30/12 06:58:38 By - David Siders and Kevin Yamamura

Alaska's 'stand your ground' bill faces new scrutiny

A Wasilla House member said Monday the Legislature shouldn't retreat from his bill to give Alaskans greater rights to kill in self-defense despite the furor over a similar law in Florida. | 03/27/12 06:36:36 By - Richard Mauer

Missouri House budget proposal would eliminate aid for blind

Terrie Arnold feels like Missouri lawmakers are playing political games with her life. Arnold, 56, and her husband David, 57, were both born blind. He maintains a third-shift job, but she is unable to work due to numerous other medical conditions. | 03/26/12 07:07:13 By - Jason Hancock

California lawmakers' salaries are highest in nation

Salaries for California lawmakers remain the nation's highest despite years of budget crisis and a belt-tightening backlash that sparked legislative pay cuts three years ago. | 03/26/12 06:56:12 By - Jim Sanders

John Locke Foundation blogger resigns over Obama illustration

A blogger for conservative N.C. think tank The John Locke Foundation has resigned after she illustrated a story about President Obama’s position on N.C.’s Marriage Amendment with a photoshopped image of the president in chains and high heels with a bucket of fried chicken. | 03/22/12 13:12:24 By - Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Re-election anxieties stall ultrasound bill in Idaho

After an extraordinary closed-door caucus late Wednesday, Idaho House GOP leaders canceled Thursday’s 7:45 a.m. hearing on Senate Bill 1387. The bill, which passed the Senate 23-12 Monday, mandates that women seeking abortions have an ultrasound to determine whether or not there is a fetal heartbeat, and, if so, the heart rate. Also, gestational age must be determined by a physician before an abortion. | 03/22/12 13:08:22 By - Dan Popkey

Alaska oil producers say tax cuts must be 'meaningful'

The Alaska state Senate's oil-tax reform bill slogged through another day of hearings Wednesday, this time with testimony from representatives of the three big Alaska producers who all said the tax cuts in the measure were too miserly to spur additional development. | 03/22/12 06:43:15 By - Richard Mauer

South Carolina House plan would make poorest pay more in taxes

South Carolina’s poorest residents would pay more in state income taxes while all others would pay less or no more than they do now, according to a Republican tax plan approved by a House panel Tuesday. | 03/21/12 07:20:39 By - Adam Beam

Senate bill cuts $30 million from Alaska Railroad budget

The Alaska Railroad faces a huge budget cut from the U.S. Senate that could mean large-scale layoffs, less passenger service and a default on the state-owned corporation's bonds. | 03/20/12 06:46:37 By - Sean Cockerham

Report: South Carolina government is ripe for corruption

South Carolina is among the states most ripe for corruption because of government secrecy, weak ethics enforcement, little disclosure of legislators' finances and low accountability for legislative and executive branch members, according to a nationwide analysis to be released today. | 03/19/12 07:10:20 By - James Rosen

Kentucky Gov. Beshear took state plane to SEC basketball tournament

Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear used a state plane March 9 to go to the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament in New Orleans and take a side trip to Ocala, Fla., for Jane Beshear to visit friends. | 03/19/12 07:03:50 By - Jack Brammer

Kansas Secretary of State Kobach says group trying to discredit voter ID law

A voter advocacy group claimed Thursday that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s 2011-2012 office calendar contains gaps and inconsistencies, suggesting that he spends too much time working on issues unrelated to his office. | 03/16/12 06:37:55 By - Dave Helling

Kansas food stamp policy becomes a political tangle

Months after a new Kansas policy cut food stamps going to thousands of children, some lawmakers are mounting efforts to help those families. | 03/15/12 06:47:31 By - Laura Bauer and Brad Cooper

Kentucky bill that may end basic phone service clears panel

A Kentucky Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill drafted by AT&T that would further diminish state regulation of the company and allow it to end basic phone service in less profitable parts of its service areas. | 03/15/12 06:35:18 By - John Cheves

S.C. Sen. Graham wants Yucca Mountain fees rebated

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has a simple lesson in consumer economics for the federal government: We paid for something we didn’t get, so please give us our money back. | 03/14/12 06:55:46 By - James Rosen

New Florida law prohibits government hiring of companies with Cuba ties

Delving into Miami-Dade’s tricky exile politics, Florida lawmakers passed sweeping but little-noticed legislation this session prohibiting local governments from hiring companies that do business with Cuba. | 03/14/12 06:28:27 By - Patricia Mazzei and Martha Brannigan

California lawmakers raise unlimited funds for personal causes

California Assemblyman Sandré Swanson formed his own nonprofit foundation last year and raised tens of thousands of dollars from Capitol interests for youth scholarships. Only a handful of California's 132 statewide officeholders solicit for charity foundations they personally founded, but the practice has grown since 1997, when California opted not to set limits on such fundraising. | 03/12/12 06:16:03 By - Jim Sanders

House, Senate search out agreement on California water bill

Lawmakers have quietly begun laying groundwork for a California water bill that could pass the Senate and become law. | 03/09/12 15:30:04 By - Michael Doyle

Idaho Gov. Otter wants more federal money for wolves

Hunters, trappers and others wiped out nearly a third of Idaho's wolves last year after the state took over management from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But about 750 survived, and Gov. Butch Otter wants federal money as reimbursement for Idaho having to host them. | 03/08/12 10:42:54 By - Sean Cockerham

'Religious Freedom Act' gets OK from Kentucky Senate panel

Kentuckians may get to vote this November on a proposed change to the state Constitution that its backers call "the Religious Freedom Act." | 03/08/12 07:11:32 By - Jack Brammer

Florida religious leaders condemn 'anti-Sharia' bill

An imam, a rabbi and a pastor walked into Senate President Mike Haridopolos’ office Wednesday with two demands: Withdraw the foreign law bill they say targets Muslims, and investigate who is behind anti-Muslim booklets and flyers circulating the Senate. | 03/08/12 07:03:21 By - Brittan Alana Davis

California Republicans see slight possibility of a competitive June primary

Looking east on Super Tuesday, California's presidential primary election found hope. Not much, perhaps — the Republican nominating contest may still be over by the time California votes in June — but enough that Republicans are giving the possibility some thought. | 03/08/12 06:48:30 By - David Siders

Gulf state governors ask Obama to keep C-130s in Fort Worth

Fierce opposition to an Air Force proposal to permanently ship a squadron of Texas Air National Guard C-130s from Fort Worth to Montana continues to blossom across the Gulf Coast. | 03/07/12 07:29:09 By - Chris Vaughn

South Carolina GOP says group's 'purity' pledge is against state law

A resolution by the Laurens County Republican Party is raising eyebrows — and questions — about what it means to be a Republican in South Carolina. | 03/06/12 07:30:41 By - Gina Smith

John Edwards adds to legal team

John Edwards, the former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate accused of flouting campaign finance laws to hide his mistress and her pregnancy from the public, added new attorneys to the team representing him in his federal criminal case. | 03/06/12 07:22:53 By - Anne Blythe

Limbaugh's induction to Hall of Famous Missourians stirs protests

No one can argue that talk show host Rush Limbaugh isn't famous. And because he was born in Cape Girardeau, he's clearly a Missourian. Yet House Speaker Steve Tilley's decision to honor the conservative radio personality by inducting him into the Hall of Famous Missourians later this year has stirred controversy. | 03/06/12 07:11:35 By - Jason Hancock

Former Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger pays $30,000 over 2009 ads

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has paid $30,000 in fines for inappropriately spending $1.1 million in campaign funds on a media blitz during his 2009 budget battle with Democrats. | 03/06/12 06:54:34 By - Kevin Yamamura

Alaska man's hunger strike over stalled school meals bill hits 28 days

As an Anchorage resident reaches Day 28 of a hunger strike over stalled school meals legislation, the co-chairman of the committee where the bill is holed up said he's changed course and does not plan to hold a hearing on the measure. | 03/06/12 06:47:48 By - Lisa Demer

California water bill now flows to uncertain future in Senate

A big California water bill passed by the House this week might be brilliant political hardball that puts Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the spot. | 03/02/12 15:37:09 By - Michael Doyle

N.C. Republican lawmaker claims 'extreme poverty' doesn't exist in state

A state House lawmaker entered the national fray over what constitutes poverty Thursday when he declared there was no "extreme poverty" in North Carolina. | 03/02/12 07:13:13 By - Lynn Bonner

Florida House passes 'anti-Sharia' bill despite protests

A proposal critics say targets Islam passed the Florida House Thursday despite heated opposition from two Jewish Democratic lawmakers who called the bill unnecessary and discriminatory. The measure bans courts or other legal authorities from using religious or foreign law as a part of a legal decision or contract. For example, Florida law would trump foreign law in marriage, divorce and custody cases. | 03/02/12 06:48:19 By - Brittan Alana Davis

House OKs California water bill that favors farmers

The House on Wednesday approved an ambitious California water bill that favors farmers, splits the state and pressures the U.S. Senate. | 03/01/12 06:49:34 By - Michael Doyle

Texas sonogram law has some patients unhappy

Women seeking abortions at Whole Woman's Health in south Fort Worth often arrive upset or angry about Texas's new sonogram law, which began being fully enforced three weeks ago, a health center official says. Some are unhappy about the requirement that the physician verbally describes the fetus during a sonogram. But it's the hardship of having to schedule two appointments — one for the sonogram and another for the surgery no fewer than 24 hours later — that draws the most consistent ire. | 02/29/12 07:36:09 By - Alex Branch

S.C. Gov. Haley urges Obama to deepen Atlantic ports

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley implored President Barack Obama on Monday to find more money to deepen the Charleston port and other Atlantic harbors so they can accommodate giant cargo ships after the widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014. | 02/28/12 07:29:29 By - James Rosen

N.C. Rep. Ellmers ranks among most conservative

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers has taken over as North Carolina's most conservative House member, according to the National Journal's annual analysis of congressional votes. | 02/28/12 07:22:01 By - Franco Ordoñez

Jeb Bush's foundation has shaped education policy in Florida

When Florida state Sen. David Simmons needed his colleagues' support on the education budget last week, he dropped a powerful name on the Senate floor. | 02/28/12 07:03:38 By - Kathleen McGrory

S.C. economy gets national notice

South Carolina is faring better than most other states across a wide range of measurements tied to its economy and to the fiscal health of its state government. | 02/24/12 19:40:54 By - James Rosen

7 female Missouri House members say they were kept out of contraception debate

It was a purely symbolic move when the Missouri House passed a resolution this week decrying the Obama administration’s mandate that health insurance policies include birth-control coverage. But it still managed to spark outrage from a group of seven female Democratic lawmakers, who said they were denied a chance to speak on an issue that affects them. | 02/24/12 07:27:36 By - Jason Hancock

Marco Rubio's autobiography reveals Mormon past

From vice-presidential shortlister to auto-biographer, Marco Rubio is gaining the type of nationwide attention that most freshmen U.S. Senators only dream of. | 02/24/12 07:08:39 By - Marc Caputo

Alaska Sen. Murkowski presses feds for dropping Bill Allen sex crime case

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Thursday she's pressing for an answer on why federal prosecutors stopped pursuing a teen sex crime case against former Veco Corp. chairman Bill Allen and refused to let state prosecutors take on the task. | 02/24/12 06:50:22 By - Lisa Demer

Kansas voter citizenship rule advances in Legislature

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach won a round Wednesday when the House tentatively agreed to move up the starting date for requiring proof of citizenship for those registering to vote. | 02/23/12 07:17:29 By - Brad Cooper

Chamber of Commerce groups diverge on Democrats' business policies

When members of the Charlotte Chamber gather at the U.S. Treasury Department this afternoon, they'll talk economic policy with Obama administration officials — only a few months before the president is renominated in Charlotte for a second term. Meanwhile, a block away, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is orchestrating a $10 million media attack on what it sees as the Democrats' anti-business policies. | 02/22/12 10:50:29 By - Jim Morrill and Franco Ordoñez

Texas becomes battlefield in Keystone XL pipeline fight

The politically volatile Keystone XL pipeline is becoming embroiled in a widening controversy in Texas as supporters tout the promise of jobs and other economic benefits while increasingly vocal opponents say the project would trample property rights and endanger water supplies in East Texas. | 02/22/12 07:36:37 By - Dave Montgomery

Kris Kobach's immigration bill gets lukewarm response in Kansas

After four days of passionate testimony last week, Kansas' leading Republican lawmakers don't appear willing to tackle the aggressive immigration measures that Secretary of State Kris Kobach — a fellow Republican — has been advocating. | 02/22/12 07:16:02 By - Brad Cooper

Sarah Palin's former aide Bailey fined over email use

Frank Bailey, the former Sarah Palin aide turned tell-all author, has agreed to pay an $11,900 civil fine for violating the state's ethics laws by keeping, disseminating and profiting from confidential emails he obtained while serving in Palin's administration. | 02/22/12 06:49:18 By - Richard Mauer

Washington Sen. Murray holds roundtable with veterans

Returning from war with post-traumatic stress disorder, but being discouraged from receiving treatment. Waiting for more than two months for a doctor’s appointment with Veterans Administration. Being afraid to write the word “veteran” on a job application. | 02/21/12 07:31:04 By - Matt Batcheldor

Texas Senate race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison will be expensive

The race to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison could soon become one of the nation's costliest contests. | 02/20/12 07:35:07 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Sen. Rand Paul says drug law enforcement is local, state issue

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has put a roadblock in front of legislation aimed at combating synthetic drugs that are being increasingly abused by young people. | 02/20/12 07:14:17 By - Bill Estep

Fla. Senate candidate Mack says divorce is behind financial woes

U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack explained Sunday for the first time why he spent more than he earned at times, pinning financial problems on his divorce. | 02/20/12 06:58:19 By - Katie Sanders

California water bill approved by key panel

San Joaquin Valley farmers would secure more water and an ambitious river restoration plan would be curtailed under a far-reaching California bill approved by a key House panel Thursday night. | 02/17/12 07:02:30 By - Michael Doyle

S.C. bill seeks to keep some crime details from public

A bill introduced in the S.C. House would give police, prosecutors and sheriffs broad freedom to keep secret any and all crimes and arrests from the public, critics say. | 02/16/12 13:16:36 By - John Monk

Restore Act measure to boost BP cleanup could receive vote today

The House is expected to vote later today on an amendment pushed by Gulf State lawmakers to dedicate 80 percent of the fines collected from the BP oil spill to a trust fund for coastal restoration of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. | 02/16/12 09:41:42 By - Maria Recio

Missouri ethics law struck down by court because of way it passed

In a unanimous opinion Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a 2010 ethics bill that banned the laundering of donations through campaign committees. | 02/15/12 07:21:58 By - Steve Kraske

Lines drawn in Alaska's oil tax debate

Battle lines are hardening in the Legislature over oil taxes, with Gov. Sean Parnell saying Tuesday that he remains firmly committed to his legislation rolling back taxes, and state senators just as sure that they are right to reject his strategy. | 02/15/12 06:46:11 By - Lisa Demer

Proposal would prohibit foreign laws in South Carolina courts

A long list of S.C. lawmakers plan to send a message to Palmetto State courts: Don't apply foreign laws here. A proposed law, which a House panel will consider later this month, is part of a growing movement in legislatures around the country. | 02/14/12 07:29:06 By - Gina Smith

Kansas lawmaker proposes drug testing for welfare recipients

In a legislative session already flush with complex and divisive issues, Kansas lawmakers now want to take on their version of welfare reform: drug testing. | 02/14/12 07:06:50 By - Brad Cooper

Miami Judge Jordan likely to be confirmed for 11th Circuit, but in messy process

A dispute in the U.S. Senate over President Barack Obama's executive branch nominees threatens to snag the appointment of the first Cuban-born judge to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. | 02/14/12 06:58:35 By - Erika Bolstad

Obama's budget could impact California _ if it survives

California has a big stake in the debate begun Monday with release of the Obama administration's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, even if the sprawling document has only a short lifespan. | 02/13/12 16:46:27 By - Michael Doyle

Democrats say they're being shut out of California water bill rewrite

Controlling California water can seem like a covert affair on Capitol Hill. If you're not in the club, you're left in the dark. | 02/13/12 12:05:31 By - Michael Doyle

California's state employee unions don't expect big contracts from Gov. Brown

Contract talks kicking off this month between the state and four employee unions present Gov. Jerry Brown with a political dilemma: How does he deal fairly with his key labor constituency without exposing himself to charges he's kowtowing to them? | 02/13/12 06:59:55 By - Jon Ortiz

Kansas abortion debate gets heated over rubber stamp 'attack'

A Kansas abortion debate turned nasty Thursday when the leader of a women's group pulled out a rubber stamp and accused a House panel of routinely approving bills restricting the procedure. One lawmaker walked out in protest. | 02/10/12 07:11:34 By - Brad Cooper

Alaska lawmakers plan to sell ANWR drilling during D.C. trip

A contingent of state representatives including House Speaker Mike Chenault are missing several days of the legislative session next week to head to Washington, D.C., and make a pitch — once again — for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. | 02/10/12 06:57:48 By - Lisa Demer

Former Kansas Rep. Dennis Moore reveals his Alzheimer's battle

There's a photo of Dennis Moore kneeling next to the hole in Iraq where Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003. There he is with Fidel Castro, Gen. David Petraeus, Warren Buffett, Carole King — all images from a 12-year career in the U.S. House and all lining the basement study in his Lenexa home. | 02/09/12 07:14:27 By - Steve Kraske

California’s ‘Valleycrat’ a rare find

The California Valleycrat could be an endangered species. Or maybe it was mostly mythical all along. | 02/08/12 16:15:51 By - John Ellis and Michael Doyle

N.C. Rep. Myrick won't seek another term

U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick's surprise announcement Tuesday that she'll leave Washington after nine terms sparked a scramble by would-be successors that reached halfway around the world — literally. | 02/08/12 07:19:32 By - Tim Funk and Jim Morrill

Audit finds lax oversight of Alaska Native corporations contracting program

The debate over the sole source contracting privileges that Alaska Native corporations have used to make billions of dollars is flaring in Congress with a new government audit that found lax oversight of the program. | 02/08/12 06:44:21 By - Sean Cockerham

California's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, Court of Appeals rules

In a landmark victory for gay rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled California's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued withering criticism of an electorate the court said used its "initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed," violating the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. | 02/07/12 13:37:34 By - David Siders and Jennifer Garza

Texas Gov. Perry determined to help keep Obama from second term

Gov. Rick Perry declared Monday night that he still has "plenty of fight left" after his unsuccessful presidential bid, serving notice that he will work vigorously to continue his policies of fewer taxes and limited government as the state's chief executive while battling to defeat President Barack Obama in November. | 02/07/12 07:26:27 By - Dave Montgomery

N.C. Sen. Burr defends 'no' vote on insider trading act

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr was one of just three senators who opposed a new bill that explicitly prevents members of Congress and their staffs from using nonpublic information for insider trading. | 02/07/12 07:18:31 By - Franco Ordoñez

Rural Alaska air travel subsidies survive cost cutting in Congress

Subsidies for rural Alaska air travel survived the cost-cutting talk as Congress passed a four-year funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday after years of dispute. | 02/07/12 06:40:52 By - Sean Cockerham

Lawmakers' homes: Location, location, politicization

Republican Rep. Jeff Denham has a ranch in Atwater, a residence in Turlock and his wife and children with him in Northern Virginia. His Democratic opponent has a family in Houston, while he seeks election in California's San Joaquin Valley. | 02/03/12 16:45:55 By - Michael Doyle

Fight for Fla. Rep. Allen West's seat may draw more Democrats

The Democrats vying to replace departing Rep. Allen West from his 22nd congressional seat — businessman Patrick Murphy and former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel — may miss the retired Army colonel and tea party crowd pleaser because his rants on Fox News fired up the left and delivered dollars to their campaign coffers. | 02/03/12 06:55:23 By - Amy Sherman and Erika Bolstad

Unions lambaste pension overhaul plan from Calif. Gov. Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown laid out a detailed plan to alter California's state and local public retirement systems on Thursday – and immediately drew fire from his core labor constituency. | 02/03/12 06:46:55 By - Jon Ortiz

S.C. Senate panel OKs end of abortion coverage for rape, incest victims

The South Carolina state insurance plan — which covers state employees, and teachers and local government workers who opt to join — would not pay for abortions in cases of rape or incest if a state Senate panel has its way. | 02/02/12 07:34:26 By - Adam Beam

Kansas' largest insurer declines participation in Brownback's Medicaid reform

The state of Kansas' largest insurance company has decided it doesn't want to participate in Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to move Medicaid patients into privatized managed-care programs. | 02/02/12 07:24:57 By - Dion Lefler

Judges press lawyers on Texas voting maps

In often lively exchanges with the lawyers, the three-judge panel overseeing the Texas redistricting case repeatedly questioned the state's position during closing arguments Tuesday and signaled a quick decision in the Voting Rights Act case. | 02/01/12 07:32:15 By - Maria Recio

South Carolina's unemployed are the focus of several bills in state Legislature

Some call it a business-friendly way to safeguard the ability of the state's unemployment system to pay benefits to jobless South Carolinians who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Others say the S.C. Legislature has declared war on the state's unemployed workers. | 02/01/12 07:21:16 By - Gina Smith

Lower 48 Indian tribes help fuel Alaska Rep. Young's campaign fundraising

Alaska Rep. Don Young nearly doubled his campaign fundraising in the last months of the year with help from Lower 48 Indian tribes and now has a lot of money and no established challengers emerging to take him on. | 02/01/12 06:47:04 By - Sean Cockerham

Brownback officials defend Kansas' new food stamp policy

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration on Monday fended off suggestions that it is trying to ferret out undocumented immigrants with a new Kansas policy that cuts food stamp benefits for anyone in the country illegally. | 01/31/12 07:02:23 By - Brad Cooper

Rule would minimize family separation during green card process

A proposed shift in immigration rules announced this month by the Obama administration would allow some undocumented spouses or children of U.S. citizens to remain here rather than being forced to return to their native countries during a crucial step in the pursuit of a green card. | 01/30/12 07:34:17 By - Alex Branch

Two Kansas judges contributed to anti-abortion PAC

Campaign finance records show that at least two sitting Sedgwick County, Kan., judges have made contributions to the state's leading anti-abortion political action committee — after hearing cases involving abortion-related issues. | 01/30/12 07:18:02 By - Dave Helling

Calif. Gov. Brown rejects $100 billion high-speed rail estimate

California's high-speed rail project will cost far less than the state's current estimate of nearly $100 billion and environmental fees paid by carbon producers will be a source of funding, Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview aired in Los Angeles on Sunday. | 01/30/12 06:49:11 By - David Siders

Alaska's congressional delegation opposes closing of U.S. bases

Members of the Alaska delegation and others in Congress are vowing to resist a recommendation from the Pentagon to close military bases around the country. | 01/30/12 06:38:23 By - Sean Cockerham

Texas' wind power boom could head for bust if Congress doesn't extend tax credit

Texas remains the runaway leader in wind-power generation capacity among the 50 states. While only ninth in wind generation added during 2011, with 297 megawatts, it has nearly triple that amount under construction this year, the American Wind Energy Association said Thursday. | 01/27/12 07:29:33 By - Jack Z. Smith

Kansas police oppose proposal allowing guns in public buildings

Police chiefs from nine Kansas universities and colleges Thursday came out against a measure that would allow concealed handguns in government buildings. | 01/27/12 07:14:48 By - Brad Cooper

Universal health care proposal stalls in California Senate

Legislation to create a universal health care system in California stalled in the state Senate Thursday ahead of a key legislative deadline, signaling it will likely fail to advance this year. | 01/27/12 07:00:22 By - Torey Van Oot and Jim Sanders

Alaska film 'Big Miracle' premieres in nation's capital

"Big Miracle," the first major production subsidized by a state of Alaska film incentive program among the most generous in the nation, premiered in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as debate burns in Alaska over whether the program is worth the cost. | 01/26/12 11:32:59 By - Sean Cockerham

Perry's support in Texas has eroded, according to survey

Gov. Rick Perry's ill-fated bid for the presidency has apparently eroded his political base back home, dropping his Texas approval rating to a new low and raising doubts about his chances of victory if he seeks re-election in two years, according to a newly released poll conducted for the Star-Telegram and other major newspapers. | 01/26/12 07:32:21 By - Dave Montgomery

Charge of 'dead voters' in S.C. elections is disputed

"Zombies" are not voting in South Carolina, the state's top election official said Wednesday, disputing claims by another state official that more than 950 dead voters have cast ballots in S.C. elections. | 01/26/12 07:27:44 By - Gina Smith

Memo spoke of special session for Texas redistricting if 'bad' judges emerged

During questioning in federal court Tuesday of the Republican state senator in charge of redistricting, a lawyer for state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, revealed what Democrats call an explosive e-mail from state officials that suggested asking Gov. Rick Perry to call a special session of the Legislature if legal challenges drew "a really bad panel" of judges. | 01/25/12 07:42:21 By - Maria Recio

Kansas Gov. Brownback to review state's food stamp policy

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that he would review a new policy that has eliminated food stamps for hundreds of low-income children who are U.S. citizens but whose parents are illegal immigrants. | 01/25/12 07:22:35 By - Laura Bauer

Environmental groups ask Kentucky lawmakers to consider coal's health impact

Kentucky's leaders should consider the health hazards of mining, moving and burning coal as they craft the state's energy policy, an environmental group said Tuesday. | 01/25/12 07:16:32 By - John Cheves

California bill would ban employers from screening out long-term unemployed

Job applicants sought — but only if they don't need work. The message in some job advertisements these days is pretty blunt: Don't bother sending a résumé if you're not bringing home a paycheck already. | 01/23/12 06:51:57 By - Jim Sanders

Reaganomics guru Laffer praises Kansas Gov. Brownback's tax plan

Enjoying almost Republican rock star status, the man who designed supply-side economic policies for Ronald Reagan toured the capitol Thursday touting Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to cut taxes. | 01/20/12 07:12:35 By - Brad Cooper

Democrats' House political team taps two Californians for campaign support

Democratic strategists on Wednesday put more serious muscle behind two Central Valley congressional challengers. Now, get ready for the advertising deluge. | 01/18/12 16:42:51 By - Michael Doyle

Kansas Gov. Brownback's tax plan would hit poor the hardest

The numbers paint a stark picture of the haves and have-nots in Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s new tax plan.

More than a half million tax filers — earning less than $25,000 a year — will pay an average of $156 more in income taxes under the governor’s plan to overhaul the state tax code. By contrast, roughly 21,000 taxpayers — making more than $250,000 a year — will see an average cut of $5,200 a year in their tax bills. | 01/18/12 07:04:54 By - Brad Cooper

Dismembered fetuses in Super Bowl ads? Maybe in Illinois politics

Angela Michael said Tuesday her first move as a candidate for Congress in Illinois' new 15th District will be to run a campaign commercial — during the Super Bowl pregame show -- that is likely to offend many voters. The spot will feature dismembered fetuses. | 01/17/12 18:16:45 By - Brian Brueggemann

California lawmakers try another 'single-payer' health care bill

California's "Medicare for all" bill goes before a key Senate committee today, the latest chapter in a long-running battle between universal health insurance supporters and business. | 01/17/12 06:53:30 By - Jon Ortiz

California Gov. Brown proposes big changes for welfare

As unemployed Californians struggle to find work, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed strict rules for parents on welfare: Get a job in two years or lose nearly half of cash aid along with training and child care. | 01/16/12 06:56:45 By - Kevin Yamamura

S.C. tea party to hold convention in Myrtle Beach before GOP debate

The South Carolina Tea Party Coalition is hosting its first-ever state Tea Party Convention in Myrtle Beach prior to the GOP presidential debate. | 01/13/12 07:50:10 By - Brad Dickerson

Kansas Gov. Brownback's tax plan ends mortgage deduction

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed a money-saving $14 billion budget for 2012-13 that he said would be a boon for Kansas businesses and taxpayers. | 01/13/12 07:12:24 By - Brad Cooper and Mark Davis

Staff of Alaska Sen. Murkowski wagered on wildfires

Severe criticism from the wildland firefighters association and the parents of a fallen firefighter have committee staffers for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski apologizing for an office pool on how many acres wildland fires will destroy. | 01/13/12 06:57:14 By - Sean Cockerham

Proposal would require Missouri schools to verify students' immigration status

Missouri could be the next battleground in a nationwide fight over tougher immigration laws.

State Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would mandate that all public schools verify the immigration status of enrollees. It also would require law enforcement officers to check immigration status on all stops when they have reasonable cause, and create a state misdemeanor for not carrying proper citizenship documentation. | 01/12/12 07:14:05 By - Jason Hancock

South Carolina AG to fight feds over voter ID law

Three of South Carolina’s top political leaders announced Tuesday their plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to block the state’s controversial voter ID law. | 01/11/12 07:25:51 By - Noelle Phillips

N.C. Gov. Perdue challenged on labor data

A congressional committee wants answers from Gov. Bev Perdue about how she was able to release closely guarded labor statistics before their scheduled release. | 01/09/12 12:51:06 By - Franco Ordoñez

Washington Gov. Gregoire to support gay marriage bill

Gov. Chris Gregoire said Wednesday she wants Washington to become the seventh state in the nation to make gay marriage legal. She said at a news conference she'll introduce legislation that, if passed, would allow same-sex marriage in Washington state. | 01/05/12 07:36:46 By - Rachel la Corte

Jack Abramoff discusses influence peddling with Kentucky lawmakers

Disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff explained political corruption Wednesday to rapt members of the Kentucky General Assembly. Abramoff, a Republican insider who made tens of millions of dollars influencing Congress before going to prison in 2006, was the featured speaker for an ethics class that is required of Kentucky lawmakers every winter. | 01/05/12 07:13:06 By - John Cheves

GOP, Democrats have competing visions of Calif. rail study

Lawmakers are now competing to influence the next big review of California high-speed rail, underscoring the project's new political vulnerability. | 01/04/12 17:36:40 By - Michael Doyle

Parts of S.C. immigration law blocked by federal judge

State and local police will not be checking for immigration documents on Jan. 1 after a federal judge on Thursday blocked portions of the South Carolina immigration law. | 12/23/11 07:23:25 By - Noelle Phillips

Court finds Texas beer rule violates First Amendment

Texas brewers can finally call a beer a beer. They can also tell folks where to find their beers and their ales, as well as their malt liquors. Ruling in favor of plaintiffs who asserted that some Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules were unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said the state was effectively forcing brewers to lie about their products. | 12/22/11 07:41:28 By - Terry Evans

Alaska lawmaker Tuck in feud with TSA over body scanners

Alaska state Rep. Chris Tuck is running TV ads telling people they can skip the new body scanners at Alaska airports and should call airport police if the Transportation Security Administration gets too frisky with the resulting pat-downs. | 12/20/11 06:51:37 By - Sean Cockerham

Rick Perry draws Texas retirement plus his salary

Gov. Rick Perry is double-dipping, drawing retirement income from the state in addition to his salary as governor since late January, newly released records show. | 12/19/11 07:38:58 By - Maria Recio

S.C. immigration law faces scrutiny from federal judge

The federal government squares off against South Carolina this morning as it asks a federal judge to stop the state’s immigration law from taking effect Jan. 1. | 12/19/11 07:31:02 By - Noelle Phillips

S.C. Gov. Haley endorses Romney

Gov. Nikki Haley has endorsed Mitt Romney for president and will campaign with him in South Carolina this weekend.

“He is a conservative businessman who has spent his life working in the economy, and he understands exactly how jobs are created,” Haley said in a news release from Romney’s campaign. | 12/16/11 10:10:34 By - Adam Beam and Gina Smith

N.C. Gov. Perdue vetoes Racial Justice Act repeal

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue today vetoed the bill that would gut the Racial Justice Act, the two-year-old law that allows death-row inmates to appeal their sentences based on statistical proof of racial bias. | 12/14/11 13:42:44 By -

Splintered S.C. tea party may not be a factor in GOP race

Just a year after helping sweep in a new Palmetto State governor and four new congressmen, the Tea Party may well be a non-factor in picking the winner of the Republican Party’s South Carolina presidential primary. | 12/14/11 07:31:37 By - Gina Smith

Gay rights measure likely headed to Alaska ballots

Sponsors of an initiative to extend legal protections against discrimination to gay and transgender people in Anchorage on Thursday turned in a several-inch-high stack of petitions to the city clerk's office to put the measure on the April city election ballot. | 12/09/11 06:59:38 By - Rosemary Shinohara

N.C. Republicans begin push on illegal immigration

Republicans now in charge of North Carolina's state legislature are using their clout to push for new laws identifying illegal immigrants and limiting their use of public services. That effort got its start Wednesday in the House Committee on the State's Role in Immigration Policy, which drew a crowd representing both sides of the controversial issue. | 12/08/11 07:29:55 By - Lynn Bonner

'Daily Show' reporter gives Fla. Gov. Scott a cup for drug test

Gov. Rick Scott and his drug-testing policy became the unwitting target of Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Wednesday as a reporter for the show broke into budget news conference and asked the governor to "pee in a cup." | 12/08/11 07:06:44 By - Mary Ellen Klas

In defending abortion restrictions, Kansas rings up big bills

The legal cash register is starting to ring up big numbers as Kansas defends new laws aimed at restricting abortion. After about six months, the state has tallied $392,520 in legal bills stemming from attempts to restrict abortion that were pushed during the legislative session earlier this year. | 12/05/11 07:23:22 By - Brad Cooper

Miss. Rep. Palazzo's transfer of accounting firm to wife is questioned

U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo’s transfer of his Biloxi accounting firm to his wife -- done to satisfy House ethics rules -- is drawing scrutiny in a published report that questions the timing of the move, its legality under Mississippi law and a mysterious political action committee that has now vanished from the company’s website. | 12/02/11 07:13:38 By - Maria Recio

Feds want two experts dropped from John Edwards trial

Federal prosecutors in the John Edwards case are trying to prevent two former Federal Elections Commission chairmen from testifying as expert witnesses in the criminal case against the former presidential candidate. | 11/30/11 07:16:31 By - Anne Blythe

Three associates of N.C Gov. Perdue indicted

A Wake County North Carolina grand jury today handed down indictments alleging that a top aide to Gov. Bev Perdue's 2008 campaign schemed to pay a staffer $32,000 for work that was kept off the books in violation of state election laws. | 11/28/11 14:11:55 By - Dan Kane

Two Florida cities ask Supreme Court to reconsider Citizens United ruling

When the Supreme Court made its landmark 2008 ruling in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, political warfare was unleashed. It became known among some as the “corporations are people, too” ruling. The ruling has become a rallying point of the left and others who believe corporate money has a corrupting influence on the electoral process. And now cities are getting into the act, including two in South Florida. | 11/28/11 06:57:55 By - Perry Stein

Nikki Haley the 'Clemson girl' a rarity among governors

Nikki Haley is an oddity among S.C. governors for more than just her gender. She's also the first Clemson graduate in the office in more than half a century. | 11/25/11 07:41:18 By - Gina Smith

Kentucky Gov. Beshear's son representing company seeking state tax breaks

A Hindu ground-blessing ceremony for a new company in Elizabethtown became a campaign controversy last month after Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear participated and his Republican challenger criticized him for it. What went unnoticed is that one of Beshear's sons, Louisville attorney Andrew Beshear, is paid to represent the company in question, UFLEX Ltd. of India, preparing to collect $20 million in tax breaks from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. | 11/23/11 07:11:11 By - John Cheves

Kansas Gov. Brownback says he'll fight to keep Boeing in Wichita

Gov. Sam Brownback said he and the state’s congressional delegation "will fight and fight hard" to keep Boeing in Wichita, and he said he would remind Boeing officials of the promises they made while he and others fought to secure a massive aerial refueling tanker contract. | 11/23/11 07:05:47 By - Brent D. Wistrom

Rep aims to close Penn State's open records loopholes

In response to what he called the “bewilderment” of people watching the child sexual abuse scandal unfold at Penn State, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff said he plans to introduce legislation to make more information about state-related universities available to the public. | 11/22/11 14:47:38 By - Jessica VanderKolk

Texas might cut Medicaid reimbursements

Therapy and physician groups in Texas are alarmed about proposed cuts in government healthcare reimbursement rates that they say would hurt the sickest and poorest Texas patients, most of them children. | 11/21/11 07:40:03 By - Darren Barbee

S.C. Gov. Haley faces ethics complaint from GOP activist

A Republican activist and former economic advisor for the state of South Carolina filed a lawsuit Thursday against Gov. Nikki Haley, asking whether she broke state ethics laws while a House member. | 11/18/11 07:24:00 By - Gina Smith

FEC drops Joe Miller's Senate race complaint against Alaska Native corporations

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint by losing U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller alleging Alaska Native corporations broke federal law by pumping more than $800,000 into the effort to re-elect Sen. Lisa Murkowski. | 11/14/11 06:36:50 By - Sean Cockerham

PA Gov. Corbett defends firing of Paterno, Spanier

Gov. Tom Corbett said he was disappointed by the responses of former Penn State President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno to the sex abuse scandal involving a former university coach. | 11/11/11 07:27:36 By - Anne Danahy

Poll: No clear GOP favorite in S.C.

Republican presidential candidates have swooped through South Carolina for months now, trying their best to woo voters who will go to the polls in the state’s first-in-the-South primary in January. So far, however, that wooing hasn’t stuck. | 11/10/11 07:31:08 By - Wayne Washington

Washington, D.C.-based anti-abortion group wants to join N.C. lawsuit

An anti-abortion public-interest organization wants to help the state defend against a lawsuit challenging the new law placing restrictions on the operation. | 11/10/11 07:15:05 By - Craig Jarvis

Kentucky GOP's high profile in D.C. doesn't translate to state elections

Kentucky Republicans lost handily in the Tuesday's state elections, a surprisingly poor showing for a state that boasts as kingmakers the U.S. Senate minority leader, U.S. House Appropriations Committee chairman and a popular public face of the tea party. | 11/09/11 19:06:29 By - Halimah Abdullah

Justice Dept. probe of late Alaska Sen. Stevens prosecutors almost complete

The Justice Department is almost finished with its investigation into misconduct by prosecutors in the 2008 prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. The inquiry by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility is in its "last stages," Attorney General Eric Holder told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. | 11/09/11 06:51:41 By - Sean Cockerham

Personhood Florida aims to mimic Mississippi's amendment push

Voters in Mississippi will decide Tuesday whether a fertilized human egg should be recognized as a person under the state constitution, an anti-abortion strategy that a group of Christian conservatives hopes to mimic in Florida. Personhood USA, the Colorado group behind the Mississippi ballot question, has been collecting petition signatures to bring a similar proposal to Florida. | 11/08/11 06:54:31 By - Katie Sanders

Nunes staffer says congressman won't challenge Feinstein

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, is not running for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, Nunes's chief of staff said Monday. While falling somewhat short of a flat-out political declaration of permanent disinterest, the statement Monday seemed to step back from the congressman's earlier suggestions that he might be enticed into the Senate race. | 11/07/11 17:15:34 By - Michael Doyle

Texas has 10 amendments to its constitution on Tuesday's ballot

At a time when debt is being used like some other four-letter words around Washington, D.C., Texas voters are being asked to approve public borrowing of billions of dollars. Texans will decide on 10 amendments to the state constitution Tuesday. | 11/07/11 07:37:07 By - Aman Batheja

Kansas anti-tax drive backed by Missouri billionaire Rex Sinquefield

A new campaign to repeal the Kansas income tax is being bankrolled in part by a Missouri billionaire and anti-income-tax crusader. | 11/02/11 13:53:10 By - Dave Heller

Poll: One third of Texans say Perry's campaign is hurting state's image

A strong majority of Texans believe that long-standing factors other than Gov. Perry's leadership have contributed to the state's robust economy, and about a third say that Perry's presidential campaign is hurting the state's image, according to a new poll. | 11/02/11 07:39:07 By - Dave Montgomery

S.C. Rep. Duncan likens illegal immigrants to animals, vagrants

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Laurens Republican, is raising some eyebrows after likening illegal immigrants to animals and vagrants during a talk Monday to Furman University students. During a student event at the Greenville university, Duncan was answering a question about the complexity of political issues and used illegal immigration as an example. | 11/02/11 07:31:42 By - Gina Smith

Alaska Gov. Parnell's natural gas-to-Asia plan has lawmakers intrigued

Alaska politicians are interested in Gov. Sean Parnell's push to try to export the state's natural gas to Asia rather than the Lower 48, with influential lawmakers saying the state should consider paying to help to make it happen. | 10/31/11 06:50:28 By - Sean Cockerham

Kansas abortion doctors sue over new clinic regulations

Three doctors who perform abortions in Kansas will challenge new regulations for their clinics even after the rules were revised to placate the physicians, their attorneys said Thursday, arguing that the rules still impose unreasonable and "irrational" requirements. | 10/28/11 07:09:38 By - John Hanna

Congress' 'supercommittee' meets in public; no deal in sight

Democrats argued vigorously Wednesday on Capitol Hill that government programs are needed desperately to help get people back to work. Republicans fought just as hard for big spending cuts and low taxes. | 10/26/11 17:20:56 By - David Lightman

S.C. businesses soon to use E-Verify for their workers

Small businesses in South Carolina will soon have to verify all their workers are legal through an electronic verification system, and state authorities are ramping up efforts to make sure they know how | 10/26/11 11:52:37 By - Grant Martin

California medical marijuana advocates want ballot measure on industry regulation

Medical marijuana advocates, decrying a federal government crackdown on dispensaries and a failure of state lawmakers to act, said Tuesday that they are drafting a 2012 ballot initiative to impose statewide oversight of California's burgeoning medicinal cannabis trade. | 10/26/11 06:53:51 By - Peter Hecht

Fla. state Senator's call to check Hispanic voters' citizenship draws fire

A Florida state senator’s comments ignited a fierce rebuke from his colleagues Thursday when he said that voters should be screened for citizenship before legislators draw a congressional district to favor Hispanics. | 10/21/11 06:59:33 By - Mary Ellen Klas and Michael C. Bender

California board OKs cap and trade for carbon emissions

California approved one of the broadest and most controversial components of its landmark climate change law, pushing the state toward a low-carbon economy that relies less on imported foreign oil. | 10/21/11 06:50:01 By - Rick Daysog and Dale Kasler

Alaska Natives urged to drop political party affiliations

Are you a registered Democrat? A Republican? The board of directors for the Alaska Federation of Natives -- the nonprofit representing indigenous people in nearly 180 communities across the state -- recommends dropping your party affiliation. At least on paper. | 10/21/11 06:40:29 By - Kyle Hopkins

Restoring America claims First Amendment rights violated by Kentucky ad ban

An outside political group that has run television ads against Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has appealed an order barring the ads from running in Kentucky, saying the ruling violated the group's First Amendment right to free speech. | 10/19/11 07:03:30 By - Beth Musgrave

Crackdown on Florida timeshare fraud causes rift in state GOP

Despite Florida’s struggles with Medicare fraud, foreclosure “robo-signing” and prescription drug “pill mills,” the attorney general’s top legislative priority is to clean up timeshare resale fraud. | 10/18/11 12:16:24 By - Toluse Olorunnipa

Despite tea party's plea, Perry unlikely to call sanctuary cities special session

Gov. Rick Perry appears unlikely to call a second special session to revive an effort to ban so-called sanctuary cities in Texas, despite increasing calls from Tea Party groups that the issue deserves immediate attention. | 10/18/11 07:33:22 By - Aman Batheja

Kansans are slowly donating to GOP presidential hopefuls

Kansans appear to be taking a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to donating to Republican presidential candidates. Fewer than 260 Kansans contributed just under $130,000 total to GOP presidential campaigns during the third quarter, according to the Federal Election Commission. | 10/18/11 07:03:57 By - Rick Plumlee

Fla. lawmaker targets debit card fees

A House Democrat disgusted by big banks and their new monthly fees for using debit cards proposed on Monday to make those charges illegal for Florida customers. | 10/18/11 07:00:17 By - Katie Sanders

Border drug war: Is it really out of control?

Flying at an altitude of about 700 feet, the Department of Public Safety helicopter follows the meandering pathway of the Rio Grande as it cuts through rich farmland in South Texas and northern Mexico, part of Gov. Rick Perry's border-control effort. | 10/17/11 08:09:35 By - Dave Montgomery

Alaska author had to keep award nomination secret

Debby Dahl Edwardson, of Barrow, Alaska, received a phone call Monday morning telling her that her young adult novel, "My Name Is Not Easy," was a finalist for the National Book Award. | 10/16/11 14:15:57 By - Mike Dunham

Pawn shops prospering in Sacramento, nationally

Pawn shops, once considered the seamy underside of commerce, have become a mainstream destination for individuals and small businesses looking to cope in today's economy. | 10/16/11 14:11:27 By - Mark Glover

Idaho's wine industry gaining ground

Idaho's Treasure Valley boasts more than half of the state’s 43 wineries, a tally that has nearly quadrupled since 2002, when the state had 11 wineries. | 10/16/11 14:06:00 By - Kristin Rodine

N.C. state rep criticized for drug test idea

Facing a firestorm of criticism, N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis said Wednesday he may have made a "poor choice of words" when he suggested the state "find a way to divide and conquer" people on public assistance. | 10/13/11 11:36:38 By - Jim Morrill and John Frank

North Carolina politician under fire for comments on welfare recipients

Facing a firestorm of criticism, N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis said Wednesday he may have made a "poor choice of words" when he suggested the state "find a way to divide and conquer" people on public assistance. However, he stuck by other remarks that the state might consider drug-testing recipients of welfare and other public money, and even some state employees. | 10/13/11 07:26:05 By - Jim Morrill and John Frank

Domestic violence law repealed in Topeka, Ks., to save money

The Topeka City Council on Tuesday voted to repeal the city’s law against misdemeanor domestic battery, the latest in a budget battle that has freed about 30 abuse suspects from charges. One of the offenders was even arrested and released twice since the brouhaha broke out Sept. 8. | 10/12/11 07:17:06 By - Joe Lambe

Calif. gay curriculum foes 'need a miracle' to qualify referendum

With just one day left to circulate petitions, organizers of an effort to repeal a new law requiring that California students learn about the historical contributions of gay and lesbian individuals have told supporters that they "would need a miracle to qualify this referendum." | 10/12/11 06:54:36 By - Torey Van Oot

California farmers welcome free-trade deal

California farmers have waited a very long time for the three free-trade deals set for House approval Wednesday. They have also weighed in, a lot. | 10/11/11 17:31:27 By - Michael Doyle

California law restricts 'open carry' of guns

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation criminalizing openly carrying an unloaded handgun in public and requiring the state to keep records of rifle sales, as it currently does for handguns, Brown announced this morning. | 10/10/11 12:51:30 By - Dan Smith

What Jerry Brown now has in common with Rick Perry: a Dream Act

The California Dream Act allows access to public financial aid, including Cal Grants, for undocumented students who came to the country before turning 16 and attended California high schools. Those students already are eligible for in-state tuition, and Brown in July signed a companion measure affording them access to private financial aid. | 10/08/11 16:40:25 By - David Siders

Conservative group slams Ros-Lehtinen on gay marriage

A Christian group has chastised U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, as “an arrogant, anti-family, homosexualist extremist” for becoming the first Republican in Congress to co-sponsor legislation to repeal the federal ban on gay marriage. | 10/07/11 06:59:04 By - Steve Rothaus

Edwards case goes before federal judge in late October

A federal judge will hear arguments later this month on whether the criminal case against John Edwards should be dismissed or move toward trial. In a court document filed this week, federal court officials set a hearing for Oct. 26. | 10/05/11 14:20:25 By - Anne Blythe

Kansas Gov. Brownback leads renewable energy summit

Gov. Sam Brownback urged leaders from the energy industry to work together to help spur job growth and ignite economic opportunities powered by wind and fuels which are rich in Kansas. | 10/05/11 07:03:38 By - Ron Sylvester

George W. Bush calls his presidential center 'awe-inspiring'

Former President George W. Bush watched as a crane lifted a 20-foot steel beam — the last piece of the frame for his presidential center — and placed it on the highest point of the building. He grinned and applauded, along with more than 500 supporters and construction workers, who attended a traditional topping-out ceremony at the center Monday morning. | 10/04/11 07:26:19 By - Anna M. Tinsley

'Boycott Univision debate,' Fla. Republicans tell RNC

Three top Florida Hispanic Republicans are calling on the national GOP and their party’s presidential candidates to boycott a proposed Univision debate amid allegations that the Spanish-language television network tried to “extort” Sen. Marco Rubio. | 10/04/11 06:57:05 By - Marc Caputo

Alaska lawmakers seek reduction of prison costs, recidivism

Alaska's growing -- and expensive -- prison population is getting new attention from state legislators, who say they want to try new ways to lower inmate numbers. And they are looking hardest at those who have already been there. | 10/04/11 06:39:35 By - Lisa Demer

Perry's handling of Texas pension, health care funds is questioned

Gov. Rick Perry is making headlines with his attacks on Social Security and Medicare, blasting their fiscal stability, likening them to Ponzi schemes and calling them a "monstrous lie to our kids." But the tables are being turned on the Republican presidential contender as scrutiny increases of his handling of Texas' public pension funds and the $1 billion health care fund for Texas teachers. | 10/03/11 07:34:19 By - Yamil Berard

George W. Bush Presidential Center reaches a milestone

After months of work, the last piece of the frame on the George W. Bush Presidential Center -- an approximately 20-foot-long steel beam -- will be lifted by crane and placed at the tallest point of the building, over what will become Freedom Hall, a light-filled space topped with a lantern-shaped roof that will glow at night. | 10/03/11 07:29:14 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Calif. Gov. Brown signs bill prohibiting circumcision bans

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill prohibiting cities and counties from banning male circumcision, his office announced today. Assembly Bill 768 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, was inspired by a San Francisco ballot measure designed to prohibit child circumcision there. | 10/03/11 06:44:57 By - Dan Smith

Fla. Republican leaders back away from immigration reform plans

Can Florida legislators turn their backs on immigration reform?

That is the question hovering over Republicans this week after Rick Perry’s performance in last week’s presidential debate and the results of the Florida straw poll, which show that being soft on the issue can imperil Republicans strapped to a primary. | 09/30/11 06:57:41 By - Mary Ellen Klas

N.C. Gov. Perdue's remark strikes nerve with GOP pundits

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue has long had a reputation for shoot-from-the-hip remarks that leave her audiences shaking their heads, part of her folksy, I'm-just-a -coal-miner's-daughter persona. But none of her previous comments hit a political nerve like her startling suggestion this week that Congress suspend its elections next year to concentrate on fixing the economy. | 09/29/11 07:21:20 By - Rob Christensen and John Frank

Report: No indication that Kansas benefit programs discourage marriage

Some Kansas state benefit programs may create a financial disincentive to marriage, but auditors who talked to recipients and to state employees found "little evidence that eligibility rules significantly influence clients' decisions about whether to marry," according to a report released Tuesday. Lawmakers who want to change the rules to promote marriage "likely would have only a limited impact on clients' marital decisions," the audit concluded. | 09/28/11 07:04:22 By - Brent D. Wistrom

California questions $18-million logging industry subsidy

California taxpayers subsidize the logging industry to the tune of $18 million a year, according to testimony at an Assembly hearing Tuesday. The key question before the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee was whether any of that subsidy is justified. | 09/28/11 06:47:50 By - Matt Weiser

Does Texas lead U.S. in lower taxes?

On national television and in stump speeches nationwide, Gov. Rick Perry is touting Texas as a model for the U.S. economy, notably the state's tax structure. When many politicians and pundits proclaim Texas a low-tax state, they're referring to the fact that there's no personal income tax and that direct taxes on businesses are relatively low. | 09/26/11 07:46:00 By - Aman Batheja

Poll: Raising taxes is an option for S.C. GOP voters

S.C. Republican and Republican-leaning voters do not want cuts to Social Security, Medicare or defense — but they might be willing to pay more taxes to help balance the country’s budget, according to a new poll from Winthrop University. | 09/26/11 07:28:00 By - Adam Beam

Bourbon distillers focus on South Korea free trade debate

Distillers of bourbon — Kentucky's trademark spirit — are hopeful that a long-stymied free-trade agreement with South Korea will boost U.S. liquor exports. Industry proponents say a provision in the free-trade agreement with South Korea would recognize bourbon as a uniquely American product and therefore offer protections that would help stave off bootlegging. | 09/26/11 07:10:10 By - Halimah Abdullah

California gets federal funds to review health insurance rates

California won more than $4.3 million in federal grants to improve its reviews of health insurance rates, but the state's insurance commissioner said California missed out on potentially more funds. | 09/22/11 06:50:02 By - Darrell Smith

ANWR coastal plain is topic of debate for Alaskans

A battle over whether the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be set aside as wilderness — or eventually opened up for oil exploration — brought dozens of people with polar-opposite views to a public hearing in Anchorage on Wednesday. | 09/22/11 06:43:57 By - Lisa Demer

S.C. Gov. Haley opposes gas tax rate hike to fund DOT

Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday she opposes raising the state’s gasoline tax to increase revenue for the cash-strapped S.C. Department of Transportation. | 09/21/11 07:29:06 By - Sammy Fretwell and Adam Beam

Poll: Romney closes gap with Perry in S.C.

The honeymoon is over for Rick Perry. The Texas governor soared to the front of the Republican pack in the weeks following his announcement for president in Charleston, enjoying a double-digit lead over onetime GOP front-runner Mitt Romney and stealing away the Tea Party support that had made Michele Bachmann a household name. | 09/21/11 07:24:26 By - Adam Beam

Alaska Gov. Parnell continues push for lower taxes on oil companies

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell continued to bash the federal government Tuesday and said he's lobbying legislators to pass his proposal for a major reduction in how much the state taxes oil companies. Parnell on Tuesday morning gave the opening address at the Alaska Oil and Gas Congress, an annual petroleum trade gathering being held at the Marriott Hotel in Anchorage. | 09/21/11 06:39:25 By - Sean Cockerham

Poll: Many S.C. Republicans think Obama a Muslim, born in another country

President Barack Obama has released his detailed, long-form birth certificate that shows he was born in Hawaii. And the president has said he is a Christian. But a Winthrop Poll released today shows that large numbers of S.C. Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party don’t believe him. | 09/20/11 13:03:59 By - Wayne Washington

Texas tea party wants 'sanctuary cities' bill revived by Perry

Texas Tea Party leaders, challenging Gov. Rick Perry to dispel doubts about his stance on illegal immigration, demanded Monday that he call lawmakers back to work to enact a controversial "sanctuary cities" bill and other major immigration measures. | 09/20/11 07:24:01 By - Dave Montgomery

For touting Rand Paul's Senate campaign, Kentucky judge is reprimanded

A circuit court judge for Kentucky's McCreary and Whitley counties has been publicly reprimanded for sending campaign materials via email to all Kentucky circuit court judges last year touting Republican Rand Paul's bid for the U.S. Senate. | 09/20/11 06:59:47 By - Jack Brammer

Same-sex couples in Alaska get tax exemption, judge rules

An Anchorage judge has ruled that same-sex couples in Alaska qualify for the same exemptions on local property taxes as those that apply to married couples. | 09/20/11 06:25:18 By - Rosemary Shinohara

Fla. Sen. Rubio praises 'job creators' in hometown speech

After a series of high profile speeches across the country, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio returned home Sunday for an address that took a direct dig at the jobs plan coming out of the White House. Rubio, in the keynote address at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention, told the crowd gathered to hear him that he was proud to be in a room "with job creators." | 09/19/11 06:57:07 By - Erika Bolstad

Poll: Congress' approval rating drops to single digits in California

It's come to this: Single digits. Battered by the failing economy and its own partisan gridlock, Congress' standing among California voters has fallen to an all-time low. | 09/16/11 06:40:13 By - David Siders

Obama's jobs bill could be boon for Texas schools

President Barack Obama's proposed $25 billion outlay to help modernize 35,000 well-worn public school buildings has left local school officials excited but groping for details. | 09/15/11 07:33:04 By - Robert Cadwallader

Texas' voter ID law faces federal scrutiny

The contentious issue of voter ID in Texas is now in the hands of federal officials. On Wednesday, several civil-rights groups filed documents with the Justice Department, asking officials to oppose any early approval or "pre-clearance" of the measure, which fully takes effect in Texas on Jan. 1. | 09/15/11 07:27:49 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Florida law restricting doctors' gun talk blocked by federal judge

A federal judge Wednesday blocked a Florida gun law that restricted doctors from asking patients about firearms. Judge Marcia G. Cooke said doctors had a First Amendment right to ask about firearms, and she rapped the state’s lawyers for failing to provide more than anecdotal evidence to show the law was needed. | 09/15/11 06:56:07 By - Marc Caputo

San Joaquin Valley officials speak as one to Congress

San Joaquin Valley officials from Stockton to Bakersfield are putting aside their competitive instincts this week to lobby Congress with one voice. | 09/14/11 16:45:30 By - Michael Doyle

U.S. Rep. Myrick criticized for 9/11 cancellation

When U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick canceled appearances at 9/11 events last weekend, she said intelligence sources had alerted her that her name had turned up in a threatening Iranian news agency article. But opponents say the Charlotte, N.C., Republican is making exaggerating claims for political gain. | 09/14/11 07:14:27 By - Franco Ordoñez

Romney stumps in S.C.

Mitt Romney made a rare campaign stop in South Carolina Monday, touring the Boeing facility here with his newest backer in his bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. | 09/13/11 07:25:41 By - Wayne Washington

Investigate 9/11 link in Sarasota, Fla. lawmaker says

A decade after the FBI found ties between a Saudi family living quietly near Sarasota and the 9/11 hijackers, a Florida Democratic congresswoman is calling on the House Intelligence Committee to investigate whether agents revealed their findings to Congress. | 09/13/11 06:59:39 By - Dan Christensen

N.C. Rep. Myrick cancels 9/11 appearance over Iranian newspaper article

U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick canceled all of her appearances at 9/11 anniversary events Sunday, saying her name had recently turned up in a threatening Iranian state newspaper article. Myrick, a House Intelligence Committee member who has been outspoken about the threat of radical Islamists, said she was told by intelligence sources that her name was on a state-sanctioned list published last week in Iran. | 09/12/11 07:23:58 By - Tim Funk

As wildfires rage, Texas Forest Service grapples with funding cuts

As the Texas Forest Service battles what may be the state's most destructive wildfire outbreak ever, state lawmakers are facing criticism that they have has taken a penny-wise-pound-foolish approach to funding the agency. About 330 firefighters with the forest service traditionally serve as a second tier of defense when wildfires get larger than local department can handle. But, Texas' Legislature cut the agency's funding this year to $83 million from $117 million. | 09/09/11 07:28:45 By - Aman Batheja

S.C. Gov. Haley says her $127,000 Europe trip will bring two deals

Gov. Nikki Haley insisted Thursday that her recent $127,000 economic development trip to Paris and Munich soon will result in two companies locating in South Carolina. Haley also disagreed with a media account in which Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt was quoted as saying no deals were struck during the trip. | 09/09/11 07:22:35 By - Gina Smith

PAC wants Ole Miss mascot Colonel Reb on 2012 ballot

Colonel Reb for president?

Not exactly, but if the Colonel Reb Political Action Committee has its way, Colonel Reb may be on the 2012 presidential election ballot in Mississippi. | 09/08/11 14:23:10 By - Scott Hawkins

Fla. welfare drug testing law challenged by ACLU, Navy veteran

The ACLU of Florida and a Navy veteran from Orlando have filed a class action lawsuit against the state challenging a new law that requires cash welfare recipients to first pass a drug test. The lawsuit contends that the drug testing requirement represents an unconstitutional search and seizure. | 09/08/11 06:54:32 By - Michael C. Bender

John Edwards seeks dismissal of case

Lawyers for John Edwards filed a barrage of court documents Tuesday asking a federal judge to dismiss criminal charges against the former U.S. senator and presidential candidate. | 09/07/11 07:21:19 By - Anne Blythe

Adult entertainment law goes before Missouri's high court

Missouri's yearlong dispute over what adult entertainment venues can offer — and when — is probably entering its final, decisive stage today in Jefferson City. Missouri's Supreme Court is to hear oral arguments this morning in the legal challenge to a law that broadly restricts adult entertainment in strip clubs, bookstores and movie houses. | 09/07/11 07:15:13 By - Dave Helling

Fla. Gov. Scott clarifies Everglades drilling comments

Gov. Rick Scott found himself on both sides of the fence on Tuesday when he said in a speech that he supports oil drilling in the Everglades, then hours later issued a clarification that he didn’t mean “an expansion of drilling.” | 09/07/11 06:50:43 By - Mary Ellen Klas

In California, 3,300 state workers are on notice for layoffs

The state has warned nearly 3,300 California state workers this year that their positions may disappear as the government grinds through a slow-motion layoff process that aims to shrink government over the next few years. The notices represent the initial wave of warnings that eventually will lead to several thousand state jobs lost. | 09/04/11 18:13:17 By - Jon Ortiz

EPA rules could cause 'emergency events,' Texas power officials say

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, operator of the state's major power grid, said in a report Thursday that a new Environmental Protection Agency regulation will reduce generating capacity and put the grid "at increasing risk of emergency events," including rotating power outages. | 09/02/11 07:25:55 By - Jack Z. Smith

Texas HIV/AIDS programs facing big fund cuts, increased service demands

North Texas organizations that help people with HIV/AIDS are facing cuts in federal funding at the same time that they're bracing for a rush of new clients from rural areas. Those agencies say they are already dealing with a reduction of federal funds received this year under the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides HIV-related services for people without sufficient healthcare coverage or financial resources. | 09/02/11 07:20:32 By - Alex Branch

Florida medical examiner who autopsied Anna Nicole Smith ousted

He became a celebrity medical examiner after the death of Anna Nicole Smith, appearing on national television and being interviewed by the likes of Nancy Grace and Larry King. In his 17-year-career with Broward County, Chief Medical Examiner Joshua Perper signed the death certificates of thousands, including models, athletes and gambling moguls. | 09/02/11 06:55:07 By - Dan Christensen and Julie K. Brown

S.C. Gov. Haley to reject federal health insurance exchange funds

Gov. Nikki Haley said she will let federal deadlines slip by and not accept millions in federal funds to help South Carolina set up its own health insurance exchange. | 09/01/11 07:17:55 By - Gina Smith

Schwarzenegger had right to furlough workers, appeals court rules

The two-day-a-month unpaid furloughs of state executive branch workers ordered in 2008 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger legally applied to employees of California's elected constitutional officers, an appellate court in Sacramento ruled Tuesday. | 08/31/11 12:18:31 By - Denny Walsh

N.C. Republicans push same-sex marriage ban

Republican leaders in the North Carolina House of Representatives held a news conference Tuesday to push for passage of legislation that will put before voters a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The issue is one of several constitutional amendments the legislature will take up when it returns Sept. 12. | 08/31/11 07:13:50 By - Craig Jarvis, Alan. M, Wolf and Mary Cornatzer

Planned Parenthood funds in Kansas restored by federal judge

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Kansas to restore federal family planning funds to Planned Parenthood as the case is appealed. U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten ruled that the funding should be provided to Planned Parenthood on a quarterly basis, not the monthly allocation sought by the state. | 08/31/11 06:58:14 By - Brad Cooper

S.C. Sen. DeMint says he won't run in 2016

"Pending some unforeseen circumstances," U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint told the Columbia Rotary Club Monday he will not run for re-election in 2016. DeMint added he will not run for president, either, quipping, "I think I'm the only senator who does not see a president when I look in the mirror." | 08/30/11 07:20:06 By - Adam Beam

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