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N.C. House panel declines to endorse annexation referenda
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N.C. House panel declines to endorse annexation referenda

BY GARY D. ROBERTSON

In what may be a harbinger for next year's General Assembly, a House committee Wednesday debated - but declined to endorse - a measure that would let voters use referenda to block forced annexations. While the measure applies to the town of Kernersville, bill opponents said other lawmakers likely would attempt to add their towns and cities in the years ahead if the bill became law. That's fine with the bill sponsor, Rep. Michael Decker, R-Forsyth. Legislative rules hindered the proposal from covering the entire state.

06/09/2004
Ballantine seeks to add up youth, experience to nomination
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Ballantine seeks to add up youth, experience to nomination

BY GARY D. ROBERTSON

Patrick Ballantine has been around state Republican politics for so long that it's hard to believe the former Senate minority leader has yet to turn 40. Now, the Wilmington attorney hopes a combination of experience and relative youth can set him apart in the crowded field seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the July 20 primary. Despite the fact that three of his competitors are old enough to be his father, Ballantine notes, "I have more experience than any of them in state government.

06/06/2004
Lawmakers may have notched speed record
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Lawmakers may have notched speed record

BY CHARLES E. BEGGS

Even for Oregon's notoriously unpredictable Legislature, 13 minutes is something of a record. But that's how long a would-be special session lasted Tuesday, before House Republicans gave up the ghost. It was quite a change from 2003, when legislators met for a record-setting 227 days to try and plug the state's yawning budget gap, and from 2002, when they convened for no less than five special sessions between January and October.

06/01/2004
Analysis: Legislature's ‘half-session' reflects political divide
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Analysis: Legislature's ‘half-session' reflects political divide

BY CHARLES E. BEGGS

SALEM — The Oregon Legislature has set all manner of records in recent times — the longest-ever regular session last year, a record five special sessions in 2002. Now for a new twist: lawmakers will hold half of a special session in the coming week. With the House planning to convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday and the Senate staying home, the stage is set for the state's first-ever "uni-session." While the mechanics of the half-session might seem mysterious, the politics behind it are not.

05/31/2004
Wu, Hooley face tough competition in fall
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Wu, Hooley face tough competition in fall

BY BRAD CAIN

Democratic U.S. Reps. David Wu and Darlene Hooley haven't faced tough re-election campaigns in recent years. That could change this fall, when the two incumbents go up against well-financed Republicans who rode a wave of anti-tax fervor to victory in their GOP primary races. Iranian-born Goli Ameri's victory in Tuesday's primary gives Republicans their best shot in years to knock off Wu and win back the 1st District, which stretches from Portland's western suburbs to the coast.

05/20/2004
Tax issue key in some legislative races
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Tax issue key in some legislative races

BY CHARLES E. BEGGS

Opponents took aim at lawmakers who backed an income tax increase in several contests in which legislators drew challengers from their own party in Tuesday's primary election. In a race seen as a key test of the issue, three-term Rep. Vic Backlund of Keizer was in a pitched battle with Keizer businesswoman Kim Thatcher. Backlund was among the Republicans who supported the $800 million tax boost in the 2003 Legislature to avert more cuts in education and social services.

05/18/2004
Tax issue key in some legislative races
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Tax issue key in some legislative races

BY CHARLES E. BEGGS

The tax increase trounced by voters three months ago has once again emerged — as a key issue in some state legislative races in which challengers are trying to unseat incumbents in the May 18 party primaries. Just 11 of the 72 legislators up for election this year face foes on the primary ballot, all of them House members and seven of them Republicans. In some of the GOP races, challengers are focusing almost solely on the tax issue.

05/18/2004
Court approves anti-gay marriage ballot title
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Court approves anti-gay marriage ballot title

The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the ballot title for an initiative to ban gay marriage. If supporters of same-sex marriage don't ask the court to reconsider within five days, the authors of the ballot title can start gathering signatures by the middle of next week. To place the constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot in November, opponents of same-sex marriage would have to collect 108,840 valid signatures by the July 2 deadline.

05/14/2004
Republican faces battle within party to keep his seat
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Republican faces battle within party to keep his seat

Incumbent legislators usually worry face their true battles to keep their seats in the general election, when they face a challenger from the other party. But Keizer Republican Vic Backlund, who has been politically invincible to the Democrats since he won election to the Oregon House six years ago, now faces the stiffest challenge of his political career — from fellow Republicans.

04/04/2004
Spending limit eyed for fall ballot - or session
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Spending limit eyed for fall ballot - or session

BY BRAD CAIN

SALEM, Ore. — Anti-tax activists have filed a proposed initiative measure to ask voters this November to clamp a tight limit on state government spending. But the activists, including Russ Walker of Citizens for a Sound Economy, concede there might not be enough time for a signature gathering campaign and they might urge the Legislature to take up the issue. And, in fact, some lawmakers are circulating a plan for a June special session that combines a new spending limit with creation of a rainy day fund to protect schools and other programs from cuts in future downturns.

03/24/2004

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