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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says he's had what he calls "good communication" with the governors of Washington and Colorado about their states' new marijuana legalization laws. But in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Holder declined to say how his agency will resolve the conflict with federal law.

"We are in the administration at this point considering what the federal government's response to those new statutes will be. I expect that we will have an ability to announce what our policy will be relatively soon."

Petr Brož / Wikimedia

OLYMPIA, Wash. – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He will likely get questions about Washington and Colorado’s new marijuana laws. Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to block the pot legalization measures.

The new push for federal invention comes from a United Nations-based drug agency and nine former DEA chiefs. They say Washington and Colorado's new recreational pot laws violate international treaties.

Oregon Budget Debate Kicks Off In Salem

Mar 5, 2013
Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – The stage is now set for a protracted battle over the upcoming state spending plan in Oregon. Legislative budget-writers Monday released a proposal that relies on rolling back tax breaks and reducing benefits to retired public workers.

Both Democrats and Republicans say they want to dedicate about $6.5 billion for public schools. And both parties say they can get even more money for education by scaling back cost of living increases in the state's public pension system.

YouTube by a user named "BearItOrBareIt."

Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick says a video taken by a gun rights supporter of her at home is a "clear attempt at intimidation." The video, taken Monday evening and uploaded to YouTube by a user named "BearItOrBareIt," shows Burdick arriving at her house, retrieving her recycling bin and fetching her mail.

It largely appears to have been recorded by someone sitting in a car across the street from her Portland townhome.

Quagmar / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Efforts to get gun rights leaders in Washington to support -- or at least not oppose -- universal background checks appear to have hit a stumbling block. At issue is a state database that tracks pistol sales. Second Amendment advocates want it shut down, but the state’s sheriffs and police chiefs say it’s a vital law enforcement tool.

Gregg M. Erickson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon legislature's chief budget writers released their proposed two-year spending plan Monday. The two Democrats in charge of drawing up the budget outline say all of the numbers are subject to negotiation. But state Senator Richard Devlin and state Representative Peter Buckley say it will be hard to persuade them to lower the $6.75 billion they've set aside for K-12 education.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Three months ago, 23 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats seized control of the Washington state Senate. At the time, Majority Leader Rodney Tom, one of the Democrats, pledged a new spirit of bipartisanship.

“The public out there is hungry for us to come together, to work together in a collaborative manner and that’s exactly what this coalition is trying to accomplish,” he said.

But as the halfway point of the legislative session approaches, the Washington state Senate has become a hotbed of partisan recriminations.

US Senate

Idaho's former U.S. Senator Larry Craig heads back to federal court on Wednesday in a case related to his 2007 arrest for disorderly conduct in an airport men's room. This time, the question is over Craig's use of $200,000 in campaign funds to pay his legal bills. 

The Federal Election Commission says campaign contributions are only supposed to be used on ordinary expenses incurred on the job. And the FEC says Craig's arrest by an undercover cop who accused the senator of soliciting sex in a bathroom counts as personal.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

YAKIMA, Wash. – Marijuana advocates, people concerned about the effects of drugs on children and hopeful entrepreneurs filled a huge room at the Yakima Convention Center Thursday night. This hearing is part of a series across Washington on how to implement voter-approved marijuana legalization. Correspondent Anna King brings us our story from Yakima.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Raising taxes in Washington just got a whole lot easier. The state Supreme Court Thursday threw out the requirement that tax increases muster a two-thirds vote of the legislature. Democrats say the ruling will allow more options as lawmakers grapple with ongoing budget woes. But Republicans vow to uphold the will of voters who have repeatedly supported a high bar for tax hikes.

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