03-03-2021  10:34 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Blumenauer, Pressley Reintroduce Legislation to Fully End Qualified Immunity

Unjust doctrine shields police officers from accountability for misconduct and criminal behavior

Ruby Haughton-Pitts’ Dismissal as Oregon AARP Director Draws Fire

State leaders, members and supporters are questioning AARP’s secrecy around the decision to fire the highly regarded leader after two years of service

All Oregonians Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine by July 1

People who are 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions will be eligible starting March 29

City Permanently Cuts Funds to Portland Neighborhood Group

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city’s civic life bureau, opted to remove funding from Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. after an audit found that money had been mismanaged.

NEWS BRIEFS

$500,000 Grant Funding Will Invest In Racial Equity In WA

Kaiser Permanente commits funding to grassroots organizations to dismantle practices and structures that prevent communities of color...

Girls Inc. of the PNW Welcomes Cyreena Boston Ashby as CEO

Boston Ashby has served as interim executive director since summer 2020, plans to focus on paths to addressing learning loss ...

Changes Made To Scheduling Vaccine Appointments via the Vaccine Information Tool

Adults who are 65 and older, and most people who are eligible for vaccines in Phase 1A in the Portland metro area, will no longer be...

Senators Markey, Smith, and Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee Re-introduce Legislation to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

“Juneteenth,” observed on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States ...

HB 1465, To Increase the Death Tax Rate in Washington State To 40%

The Washington Policy Center's Vice President for Research, Paul Guppy today released a study on the bill ...

4 candidates to replace lawmaker accused of harassment

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Four people are vying to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Diego Hernandez, who is resigning later this month from the state House of Representatives after women accused him of harassment.Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the four are: Robin Castro, who ran for Portland...

Correction: Wave Energy Project story

In a story March 2, 2021, about (topic), The Associated Press erroneously reported (add details about the error)....

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

OPINION

OHA Marks 1 Year One-Year Anniversary of Oregon’s First COVID-19 Case

Director thanks Oregonians and asks state residents to maintain pandemic precautions and choose vaccination ...

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Mississippi told to pay 0K to wrongfully imprisoned man

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A judge is ordering the state of Mississippi to pay 0,000 to a Black man who was wrongfully imprisoned more than 22 years and was tried six times in a quadruple murder case.Curtis Flowers was released from prison in December 2019, months after the U.S. Supreme Court...

French government dissolves anti-migrant identity group

PARIS (AP) — France on Wednesday dissolved an identity group that for years staged spectacular actions to get out its anti-migrant message in what it claimed was a mission to preserve French and European civilization.The presidential decree at a Cabinet meeting cited an ideology...

Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee to honor civil rights icons

DETROIT (AP) — Bernard Lafayette Jr. was a young activist emerging from the 1961 sit-ins and Freedom Rides that fought for Black civil rights and an end to racial segregation when he received his next assignment.It was one that would help change the course of American history.“I...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: 'Klara and the Sun' is a poignant mediation on love

“Klara and the Sun,” by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)“Klara and the Sun,” by Nobel-winning writer Kazuo Ishiguro, takes readers on a journey through the mind of Klara, one of many artificial friends who have been built to keep lonely children company. Klara is a one-of-a-kind...

Vanessa Bryant still perseveres after Kobe, Gigi's death

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vanessa Bryant said she is focused on “finding the light in darkness” in an emotional interview with People magazine detailing her attempts to push forward after her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash early last year.Bryant said...

Dolly Parton on her 50th Grammy nod: 'It's always special'

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been 51 years since Dolly Parton earned her first Grammy nomination, and this year the national treasure who has won nine Grammys throughout her career is competing for her 50th honor.Parton's first Grammy nomination was at the 1970 show for “Just Someone I Used...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee to honor civil rights icons

DETROIT (AP) — Bernard Lafayette Jr. was a young activist emerging from the 1961 sit-ins and Freedom Rides...

Biden stands by May timeline for vaccines for all US adults

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine...

EXPLAINER: Pope's risky Iraq trip aims to boost Christians

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is pushing ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite rising...

ICC investigates alleged crimes in Palestinian territories

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Wednesday she has...

Google vows no new user tracking in Chrome to sell ads

LONDON (AP) — Google says it won't develop new ways to follow individual users across the internet after it...

China, looking post-virus, to push tech autonomy at Congress

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leaders are shifting focus from the coronavirus back to long-term goals of making...

Alan Fram the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he's confident that congressional Republicans are ready to move ahead with legislation that would continue a payroll tax cut.

"I feel confident in our ability to move ahead," the Ohio Republican told reporters after GOP leaders previewed legislation to extend the Social Security payroll tax cuts - and long-term unemployment benefits as well - in a meeting of the rank and file Thursday morning. He said the party would aim for a vote next week.

One official who attended the closed-door meeting said lawmakers responded particularly favorably to a provision that would assure construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama.

The measure has been in the drafting stage for more than a week, as Boehner and other leaders sought to coax lawmakers to support a payroll tax cut extension. Critics of that legislation have said they don't believe payroll tax relief helps create jobs.

In addition to extending the Social Security payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed, the measure has been broadened to avert a threatened 27 percent cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients. All three items carry a Dec. 31 deadline for action.

The House measure varies on several points from legislation that Obama and congressional Democrats want, but the president seemed eager on Wednesday to draw a line at items he described as extraneous His veto threat was specifically linked to any requirement for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project that he recently put on hold until after the 2012 election.

"Efforts to tie a whole bunch of other issues to what's something that they should be doing anyway will be rejected by me," he said.

Obama did not say which other items he had in mind.

Republicans said they welcomed a fight over the pipeline, which they have described as shovel-ready and promising 20,000 new jobs at a time of high unemployment.

"We are working on a bill to stop a tax hike, protect Social Security, reform unemployment insurance and create jobs," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "If President Obama threatens to veto it over a provision that creates American jobs, that's a fight we're ready to have."

Obama would lower the 6.2 percent payroll tax that workers normally pay to 3.1 percent next year, part of his effort to breathe life into the country's ailing job market. He also wants to trim the payroll taxes that employers pay to give them an incentive to hire people.

The House bill would drop next year's payroll tax to 4.2 percent, the same as this year's level, with no tax breaks for companies. It would be financed by extending the current pay freeze on federal workers through 2015 and a host of smaller savings, including charging higher Medicare premiums to higher-earning seniors.

A 2 percentage point reduction in the payroll tax means a tax cut of $1,000 to an earner making $50,000 a year.

A similar battle is brewing in the Democratic-run Senate, where leaders plan a symbolic vote as early as Thursday that is designed for political purposes.

That Democratic-written bill would lower next year's payroll tax to 3.1 percent. It is financed chiefly by a 1.9 percent surtax on income over $1 million, a proposal that is almost universally opposed by Republicans, who say it would discourage business owners from hiring.

GOP senators are expected to easily kill the measure, but Democrats hope the roll call will produce fodder for campaign ads against Republicans.

Asked Wednesday by reporters whether he might eventually accept spending cuts to pay for the bill, Reid showed some flexibility.

"We're ruling nothing out, OK?" Reid said, other than budget cuts to federal agencies, which have already been sliced twice this year.

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