Northwest News Network

Regional Public Journalism from twelve public radio stations throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

A 30-day special session of the Washington Legislature is about half over. But there’s still no agreement between Senate Republicans and House Democrats on an update to the state’s two-year budget. Sharp moments of election-year partisan tensions have been on display since lawmakers convened in January.

Idaho Cities Blocked From Raising Minimum Wage

Mar 22, 2016

Idaho cities, counties and local voters will not have the option to approve increases in the minimum wage in the absence of action at the state level. A legislative measure to block local minimum wage increases became law Tuesday.

Officer Jayme Biendl was murdered by an inmate in the chapel at the Monroe Correctional Complex in 2011. Her death spawned a major prison safety initiative in Washington.

A state performance audit released Tuesday concluded that Washington prisons are safer five years after Biendl's murder, but safety gaps still persist that put staff at risk.

Idaho lawmakers said amen for public school teachers to use the Bible in classrooms. The Idaho House voted 54-15 Monday to allow religious texts, including the Bible, to be used for reference purposes.

A driver’s license and proof of insurance are two basics before getting behind the wheel. But Washington state auditors couldn’t find those documents for four volunteer drivers who ferried foster youth to appointments.

Our Richland Correspondent Anna King has won two Gracie Awards, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced Monday. Anna has won the Gracie for outstanding correspondent and the Gracie for crisis coverage in the award's public radio division.

Across the West, groundwater reserves are being depleted. Nature can’t replenish the aquifers as quickly as they’re being drawn down for irrigation, industry and drinking water.

The chair of the commission that regulates Oregon utilities says she won't seek appointment to another term and will step down in May. Susan Ackerman did not give a reason for her decision in a letter to Governor Kate Brown Friday.

Higher-level managers for major Hanford contractors testified in a three-day U.S. Department of Labor hearing this week. The case is over the layoff of a whistleblower at the southwest Washington nuclear site’s under-construction waste treatment plan.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is on trial for pocketing real estate closing fees that prosecutors say should have been refunded to homeowners. But emails introduced into evidence Thursday call into question whether his company was the only real estate services firm that failed to issue consumer refunds during the housing bubble of the 2000s.

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