In an ambitious first budget plan, Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday proposed more than $4 billion in higher taxes on income, sales and natural gas drilling to support new spending on schools and to cut property taxes.
GROTON, Vt. (AP) — Voters in the Vermont town of Groton have rejected a proposal to allow the use of all-terrain vehicles on some town roads in what the moderator says is the rural community's longest Town Meeting Day debate since it discussed a $1 fee for registering cats in 1999.
By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Jurors deciding whether convicted killer Jodi Arias should be executed in Arizona were told by a judge on Tuesday to try harder to reach a verdict after apparently deadlocking in the closely watched retrial, court officials said. Judge Sherry Stephens issued the eight women and four men with a "modified impasse instruction" as the jury deliberated for a fourth day on the fate of the former waitress from Salinas, California, who murdered her ex-boyfriend in 2008. The jurors had earlier told the Maricopa County Superior Court they had several questions that had come up in their discussions, the court officials said. Arias, 34, was found guilty of killing Travis Alexander, 30, at his Phoenix-area home following a 2013 trial that captured widespread attention with its lurid details and sexually explicit testimony.
By David Lawder and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A chaotic three-month-long fight in Congress over funding the U.S. domestic security agency finally ended on Tuesday, but not before it highlighted House Speaker John Boehner's inability to halt the Republican Party's further descent into disorder. The House of Representatives approved full fiscal-year funding for the Department of Homeland Security, after attempts by conservative Republicans to make funding contingent on blocking actions on immigration last November by Democratic President Barack Obama in which he bypassed Congress. The final bill passed by the House in a 257-167 vote was a Senate measure stripped of language attacking Obama's orders, which lifted the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented residents. The vote ended a fight that brought the DHS within hours of a partial shutdown last week and raised new questions about Boehner's leadership.
By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned lawmakers on Tuesday that continuing cuts to U.S. defense spending were causing "corrosive damage to our national security" and he urged them to back the president's request for a big boost in military funding in 2016. Testifying for the first time as secretary before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter said military modernization by rivals such as Russia and China threatened to erode the Pentagon's technological advantage over other forces. He said President Barack Obama's request for a $534 billion Pentagon base budget plus $51 billion for overseas military operations would help the department repair equipment, restore training levels and invest in new weapons for the future, factors put on hold because of budget cuts and ongoing wars.
By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has concluded that the Ferguson, Missouri, police department routinely engages in racially biased practices, a law enforcement official familiar with the department's findings said on Tuesday. The investigation into the police department began in August after the shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson sparked national protests. Analysis of more than 35,000 pages of police records found racist comments from officers as well as statistics that showed African-Americans make up 93 percent of arrests while accounting for only 67 percent of the population in Ferguson, the official said.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Facing scrutiny over its practices for responding to sexual assault, a liberal arts college in Iowa has taken the unusual step of asking federal investigators to review whether three cases were handled appropriately.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Lawyers for the man convicted of murdering Chris Kyle, the former U.S. Navy SEAL whose best-selling autobiography was turned into the movie "American Sniper," have filed a notice of appeal with a Texas court, court officials said on Tuesday. Eddie Ray Routh, 27, a former U.S. Marine, was found guilty on Feb. 24 of fatally shooting Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield multiple times at a gun range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth in February 2013. Defense lawyers, who tried unsuccessfully to have Routh declared innocent by reason of insanity, had sought to have the venue changed from Stephenville, a rural Texas city near where Kyle was raised and where many regard him as a hero. Defense lawyers said Routh had been to hospitals at least four times because of his mental illness and was diagnosed as psychotic.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The engineer of a Southern California commuter train died Tuesday, a week after he was badly injured when his train smashed into a truck that had been abandoned on the tracks, officials said.
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston-area public transit agency outlined several options Tuesday for compensating passengers who endured weeks of delays, cancellations and system-wide shutdowns as more than 8 feet of snow battered the region.