- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2010

ALASKA

Longtime adviser to Palin resigning

JUNEAU | A longtime aide and adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she is resigning.

Meghan Stapleton said Wednesday her resignation would be effective at the end of the month. She plans to spend more time with her young daughter.

Mrs. Stapleton has been close to Mrs. Palin since her election as governor in 2006.

She was often the public face - and defender - of Mrs. Palin when Mrs. Palin was the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008.

It wasn’t immediately clear who would fill Mrs. Stapleton’s role.

ARIZONA

Lawmakers: Verify candidates’ citizenship

PHOENIX | Nearly half of the Arizona Legislature wants to force President Obama to show his birth certificate to state officials if he runs for re-election.

A state House committee on Tuesday approved the measure sponsored by 40 of the state’s 90 legislators. It would require presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the requirements to be president.

All 40 co-sponsors are Republicans, comprising 75 percent of the GOP caucus. Two of them have since resigned to run for Congress.

The idea was proposed by Skull Valley Republican Rep. Judy Burges. She says if people have to prove their citizenship to apply for a job or get a passport, they should have to prove it to run for president.

NEVADA

Governor takes woman on conference trip

LAS VEGAS | Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has acknowledged that a woman to whom he sent hundreds of text messages several years ago accompanied him on his recent trip to the District, where he attended the National Governors Association conference over the weekend.

Mr. Gibbons, who was approached at the Reno airport by KLAS-TV late Monday after returning from the trip, originally said Kathy Karrasch, of Reno, was not in the District while he attended the conference.

In video of the confrontation, Mr. Gibbons responded to a reporter’s questions about the trip and his travel companions, saying, “What’s it to you?”

The station reported Miss Karrasch was also at the airport Monday night and left in a state-owned vehicle.

On Tuesday, the governor issued a statement to the station, saying Miss Karrasch traveled with him to the nation’s capital but the state did not pay for her expenses.

“I apologize for any ambiguity or confusion caused by my answers to your questioning of me late last night” the governor said Tuesday. “I had just finished three days of arduous meetings and a cross-country flight when I was suddenly confronted with your questions.”

SENATE

Senators to NASA: Go somewhere specific

Skeptical senators are telling NASA’s chief that the space agency lacks a goal and destination.

Earlier this month, the White House killed the previous administration’s plan to go back to the moon. The space shuttles will soon be retired.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says his agency has an ultimate goal: Mars. But he says it’s more than a decade away and NASA needs to upgrade its technology before astronauts reach the Red Planet.

Mr. Bolden says that on the way to Mars, astronauts will probably stop first at the moon, an asteroid and other places but with no particular order.

Three senators and the agency’s former chief astronaut said that without a specific goal, NASA is going nowhere, wasting time and money.

HUD

Anti-gay discrimination study being explored

CHICAGO | When federal officials studied housing discrimination based on race, the setup was simple: They sent in testers of different backgrounds and gauged how landlords and real estate agents treated people of color compared with whites.

As the government prepares a first-ever study of housing discrimination against gays, however, the issue is more complex. How do you design a study to make an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity as obvious as race and color?

Starting Thursday, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department will enlist residents in three cities with large gay populations - Chicago, New York and San Francisco - to offer ideas on how such a study should be conducted.

Bias complaints and lawsuits nationwide make clear that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people face housing discrimination, from being turned down for apartments to being steered away from certain neighborhoods, but no one has tried to track how common such bias is. HUD hopes to begin collecting data next year.

FISHERIES LAW

Fishermen rally against federal catch limits

Fishermen and charter boat captains from Massachusetts to Florida rallied outside the Capitol on Wednesday to demand changes to a federal fisheries law they say is killing jobs and eroding fishing communities.

Participants in the “United We Fish” rally want to loosen federal catch restrictions they say are severely damaging their industry.

Bryan Lowery of Tilghman Island, Md., said federal rules limit him to 400 pounds of scallops a day. Instead of his usual 100 fishing trips, Mr. Lowery said he expects to take just nine trips this year.

“They’ve just put us out of business,” he said, referring to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which put limits on the Mid-Atlantic scallop catch in order to recover vulnerable fish stocks.

Mr. Lowery called the rules particularly frustrating now because scallops are so plentiful near Ocean City, Md., where he fishes. “There’s no scarceness of scallops,” he said.

Similar complaints were offered by cod fishermen off the Massachusetts coast and those who fish for red snapper in the Carolinas. In Gloucester, Mass., “You can walk on the cod,” said Mayor Carolyn Kirk, one of the speakers at the lunchtime rally.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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