- - Tuesday, January 4, 2011

CHICAGO

Judge backs Emanuel in residency fight

A Cook County judge upheld on Tuesday an election board’s decision to keep former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on the Chicago mayoral ballot.

Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mark Ballard said Tuesday that there was sufficient evidence to support the board’s conclusion that Mr. Emanuel intended to remain a Chicago resident and did not abandon his city residency.

Lawyer Burt Odelson, who represents two Chicago voters who have challenged Mr. Emanuel’s residency, had said if he lost in court Tuesday he would take the case to the Illinois Appellate Court and then to the state Supreme Court.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has already voted to allow Mr. Emanuel on the Feb. 22 ballot, saying he meets residency requirements. The erstwhile Democratic congressman moved back to Chicago in October and has a strong lead in the polls.

VICE PRESIDENT

Biden’s chief of staff leaves for private sector

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced Tuesday his chief of staff, Ron Klain, is leaving his post later this month.

Mr. Klain has been a longtime Democratic political operative, and the White House said he helped foster a strong relationship between the vice president’s and the president’s staffs. He also served as former Vice President Al Gore’s chief of staff and was a key figure during the 2000 presidential-election recount in Florida.

Mr. Klain will become president of Case Holdings, the parent company of an investment firm owned by his former boss and AOL co-founder Steve Case. His departure comes amid other changes in White House personnel and a restructuring of duties.

TAXES

D.C. holiday pushes back filing deadline

Taxpayers will get an extra three days to file their federal tax returns this year, and they can thank the nation’s capital for the extra time.

The filing deadline is delayed because the District of Columbia will observe Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15. The Internal Revenue Service said local holidays in the nation’s capital impact tax deadlines the same way federal holidays would.

Taxpayers will have until midnight Monday, April 18, to file their 2010 returns.

Emancipation Day marks the occasion when President Lincoln signed into law a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Lincoln signed the bill on April 16, 1862, more than eight months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which eventually led to all slaves being freed.

GAY MARRIAGE

Federal court asks for aid on standing

SAN FRANCISCO | A federal appeals court says it can’t decide whether California’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is constitutional until the state’s highest court weighs in on whether Proposition 8’s sponsors have the authority to defend the ban.

In a brief order filed Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to decide whether the backers of ballot propositions can step in to defend voter-approved measures in court when state officials refused to do so.

The question is central to the future of Proposition 8 because former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to appeal a San Francisco federal trial judge’s August decision striking down the ban as a violation of gay Californians’ civil rights.

FOOTBALL

Lawmaker seeks probe of helmet makers

A senator is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate “misleading safety claims and deceptive practices” in the selling of new football helmets and reconditioning of used ones.

Sen. Tom Udall, New Mexico Democrat, said in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz that helmet companies “appear to be using misleading advertising claims” and that “some helmet-reconditioning companies may be falsely selling used helmets as meeting an industry safety standard.”

Mr. Udall said he was “troubled by misleading marketing claims by Riddell, a leading helmet maker that supplies the official helmet to the National Football League.”

Riddell CEO Dan Arment, in a letter e-mailed to the Associated Press, called the lawmaker’s charges ” unfounded and unfair.”

WASHINGTON STATE

Lawmakers balk at health care cuts

OLYMPIA | Legislative leaders say that they will look at alternatives to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed elimination of state-funded health care for the poor and assistance for the disabled.

But Mrs. Gregoire said the state’s budget is in such bad shape that there aren’t many options left to cut in the budget.

When the 2011 legislative session begins next week, lawmakers will be tasked to patch a projected $4.6 billion deficit. Last month, Mrs. Gregoire unveiled across-the-board budget cuts that eliminated the state’s Basic Health and Disability Lifeline programs.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Frank Chopp, Seattle Democrat, said that lawmakers will seek reforms within the programs to shave off costs, instead of completely cutting them.