- - Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Brewer mulls license plate

PHOENIX | Arizona tea party supporters would have a new way of showing their affinity for the movement under a bill sent to Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday that creates a special “Don’t Tread On Me” license plate.

The plate would feature the rattlesnake emblem and yellow background of the historic Gadsden Flag that is a symbol of the tea party movement. Opponents say the plate inappropriately promotes a specific political movement. Supporters say it is meant to stand up for constitutional principles.

The measure creating the plate and two others won final legislative approval late Tuesday in a 22 to 8 vote by the Senate. It already had passed the House.

A Brewer spokesman said the governor hasn’t yet taken a public position on the bill. She faces a May 2 deadline for acting on the measure sponsored by Sen. Don Shooter, Yuma Republican.

The Senate deleted a provision in the bill last month to have the state pay the $32,000 of startup costs after critics objected. That leaves supporters of the special plate having to raise that amount to pay for its creation.


Obama to attend shuttle launch

President Obama plans to attend next week’s launch of space shuttle Endeavour, a White House official said.

He will be joined by his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha.

Mr. Obama already had planned to be in Florida that day to give a commencement address at Miami Dade College.

The April 29 launch is the next-to-last flight for the shuttle fleet. It will be led by Mark Kelly, the husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded during a shooting in Tucson in January. She is awaiting clearance from her doctors to attend.

The White House official asked not to be named to speak freely ahead of a formal announcement about Mr. Obama’s plans.


Sanitizer claims under scrutiny

Federal health regulators have issued warnings to four manufacturers of hand sanitizing products for making unsupported claims about the bacteria-fighting benefits of their products.

The Food and Drug Administration says the companies claim their lotions and gels can prevent a variety of infections, including E. coli and bird flu. Companies that claim their products can prevent a disease must submit scientific studies to the FDA before marketing them.

The FDA sent warning letters to four companies: Tec Laboratories, JD Nelson and Associates, Dr. G.H. Tichener Antiseptic Co. and Oh So Clean Inc.

The warning letters order each company to correct the unsupported claims within 15 days.

“The FDA cannot allow companies to mislead consumers by making unproven prevention claims,” said FDA compliance director Deborah Autor, in a statement.


Court challenger will seek recount

MADISON | Refusing to concede defeat, state Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg asked election officials Wednesday for a statewide recount in her flagging upset bid against Justice David Prosser.

Final county tallies compiled last week showed Justice Prosser held a 7,316-vote lead over the little-known state attorney. The margin is within one-half of 1 percent of the total votes cast, entitling Miss Kloppenburg to a statewide recount at local governments’ expense.

The Government Accountability Board confirmed in a statement Wednesday that it is moving forward with a statewide recount at Miss Kloppenburg’s request.

Judge Prosser’s campaign pressured her not to seek a recount, saying there was no way she would find 7,000 votes and a recount would be costly for taxpayers.

State elections officials said the recount could begin as early as next week, barring any court challenges.


Disclosures mulled for contractors

The White House says it is considering requiring companies pursuing government contracts to disclose their campaign contributions.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says the requirement would be achieved by an executive order that is in the process of being drafted.

With President Obama officially a candidate for re-election, Mr. Carney denied any political motives behind the effort.

Mr. Carney told reporters that Mr. Obama wants to make the federal contracting system more transparent and more accountable because he believes that is what U.S. taxpayers deserve. He talked to reporters as Mr. Obama flew to California for two days of public appearances that will mix town hall meetings on the economy with high-dollar campaign fundraising events.


Chairman threatens ATF with contempt

A House committee chairman is threatening the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena last month seeking documents relating to ATF’s anti-gun-trafficking strategies along the U.S.-Mexico border. The committee is investigating reports that the agency allowed assault rifles to be sold to suspected straw purchasers for a trafficking ring and that lives were jeopardized as a result.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, wrote to ATF’s acting director Wednesday, complaining that the agency is refusing to turn over the documents because of ongoing criminal investigations.

He said the committee is legally entitled to the documents for its separate investigation.

ATF did not respond to a request for comment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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