Silver Chips Online

National News for March 14 - 27

By Kevin Teng, Online News Editor
March 27, 2009
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Washington, D.C.

March 15 - Insurance firm American International Group (AIG) distributed $165 million in bonuses and sparked an outrage among government officials and concerned citizens, as it received $182 billion in bailout money from the government late last year. In response, the House Financial Services Committee began pushing legislation aimed at instating a 90 percent tax on bonuses to employees working at bailed-out corporations. The bill would not require that AIG employees pay back their bonuses, but would prevent any more bailout money from reaching corporations with such bonuses. President Barack Obama warned the committee that the tax rate was too high, prompting them to revise their proposal, which will be debated and could be passed as early as next week.

Santa Fe, N.M.

March 19 - Governor Bill Richardson signed legislation that abolished the death penalty in New Mexico. The bill passed the state's Senate 24-18 on March 13 and will go into effect on July 1; it only applies to crimes committed after that day. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have lauded the act, while New Mexico's own Police Association and district attorneys oppose it. New Mexico has become the second state behind New Jersey to ban the death penalty and 14 other states do not impose it. New Mexico has only exercised the death penalty on one occasion since 1960.

Austin, Texas

March 24 - The Chief Justice of the Texas Court of Appeals, Sharon Keller, denied charges of misconduct filed last month by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. Keller refused to keep her office open past 5 p.m. on September 25, 2007, when she would have received a last minute appeal for a death sentence from Michael Richard, who was convicted of rape and murder. Richard was executed that night. Keller's lawyers wrote that she was acting "in accordance with longstanding custom" and that the appeal could have been brought to other judges. The lawyers also asserted that the court had no obligation to stay open because none of the rules that required it to do so were in effect at the time.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9042