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Connecticut unveils sweeping gun control measures

With an announcement of sweeping proposals to curb gun violence, Connecticut lawmakers said they are hoping to send a message to Congress and other state legislators across the country: A bipartisan agreement on gun control is possible. Legislative leaders on Monday revealed proposals spurred by the Dec. 14 Newtown school shooting following weeks of bipartisan, closed-door negotiations. A vote is expected Wednesday in the General Assembly, where Democrats control both chambers, making passage all but assured. “Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong, comprehensive bill,” said Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., a Democrat
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Dire budget warnings from two former federal fiscal chiefs

Two former budget chiefs who worked for presidents from opposing political parties said on Monday that the government should reduce military spending, scale back Social Security payments and end decade-old income tax cuts to reduce the federal deficit. David Stockman, who was Republican Ronald Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985 and a key architect of tax-cutting policies, and Peter Orszag, budget director for Democratic President Barack Obama from January 2009 until July 2010, agreed the United States spends more on defense than is needed. Both also said the country would be well-served if better-off citizens paid more taxes and
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Paperwork error let suspect in Colorado corrections boss murder out four years erly

Because of a paperwork error, the suspect in last month’s killing of Colorado’s corrections chief was freed from prison in January — four years earlier than authorities intended. Judicial officials acknowledged Monday that Evan Spencer Ebel’s previous felony conviction had been inaccurately recorded and his release was a mistake. In 2008, Ebel pleaded guilty in rural Fremont County to assaulting a prison officer. In the plea deal, Ebel was to be sentenced to up to four additional years in prison, to be served after he completed the eight-year sentence that put him behind bars in 2005, according to a statement
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White supremacists beleived behind Texas prosecutor murders

Suspicion in the slayings of a Texas district attorney and his wife shifted Monday to a violent white supremacist prison gang that was the focus of a December law enforcement bulletin warning that its members might try to attack police or prosecutors. The weekend deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, who were found fatally shot in their home, were especially jarring because they happened just a couple of months after one of the county’s assistant district attorneys, Mark Hasse, was killed near his courthouse office. And less than two weeks ago, Colorado’s prison chief was
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Key players believe immigration deal is near

Big business and big labor have settled on a political framework for an immigration overhaul. Now, the lawmakers writing bipartisan legislation need to resolve the nitty-gritty — and keep their parties’ political flanks mollified. Business and labor negotiators late last week agreed on a deal that would allow tens of thousands of low-skilled workers into the country and pay them fair wages. It was a last major sticking point before the deal goes to the eight senators — four Democrats, four Republicans — to sign off on the details and propose legislation. They are looking to set in motion the
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Mexican cartels place agents deep inside United States

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits. If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering. Cartel activity in the U.S. is certainly
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Sen. Jeff Flake predicts support for gay marriage in future GOP presidential candidate

The Republican shift from longtime homophobia to acceptance of equality for homosexuals continued Sunday with Sen. Jeff Flake saying it is “inevitable” that his party will see one of its own run for president while supporting gay marriage. Flake, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” admitted the political landscape is shifting and will eventually field a GOP candidate who backs same-sex marriage and predictd that candidate would find support among Republicans. Fellow Republican Senators Rob Portman of Ohio announced his support for gay marriage in states that choose to allow such unions and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska says her position
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Obama gets Easter sermon with political theme

President Barack Obama attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near the White House and heard a sermon that criticized “captains of the religious right” for holding some people back. The sermon by Rev. Dr. Luis Leon at St. John’s Church was based on the Gospel of John and the resurrection of Jesus. Leon said Jesus told Mary not to hold on to the past — “You cannot go back” — and the reverend said the religious right should focus on “the way things can be in the now.” “It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right
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Deal between big business, labor clears way for new immigration bills

Big business and labor have struck a deal on a new low-skilled worker program, removing the biggest hurdle to completion of sweeping immigration legislation allowing 11 million illegal immigrants eventual U.S. citizenship, labor and Senate officials said Saturday. The agreement was reached in a phone call late Friday night with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who’s been mediating the dispute. The deal resolves disagreements over wages for the new workers and which industries would be included. Those disputes had led talks to break down a week
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Texas DA, wife found murdered in home; assistant killed in January

A Texas prosecutor and his wife were found killed in their house two months after one of his assistants was gunned down near their office, authorities said. Investigators found the bodies of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, on Saturday, said Kaufman County sheriff’s Lt. Justin Lewis. Police, FBI agents, Texas Rangers and deputies were part of the investigation. Assistant district attorney Mark Hasse was shot to death in a parking lot a block from his office on Jan. 31. Lewis declined to say how the couple died or whether authorities believe their deaths are linked
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