GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Despite a new Oregon law championed as preserving birth control coverage in the state even if Republicans succeed in dismantling a federal mandate to cover it, nearly 1 million Oregonians are covered under policies that now qualify for exemptions.
Oregon’s chief state schools officer Salam Noor resigned Wednesday effective immediately, the governor’s office announced. Less than 2 1/2 years after Gov. Kate Brown handpicked Noor to oversee K-12 schools, she accepted his resignation and installed Colt Gill, her education innovation officer, as the interim head of the Oregon Department of Education.
Oregon schools chief Salam Noor has resigned after less than 2 ½ years on the job. Gov. Kate Brown made the announcement Wednesday. She said Colt Gill will serve as acting chief during the search for a permanent replacement.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Rebecca Tweed, Buehler’s campaign manager, said in an email Tuesday that Buehler will oppose taking up the gun measures. Tweed said the gun measures fall into that category of bills that should be held for discussion during the longer, six-month legislative sessions that are held in non-election years. “(It) is irresponsible for Governor Brown to suggest such important issues can be handled in 35 days,” she said.
State’s civil rights chief will get $205,000; his wife, ex-spokesperson for former Gov. John Kitzhaber, gets $70,000.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
The projected incarceration rate of Oregonians is expected to fall by 11 percent over the next decade. That’s according to the semi-annual prison population forecast issued by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. Analysts said a measure signed into law in August by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is largely responsible for the downward trend. The bill was primarily aimed at reducing the incarceration rate of women by reducing sentences for some property crimes and improving post-prison support.
Most Oregonians oppose a proposed a $600 million tax on health insurance policy premiums to fund the state’s Medicaid program, according to a survey by Icitizen, a nonpartisan online polling tool. Those results don’t surprise Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn), who spearheaded a petition to put the tax, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, up to a public vote.
The State Land Board plans to provide informational updates regarding the Common School Fund real property and the Elliott State Forest, a 82,500-acre forest in Douglas and Coos Counties, from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 17 at the Department of State Lands, 775 Summer St., Salem.
Wallowa County Chieftain
Wallowa County schools will receive $324,179 in Measure 98 (dropout prevention) money for the 2017-19 biennium. That breaks down to $85,458 for Joseph, $149, 853 for Enterprise and $88,868 for Wallowa. The money will be used to support career tech (CTE) and college readiness programs as part of dropout prevention measures.
“We remain as committed as ever to the goal of minimizing sexual violence and harassment,” the presidents of the seven four-year universities and Oregon Health & Science University said in a letter dated Tuesday to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “We will continue to investigate complaints of sexual violence in a fair, equitable and neutral manner, which includes respecting the rights of and providing support to all parties involved.”
One of the most contentious bills of 2017 was Senate Bill 235, which proposed statewide tobacco licensing in Oregon, one of just nine states that doesn’t license sellers. But the tobacco lobby sideswiped the bill, which was repurposed into a law defining where it is legal to smoke in enclosed areas. Now the world’s largest tobacco company, Altria, is opening its checkbook to make sure its friends stay in line. The tobacco giant gave $33,500 to the House Republican caucus, $30,500 to the Senate Republican caucus, and—its largest contribution to any individual lawmaker—$5,000 to Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), without whose approval nothing happens in Salem. Courtney’s spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Oregon and Kentucky are locked in a dispute over which state will decide the fate of a 4-year-old girl from Klamath Falls, Laila Sloan. Two years ago, Oregon child welfare officials placed the girl temporarily with her uncle and aunt in Kentucky. But last year, they decided an Oregon couple was best suited to adopt her.
But the EPA, under President Donald Trump, has been negotiating part of the plan with some of the companies responsible for cleanup, Richard Whitman, the director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, complained in a letter to a regional EPA boss on Thursday. Gov. Kate Brown made the letter public on Monday. She urged the EPA “to honor its commitment to work collaboratively and transparently with the state, city, and all responsible parties.”
“This is the battle for the future of our state,” Buehler wrote in a recent campaign email, adding that he was the underdog in financing. “Kate Brown has been raising money for her campaign for over a year and I’m working to catch up, but I need your help — today.”
It’s been a quarter-century since Oregon voters leaned to the GOP, but if they do so this year it’s likely that Bend’s Knute Buehler would be the next governor, at least that’s the early consensus among politicos after Buehler announced in August that he was throwing his proverbial hat in the race to challenge Democrat Kate Brown, who is expected to seek election in 2018. (Brown won a special election in 2016 after serving as interim when former Governor John Kitzhaber resigned amid an ethics scandal.)
Oregon Public Broadcasting
A potential Republican candidate for governor said Tuesday she won’t seek the state’s top office after all. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the mayor of Happy Valley, had been actively exploring a run for governor. But in a video announcement posted on social media, she said she’s decided against it.
The Dalles Chronicle
“Everywhere I go, people are telling me they feel left behind, that their problems have not been solved, or have been ignored, and they are frustrated,” he said. “I am running for people who feel left out, left behind. I am running to bring leadership for a change – to bring more jobs to Wasco County and other areas where families are struggling.”
Handicapping next year’s governor’s race, Lunch said state Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend, the most prominent Republican to throw his hat in the ring so far, could face stiff opposition in the primary from the party’s conservative wing. Lunch also noted that current polls, at least, give Democratic incumbent Kate Brown a solid edge over whoever the Republicans might put up against her. “At the moment — these things can certainly change, but at the moment — it looks like she will probably get re-elected whether her opponent is Buehler or somebody else.”
JOBS & ECONOMY
Portland Business Journal
But along with Amazon’s rising number of workers and facilities throughout the Beaver State comes another numerical set: the millions in tax breaks that the company is enjoying as a result of its investment here. In fact, at $213.1 million, Oregon has given or promised more in tax breaks to Amazon than any other state in the country.
Retail jobs aren’t disappearing; they’re just changing. This was the conclusion drawn by Josh Lehner, an Oregon state economist, in a recent report for the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. Oregon retail jobs have grown overall in recent years, and are expected to continue to grow at a modest rate, Lehner wrote.
Rep. Sherrie Sprenger will be the featured speaker Oct. 18 at a meeting of the Linn County Republican Women. The meeting and no-host meal will be held 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cascade Grill, 110 Opal St. NE. President Carolyn Oakley will also share some insight on the Oregon Legislature special session that took place in February.
Blue Mountain Eagle
Nine months into the city of John Day’s strategy for growth, only one key piece has not been addressed: housing. To combat population decline — and the resulting negative impacts on schools, businesses and taxing districts — City Manager Nick Green proposed a new approach in January to make strategic investments to spur growth.
Oregonians need good, thoughtful lawmakers these days. Elections also work best with a vigorous debate of policy matters — not an unimpeded waltz to victory. With the problems facing the state, including a growing unfunded liability in the state Public Employees Retirement System and housing shortages, intelligent men and women willing to work together are critical.
The Oregonian Editorial Board
Look at the whole picture, evaluate the data and create sound policies that are tightly tailored to address the problem. Making permanent a policy without even considering the negative consequences will only turn this housing emergency into our new normal.
Instead of joining the outraged chorus, Merkley and Wyden could do their constituents a favor by being the grown-ups in the room. They could acknowledge the problems in the current process and help find the right balance, one that would protect accuser and accused in this sensitive and critical conflict.