GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
You can pump your own gas 24 hours a day in Boardman starting in January — due to a law that will change with the new year. Thanks to one of more than 850 laws passed during the 2017 Oregon Legislature, fuel stations in counties east of Portland with fewer than 40,000 residents (including all of the counties surrounding Umatilla County but not Umatilla County itself) can allow self-service fueling 24 hours a day. A few other interesting laws to keep in mind as Jan. 1 rolls around:
Many of the hundreds of laws Oregon legislators pass each year may go largely unnoticed by the public. Several laws, however, left a palpable mark on the lives of Oregonians in 2017. The Pamplin/EO Capital Bureau has highlighted four recent laws that made an impact in the past year.
Oregon lawmakers this week released an overview of a carbon cap and pricing plan they want the Legislature to pass during the six-week session that starts in February. It’s based on a bill that Democrats introduced the day before wrapping up a longer session earlier this year. Sen. Michael Dembrow of Portland and Rep. Ken Helm of Beaverton oversaw work groups that refined the concept in recent months. The two Democrats outlined features that they say are in two drafts of the bill, one to be introduced in the House and one in the Senate. They expect to make the bills public on Jan. 8.
Oregon’s Equal Pay Act of 2017 is arguably the most all-encompassing, and, strangely, most quietly passed employment law in the United States in 2017. It makes every other equal pay law, at the state or federal level, pale in comparison. Let’s take a closer look at how life will change for Oregon employers given this new statute.
Governor Kate Brown announced Thursday she will ask the legislature to approve $5 million in new state funding to provide shelter for homeless families. The governor’s request comes on top of a record $40 million in funding for homeless services approved by the legislature in 2017.
Gov. Kate Brown requested $5 million from the Oregon Legislature for homeless families ahead of the February short session. She announced her desire to help Multnomah County and other hard-hit areas get through the winter Thursday during a visit to the overflowing Human Solutions shelter in Southeast Portland.
Oregon air regulators have extended the deadline for public comment on proposed stricter air pollution rules. The state Department of Environmental Quality announced this week that it will take comment on its Cleaner Air Oregon plan until Jan. 22, a month past the original deadline.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Walden has long been known as smart, even-tempered — and cautious. He is well-liked among colleagues of both parties. Now 60, he’s spent nearly three decades in the Oregon Legislature and then Congress. His father was a legislator and he’s been around politics literally since he was a kid.
Portland Business Journal
Oregon state Reps. Julie Parrish and Cedric Hayden are calling for an emergency special session of the legislature before the end of the year to keep FamilyCare Health in business and end its long-running dispute with the Oregon Health Authority.
FamilyCare, the nonprofit care organization for 115,000 Portland-area low-income Oregon Health Plan members, says it is ready to extend its contract with the state to the end of January to minimize harmful disruptions to patient care.
Voters will be asked to approve a measure next month that could slightly increase their health insurance costs but keep Medicaid dollars available for a quarter of the state’s population. Voters are urged to register or ensure their voter information is updated before the Jan. 2 registration deadline so they can cast ballots in the Jan. 23 special election.
Portland Business Journal
Gov. Kate Brown appointed Tina Edlund, an Oregon health policy veteran, as senior policy adviser, the governor announced Friday. Edlund led Oregon’s negotiations with the federal government that led to $1.9 billion in grants that paved the way for the creation of the state’s coordinated care organizations to deliver Medicaid services. She also helped create the metrics by which the CCOs are measured in terms of quality and financial performance.
The Daily Caller
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial Wednesday in case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, marking the fourth time in the past two years the federal government has failed to convict a member of the Bundy family or their compatriots.
In contrast, the 2018 Legislature is only weeks away and Oregonians know little about the governor’s and legislative leaders’ plans for genuine tax and spending reforms. We are not filled with hope.
Oregon Business & Industry, with 1,700 members around the state, noted it continues to support efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But, it said, this bill makes such a big change that it should be handled, as all major measures are supposed to be, in the next full session of the Legislature, in 2019. The group is right.
The Oregonian Editorial Board
So far, such leadership does not seem to be coming from Gov. Kate Brown, who failed to respond to repeated requests from Brosseau and Woolington about the agency’s troubling record. Considering that the governor appoints the director and board, Brown is in prime position to insist on greater accountability by the agency — if she chooses.
Addy Rutter, SE Portland resident
As a neighborhood and as a city, we deserve more from our elected officials and those in positions of power. We deserve communication. We deserve decision-makers who go beyond cheap rent and the local bus schedule to research their choices. We deserve to be involved in decisions that will directly affect us. We deserve to walk out of a meeting knowing that we have been heard rather than asking ourselves “Is this even legal?”