March 26, Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon Cap And Trade Bill Sees Big Changes

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The “Intel exemption” is out, low-income drivers are in and a mess of freebies are on the table for some of Oregon’s largest polluters. Those are a few key takeaways from a massive set of amendments state lawmakers unveiled Monday, as they work to adopt a cap-and-trade system to curb Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Long awaited by interested parties on both sides of the debate over cap and trade, the 130-page amendment package would largely replace a first draft of House Bill 2020 released in January. Since that release, lawmakers have toured the state, sitting through hours of testimony from people who alternately pleaded with them to urgently address climate change and begged them to hold off on the hefty regulatory scheme.

Lawmakers offer first round of compromises on climate change legislation

Oregonlive

It’s let’s-make-a-deal time on Oregon’s controversial and potentially far-reaching climate change legislation. After weeks of public hearings and lobbying by individuals and companies that would be affected by the legislation, the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction on Monday unveiled the first round of amendments and compromises they are willing to make to pass a cap and trade program. Sen Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, and Rep. Karin Power, D-Milwaukie, co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, offered up a substantially revamped version of the legislation on Monday, 125-plus pages of new language and tweaks to the program to make it more attractive to various special interests.

Oregon House approves bill to remove cap on noneconomic injury damages

Oregonlive

Oregon would no longer cap damages awarded for so-called “pain and suffering” resulting from bodily injury under a bill approved in Salem Monday. The Oregon House voted 36-22 to advance House Bill 2014 to the Senate. The measure would remove a $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages that was put in place by a 2016 Oregon Supreme Court ruling. Noneconomic damages are defined in the bill as “subjective, nonmonetary losses” and could include emotional distress, humiliation and injury to a person’s reputation.

Oregon Might Finally Join Popular-Vote Movement For Presidential Elections

Oregon Public Broadcasting

For advocates pushing Oregon to join a list of states honoring the national popular vote in presidential elections, it appears the eighth time will be the charm. A dozen years after a proposal to join the National Popular Vote Compact first died in the Legislature, the concept appears poised to pass this year. The reason: The powerful figure who cut down past efforts has changed his approach. Senate President Peter Courtney’s office says he’ll allow a vote on the concept on the floor of the Senate.

Oregon Campaign Finance Reformers Focus On ‘Dark Money’

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A group called Priority Oregon ran more than a million dollars in TV ads criticizing Gov. Kate Brown last year, all while keeping its donors secret. The most controversial ad featured a woman reading young kids a book titled “Kate Brown’s Oregon.” As she reads, she says there are “homeless camps everywhere, foster care children don’t get enough to eat

[and]

seniors are abused in nursing homes.” Brown’s campaign unsuccessfully sought to get the ad off the air and the governor recently said that “people were horrified by those ads. I think Oregonians deserve better and they need to know who is funding those campaigns.”

Oregon graduation rate for foster children just 35 percent

Oregonlive

Oregon teenagers who spent time in foster care were less than half as likely as their classmates in the class of 2017 to graduate on time. The graduation rate for teenagers who spent any amount of their high school years in foster care was 35 percent, according to figures quietly reported by the Oregon Department of Education at the end of last year. The Oregonian/OregonLive is the first news organization in Oregon to report the abysmally low rate.

Oregon Senate Passes Bill Clarifying Use Of Student Restraint

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Next year, teachers may have a better understanding of what is and isn’t OK when it comes to restraining students. Legislators passed Senate Bill 963 on Monday, a revision on a 2011 bill. The 2011 legislation limited the use of physical restraint and seclusion for Oregon students. But SB963 sponsor Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, said she’s heard from families who said the current law allows inappropriate use – a teacher putting their hands around a student’s neck, for example. At the same time, the law could be too restrictive when a student might be in danger.

LOCAL

Oregon state employees once again unable to email the public

Oregonlive

For the third time in a year, state of Oregon employees are unable to send emails to many people they would otherwise correspond with for work. The problem originated when an employee’s email account was “compromised,” according to a memorandum sent by the state’s Chief Information Officer Terrence Woods on Thursday.

The Uncertain Fate Of The Canby Ferry

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Canby Ferry will celebrate its 105th anniversary in July, but it may not celebrate many more as the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners struggles to decide how to keep it afloat with lacking revenue. The ferry, which runs across the Willamette River from Canby to Wilsonville, is one of the last three ferries in the state. It sees an average of 50,000 riders a year, but that hasn’t been enough to weigh its profits from losses.“It varies greatly how much the revenues from tolls fall short of costs. Roughly the average is from $300,000 to $400,000 a year,” said Mike Bezner, Clackamas County’s assistant director of transportation.

Portland tees up $75 million for affordable housing projects

Portland Tribune

Bond-funded affordable housing projects are moving forward as the region struggles with a homeless crisis fueled by a shortage of all kinds of homes. The Portland Housing Bureau announced Wednesday, March 20, that it will make up to $75 million available for projects matched by private funds in April. The city’s funds will come from the $258 million affordable housing bond approved by Portland voters at the November 2016 general election. Project proposals will be due in June with award announcements anticipated by early September.

LTD to launch electronic fare collection in August

The Register-Guard

Starting Aug. 1, Lane Transit District will offer a new way to pay fares when riders board the bus. The transit agency is moving to an electronic fare system where riders will wave a “smart” pass or smartphone app in front of a electronic validator when boarding the bus. LTD will continue to accept cash for fares. Riders can refill the pass with an online account or buy a prepaid pass if they’d don’t want to maintain an account.

BMCC taps into FFA convention to recruit students

East Oregonian

With so many high schoolers gathered in one place at the same time, the Oregon FFA State Convention is a veritable gold mine for college recruiters. “This is our opportunity to get to meet these kids from all over the state,” said Nick Nelson, agriculture instructor at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton. “We figure, of all the spots we can recruit, this is number one.”

County tax measures approved for May ballot

Hood River News

Hood River County’s two tax measures — a 5 percent Prepared Food and Beverage Tax and a $0.89 Public Health and Safety Local Option Levy — will be on the May 21 ballot, the county commission decided Monday after a short public hearing. Anticipating a large crowd, the commission moved its regular monthly meeting to the Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center, amidst set pieces and props for the ongoing “Mamma Mia!” production. Overall, approximately 40 attended, and eight people gave public testimony.

Hunsinger faces challenger for Port Commission Special district elections held in May

The Daily Astorian

Port of Astoria Commissioner Bill Hunsinger has drawn a challenge in the May special district election from Scott McClaine, a former Port security guard and owner of Clatsop Coin. Hunsinger has served on the Port Commission for the past 12 years. He has emerged as a consistent critic of Jim Knight, the Port’s executive director, and as a watchdog of the agency’s spending.

New Crook County jail close to completion

Bend Bulletin

The difference between the old, aging Crook County jail currently in use and the new one, taking shape next door, could not be more stark. “There is no comparison,” said Crook County Sheriff John Gautney.  The old, 16-bed jail is dark, crowded, escapable and dangerous, with anachronistic touches like actual jail bars and large keys to lock and unlock doors. The new 76-bed facility — about two months shy of a ribbon-cutting — is entirely modern with new features intended to improve safety and security.

OPINION

Editorial: Bill is bad news for public

Bend Bulletin

Though the measure hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing, if House Bill 2448 were to become law, it would be bad for Oregonians. It should be defeated.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, would give some chiropractors the right to have their disciplinary records swept under a rug. The state Board of Chiropractic Examiners would have to remove those records from its website, from electronic publications and from print publications accessible to the public. They presumably would remain available on request, but no longer could a person simply check the board’s website to see if a chiropractor had run afoul of the norms of his profession.

Let voters decide on the death penalty

Mail Tribune

Oregonians have been of two minds about the death penalty over the years. That’s why it is especially important to let voters, not the Legislature, have the last say on whether this state should effectively outlaw execution as punishment for the state’s worst crimes. House Bill 3268 would ignore that crucial step. Instead, the measure, sponsored by state Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, would simply change the definition of “aggravated murder” to eliminate everyone now on Oregon’s death row. Execution would be available only when two or more were killed in an act of terrorism.

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