April 18, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

New Secretary Of State Says Oregon Still Failing To Fix Graduation Rate

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Newly appointed Secretary of State Bev Clarno is out with her first report —  and it’s about Oregon’s dismal high school graduation rate. In December 2017, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office released a report suggesting ways the Oregon Department of Education could improve the state’s graduation rate – one of the lowest in the nation at 78.7% in 2018. ODE agreed to the 13 recommendations, but leadership admitted the agency lacked resources to do everything the secretary of state asked. More than a year later, Clarno’s office released a follow-up report that says ODE still has a long way to go.

Told to help schools improve grad rates, Oregon education agency responds mostly with inaction

Oregonlive

Sixteen months after a scathing state audit said the Oregon Department of Education urgently needed to take action to help raise the state’s lousy graduation rate, the department has completed just three of 13 actions that auditors called for, according to a follow-up report made public Wednesday. Notably, that report said, the department has failed to emphasize and measure middle schools’ success at preparing students for high school. Nor, auditors said, has it offered schools any advice on how to provide quick intervention for students who’ve begun to miss too much school or to better serve students who change school districts during high school. Students who are chronically absent or switch districts mid-school-year are at huge risk of failing to graduate.

Polluted by Money: How lawmakers could flush corporate money out of Oregon politics

Oregonlive

Oregon lawmakers are negotiating specific campaign donation limits that would take hold if voters approve a ballot referendum next year to allow controls on political money. While lawmakers have been working on a constitutional referral to send voters to permit such limits, the effort to create actual dollar limits is new. It didn’t begin until The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that lawmakers planned to erase the limits that voters approved in 2006, leaving it up to the Legislature or voters to come up with new limits sometime in the future.

Oregon Appeals Court Rules Juvenile Sentencing Law Unconstitutional

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Wednesday the state is violating the U.S. Constitution when it sentences juveniles convicted of aggravated murder. The court said a sentence of life in prison without considering that youth offenders are developmentally different than adults convicted of the same crime is in conflict with the Eighth Amendment.

Vial to serve as deputy secretary of state

Sherwood Gazette

Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno announced today the appointment of former Oregon State Rep. Rich Vial as deputy secretary of state. Vial served one term in a district that includes Sherwood and King City for 2017-18. He lost his bid for re-election last fall to Courtney Neron. The district included portions of central Washington County near Hillsboro and Aloha, as well as portions of Yamhill and Clackamas counties. Vial, 64, served on the House committees for Transportation, Judiciary and Education and Health Care.

Cylvia Hayes reaches second potential ethics deal for $50,000

Oregonlive

Cylvia Hayes and Oregon Government Ethics Commission officials have reached a second potential settlement deal, this time for $50,000. Commission members are scheduled to vote on the deal Friday. The Salem-Statesman Journal originally reported Wednesday’s tentative agreement. It’s the second attempt at a settlement for Hayes, who faced the potential of $110,000 in fines after ethics investigators made “preliminary findings” last year that she violated ethics laws 22 times between 2011 and 2013 while serving as Oregon’s first lady. Investigators confirmed news reports that Hayes accepted more than $200,000 through her clean energy consulting firm while also serving as an unpaid adviser on the same issues for her fiancée, then-Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Oregon’s ‘tuition equity’ law could be extended to graduate students

Oregonlive

Oregon’s law that allows students living in the country illegally to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public universities could be expanded to cover graduate school as well. Senate Bill 859 would extend the program known as “tuition equity” to grad students who attended high school in Oregon. The original 2013 law was interpreted by most universities to apply only to undergraduate students.

Oregon Parents Push Bill To Screen Newborns For More Diseases

Oregon Public Broadcasting

One of the first things a newborn experiences is a nurse pricking their heel to gather blood. A few drops are absorbed onto a special piece of paper which is then sent to the state public health lab. There, they test for everything from sickle cell anemia to cystic fibrosis. But Oregon checks for fewer diseases in newborns than recommended by the federal government. Now parents with children dying from genetic disorders are pushing legislators to add more disorders to Oregon’s newborn blood screening test.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley Has Stopped Taking Corporate PAC Cash

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has quietly become the first member of the state’s current congressional delegation to stop taking money from corporate political action committees. The Democratic senator confirmed in an interview with OPB that he decided early last fall not to take this source of campaign cash anymore. “I felt, in the conversation about how to restore our democracy,” he said, “that it was important for me to recognize and symbolically take this step.” Business-oriented political action committees gave Merkley about $1.2 million for his 2014 re-election campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending.

NATIONAL

READ: The Full Mueller Report, With Redactions

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference to Congress and the public. The special counsel spent nearly two years investigating attacks on the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians behind it. Mueller also was tasked with looking into “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

Mueller report released: Revelations, reactions, summary and analysis (live updates)

Oregonlive

Quick-hit reactions to the Mueller report are coming in. Here are a few from Twitter: Josh Marshall is the editor of Talking Points Memo. Daniel Dale is the Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star. Richard Painter was chief White House ethics counsel for President George W. Bush. “It was called no collusion, no obstruction,” he said at a White House event. “… There never was, by the way, and there never will be.” The president added that his investigators still should be investigated. “We do have to get to the bottom of these things,” he said. “This should never happen to another president again, this hoax.”

LOCAL

Marion County prosecutor’s list questions honesty, reliability of more than 40 officers

Statesman Journal

Lists kept by district attorneys across the country track law enforcement officers who prosecutors refuse to call as witnesses because of their history of dishonesty, unreliability and even criminal activity. In Marion County, nearly four dozen current and former officers are included on the so-called Brady index — officers whose participation prosecutors believe would undermine their cases at trial. They include Oregon State Police troopers, Marion County deputies and Salem Police officers along with eight civilian employees, such as Department of Human Services caseworkers.

Portland area’s population growth is losing steam, census numbers show

Oregonlive

The Portland area’s mid-decade growth spurt has slowed dramatically, new census numbers suggest. Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the metro area’s population growth rate for 2018 was just 0.9%, or about 430 new residents a week — half what it was in 2016.

Benton County unveils $311.8M budget proposal

Albany Democrat Herald

Saying Benton County is in sound financial shape, Chief Financial Officer Mary Otley outlined a $311.8 million spending plan for 2019-21. Otley’s proposed budget represents an increase of about $67.8 million, or 27.8 percent, over the $244 million county budget for the current biennium. It also includes an expanded county work force of about 510 full-time-equivalent employees. The county started the last biennium with 459 FTE and currently has about 478 employees.

Port of Astoria investigates solution to sinking Pier 2 Commission approves $250,000 for engineers

Daily Astorian

he Port of Astoria Commission on Tuesday approved spending more than $250,000 to investigate an ultimate fix for the west side of Pier 2, a badly deteriorated dock where fishermen deliver their catch and where a seafood-processing warehouse is sinking because of a failing seawall. Stephen Whittington, an engineer with KPFF Consulting Engineers, said the main issues are deterioration and a failing sheet pile bulkhead causing the warehouse to slowly sink.

OPINION

Readers respond: PERS is Oregon’s black hole

Oregonlive

Scientists recently revealed the first image of a black hole: an object in space so dense and with so much gravitational pull that even light cannot escape. Oregon taxpayers have been able to see and witness the effects of our own black hole for some time. It’s called PERS, and it will not let any tax dollars escape. It has gobbled up an excessive and increasing amount of state funds and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Opinion: To improve education in Oregon, invest in early childhood

Oregonlive

Oregon has a tremendous opportunity in this legislative session to improve education across the state and prepare our children for lifelong success. A $2 billion investment in education as proposed by the bipartisan Joint Committee on Student Success would help raise high school graduation rates, address a growing behavioral crisis in classrooms, and begin to close the opportunity gap for children of color, those from low-income families, those with developmental delays and disabilities, and those from rural and frontier areas of our state.

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