May 7, 2019 Daily Clips

BREAKING NEWS

Oregon Senate Republicans poised to delay tax vote

Oregonlive

The Senate Republican caucus is threatening to flex its political muscle in advance of a scheduled Tuesday vote on a multibillion dollar business tax package that would fund education. On Monday, all but two Republican lawmakers were missing when Democrats began the floor session just after 11 a.m. A couple Republicans were excused for health reasons, but the remainder were considered absent. Baertschiger said he doesn’t know where his caucus members are, but he implied that some may have left the state. That would allow them to avoid being rounded up by state police if Democrats choose to enforce attendance. “Their jurisdiction is only within the borders of Oregon,” he said.

Oregon Senate Republicans Try To Block Vote On School Tax Package

Oregonlive

One day before the Oregon Senate is scheduled to vote on a controversial tax package for public schools, Senate Republicans have left the Capitol and some appear to be leaving Oregon to prevent a vote on the legislation. With Democrats in control of both legislative chambers, Republicans are looking for any and all strategies to delay the proceedings. Without Republicans on the Senate floor, all legislative business would come to a halt. Crossing state lines would mean Republicans would be outside the Oregon State Police’s jurisdiction and could not be brought back to the statehouse. Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger, R-Grants Pass, implied some of his colleagues had taken such steps.

Republicans to shut down Oregon Senate over vote on school funding package, taxes

Statesman Journal

Senate Republicans in Oregon have fled Salem to avoid a Tuesday vote on a $1 billion per-year funding package for schools. Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger told reporters Monday Republicans have been left out of the school funding conversation and that they are opposed to the proposed half a percent tax on businesses with sales over $1 million. The proposed tax would fund school programs trying to boost student performance and decrease class sizes. “Republicans have taken this dramatic stance because this is the only tool we have being in the super minority to draw attention to the injustices of this type of legislation,” he said.

VACCINATION BILL

Vaccination-boosting bill passes Oregon House

Oregonlive

The highly controversial bill to eliminate loopholes in the state’s vaccination law passed the Oregon House on Monday and is on its way to the Senate. Gov. Kate Brown has already said she plans to sign House Bill 3063. The 35-25 vote fell largely along party lines, with two Republicans — including Bend Rep. Cheri Helt, who introduced the bill — voting in favor of its passage. Four Democratic representatives voted against it. The bill would allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children only for documented medical reasons. Currently, most parents who refuse to vaccinate their children use religious and philosophical exemptions.

Tougher Vaccine Laws Pass Oregon House, Head To Senate

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon’s House of Representatives has approved a bill to make the state’s vaccine laws among the most stringent in the nation. In a chamber packed with opponents — and with occasional laughter and jeers from the gallery — Democrats muscled through House Bill 3063 on a 35-25 vote. Two Republicans supported the bill, and five Democrats voted against the majority of their party. With House passage, HB 3063 is eligible for a vote in the full Senate in coming days. Until then, state senators can expect to be inundated with calls and emails from a vocal and passionate group of parents who worry that mandatory vaccines could be harmful. That movement has made the bill among the most contentious this session.

Contentious vaccine bill passes House, heads to Senate

Portland Tribune

Oregon would end nonmedical exemptions to vaccinations required for children under legislation that passed the Oregon House 35-25 on Monday, May 6. House Bill 3063 goes to the Senate. Gov. Kate Brown supports the bill, and is expected to sign it into law if it passes both chambers. While it would not require all children to be fully vaccinated, the bill would force parents to homeschool or enroll their children in an online school if they refuse to inoculate their children with required vaccines. The debate on vaccines has become a constant presence at the 2019 Legislature, whether it’s hearings bringing out hundreds to testify, confrontations between lawmakers and the opposition, or women lining the Capitol halls with tape over their mouths to signal they have been silenced.

Oregon House passes bill limiting vaccine exemption despite strong opposition

Statesman Journal

A bill that would remove the non-medical vaccine exemption for schoolchildren passed the Oregon House of Representatives on Monday after more than two hours of debate that showcased the passion this issue has generated. Proponents of House Bill 3063 — which passed 35-25 — contended that requiring vaccinations for school attendance is a responsible step government should take to protect public health. They warned of the possible widespread return of diseases that vaccines have all but eliminated from the country if vaccination rates continue to decline. “We’re moving towards a tipping point where the herd immunity is being lost,” said Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, one of the bill’s chief sponsors. “It’s time now to get that under control and move back to the place where all our children are protected.”

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon DEQ denies Jordan Cove LNG water quality permit

Oregonlive

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Monday denied a water quality certification for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its feeder pipeline, the Pacific Connector pipeline, though the agency left the door open for the company to reapply. In a letter Monday to the project backers, the agency said “DEQ does not have a reasonable assurance that the construction and authorization of the project will comply with applicable Oregon water quality standards.” DEQ is in charge of administering the federal Clean Water Act in Oregon and the certification is required for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the project.

Key State Certification Denied For SW Oregon Natural Gas Export Project

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon environmental regulators delivered a blow Monday to a controversial energy export proposal on Oregon’s south coast, saying the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas pipeline and terminal project falls short of meeting clean water standards. The state Department of Environmental Quality announced in a press release its decision that Jordan Cove doesn’t meet standards required under the 401 Water Quality Certification program, which regulates the extent to which projects like this can pollute or otherwise degrade waterways. For Jordan Cove, this would include impacts to rivers and streams from pipeline crossings, dredging, filling in wetlands and stormwater runoff.

Lawmakers Hear Broad Support For Scrapping Oregon’s Nonunanimous Juries

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers in Salem heard broad support Monday from advocates and district attorneys for a bill that would ask voters to scrap Oregon’s unique, nonunanimous jury system. The House Rules Committee heard testimony from the public about House Joint Resolution 10, which proposes changing Oregon’s Constitution to require juries to reach unanimous verdicts in all criminal cases. “It is time for the thoughtful review of this law,” said Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton, speaking on behalf of the Oregon District Attorneys Association. “Times are changing and the criminal justice system should be a reflection of public’s shared values today.”

Oregon Legislature considering if voters should decide the fate of non-unanimous jury law

Statesman Journal

The Constitution protects the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. But in Oregon, not all 12 jurors need to find someone guilty in order to convict in criminal trials — a verdict with two jurors voting not guilty can still result in a conviction of manslaughter, attempted murder, sex abuse and rape. Opponents of non-unanimous juries say it leads to racism, wrongful convictions and serious miscarriages of justice.  Ever since voters in Lousiana approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 to non-animous jury verdicts, Oregon is the only state to allow this practice. But lawmakers, attorneys and activists are looking to change Oregon’s status as the “last state standing.” Two actions in the Oregon State Legislature — House Joint Resolution 10 and House Bill 2615 — aim to take this issue of non-animous juries to the voters by having them vote on the issue in the 2020 election. Such a change requires an amendment to the Oregon Constitution.

Access, affordability highlight health care-related bills this session

The Register-Guard

Access and affordability are among the factors motivating several health care-related bills that are being considered in the state House and Senate. The establishment of a state health insurance plan to provide coverage for all residents, a reduction in the out-of-pocket cost for filling prescriptions and plans to help protect health care providers from work-related violence are among the pieces of legislation in committee review and likely to soon return to the floor for a vote in the current session, which has less than two months before concluding.

Controversial nominee to Oregon state wildlife commission rejected by Senate

Oregonlive

James Nash, a retired marine and Eastern Oregon rancher, is no longer being considered for a seat on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife commission after environmental advocates raised concerns over his history as a big game hunter and potential conflicts of interest. The Senate Rules Committee, which is set to vote on the nominees this week, released its agenda Wednesday. The four other nominees are listed, but Nash’s name was not. A spokesman for Sen. Ginny Burdick, who serves as chair of the Rules Committee, said Nash’s nomination would not be moving forward, but did not comment further. A spokeswoman for the Gov. Kate Brown, who put forth the list of nominees, said Brown had nothing to do with the removal of Nash from consideration.

A Leadership Shake-Up In Warm Springs Following A Tumultuous Year

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Warm Springs Tribal Council got new members Monday in a leadership shake-up on Oregon’s largest reservation. In April, most of the previous council was ousted, with six of eight seats changing occupants. The new council took office Monday in a ceremony that opened with drumming and a prayer, followed by an oath to support and defend U.S. constitution. The elected councilors will serve until 2022. Three other positions on the council are lifetime appointments and filled by chiefs from each of the confederated tribes: Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco.

LOCAL

Portland Public Schools faces $17 million budget shortfall

Portland Tribune

Echoing budget crunches in schools across Oregon, Portland Public Schools rolled out a $1.38 billion proposed spending plan for the 2019-20 school year. The plan, which awaits approval from the PPS School Board, comes in $130 million shy of the last PPS budget. Despite receiving millions more in allocated revenue from the state, the largest school district in Oregon faces a $17 million shortfall, as expenses outpace revenues. PPS says the gap is due to lower enrollment than expected, and rising costs of teacher salaries and retirement. Like neighboring districts, PPS also cited Oregon’s equal pay act, which mandates that men and women are paid equally for the same work. To address that, the district proposes cutting about 45 teaching positions and cutting from its central office budget.

Portland picks sports fields concept for massive post office redevelopment

Oregonlive

Portland’s central post office could be replaced with sports fields and basketball courts flanked by high-rises under a concept recommended by the city’s urban renewal agency after weighing several contenders. The concept for the public space in the long-planned redevelopment project was one of three floated last year by the agency, Prosper Portland, and its partners. Alternatives included a nature-focused “urban forest” and a series of scattered plazas.

U.S. revokes citizenship of Portland mosque’s imam

Oregonlive

The U.S. government has revoked the U.S. citizenship of the former imam of Portland’s largest mosque after he arrived in Somaliland last week. Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye is on the government’s no-fly list, but the government arranged for him to travel back to his homeland after reaching a settlement with Kariye in January. Under the deal, Kariye agreed not to challenge an order revoking his citizenship and acknowledged having provided false information to immigration officials in July 1997 when he had applied for U.S. naturalization.

Lane County residents bring in 7.49 tons of plastics to second recycling roundup

The Register-Guard

The second Lane County recycling roundup this spring yielded more than twice as much plastics as the first roundup this past fall. Lane County residents brought in 7.49 tons of recyclable plastic items to the Glenwood Transfer Station in April, said Angie Marzano, county waste reduction specialist. Waste haulers around Lane County changed their recycling rules last year in response to shifting international markets, causing fewer plastics to be acceptable in curbside recycling bins and at transfer stations. “We more than exceeded our expectations on the success of the event,” she said.

Feds back $9.5 million loan for new Hermiston hotel

East Oregonian

Developers of a hotel in Hermiston received the OK for a federally backed loan of almost $9.5 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development on Saturday announced it is guaranteeing the loan to A-1 Hermiston for the construction of a new 85-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. Old West Federal Credit Union is providing the 29-year loan of $9,472,500 at 5.2 percent interest. The total project is just shy of $11.4 million, according to the USDA. A-1 Hermiston, a subsidiary of the A-1 Hospitality Group, has to come up with $1.9 million for its contribution. Taran Patel with A-1 Hospitality said the company was pleased to receive the USDA approval.

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