May 21, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

As Cap And Trade Moves Forward, Oregon Lawmakers Consider Constitutional Tweak

Oregon Public Broadcasting

As a contentious proposal to enact a cap-and-trade program in Oregon moves forward, one criticism of the policy has grown louder: Most of the money generated couldn’t be used to encourage zero-emissions vehicles. In a state where cars and trucks account for a major portion of greenhouse gas output, an expanding chorus of lawmakers sees that as a problem. Now one state senator wants voters to fix it. State Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, says he’ll introduce a bill this week asking Oregonians to tweak the state’s constitution. If lawmakers pass the bill and voters agree, hundreds of millions of dollars that might currently be restricted under cap and trade could be used on rebates for electric vehicles, helping public transit and freight interests switch to lower-emissions options and more.

As Critics of the New Corporate Tax Increase Ponder Referring It to Voters, Democrats Seek to Hinder Signature Gathering

Willamette Week

The maneuvering in response to last week’s passage of a multi-billion corporate tax increase heated up today in Salem. On May 13, Democrats convinced Senate Republicans to return to work so the full Senate could vote on House Bill 3427, the “Student Success Act” which will levy a gross receipts tax on Oregon businesses and provide a modest reduction in the personal income tax rate paid by most Oregonians. The bill, which Gov. Kate Brown has already signed into law, is expected to raise more than $1 billion in new revenue annually and is supposed to be spent on schools.

Oregon Considers Changing The Way Mentally Ill People Are Committed

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Civil commitment is a delicate issue for families and authorities. The way it works now is that when someone threatens a family member or runs through traffic screaming at cars, police can place a hold on them. A county judge then decides whether they’re “a danger to self or others.” But that legal standard has not been defined by the courts. The process is justifiably difficult. But many think it’s become so difficult that people only end up getting help after they break the law and are criminally committed. So Oregon is thinking about changing the way people with mental illnesses are civilly committed.

School leaders: $2 billion good … and not enough

Portland Tribune

Public school leaders are praising the passage of a $2 billion school funding package, but they cautioned that the extra infusion of funds “isn’t enough.” During a Portland Business Alliance forum Wednesday morning, May 15, superintendents from Portland, Beaverton, Gresham and east Multnomah County gathered for a panel on why Oregon schools face steep cuts to education, despite a prosperous economy. “Just about every school district … is looking at somewhere between a 6% to 7% increase in PERS,” Don Grotting, superintendent of the Beaverton School District, told PBA members and guests over breakfast at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland. The Public Employees Retirement System, more commonly referred to as PERS, has been at the center of nearly every discussion surrounding school funding.

Lawmakers wrestle with plans for kicker ‘windfall’

Portland Tribune

Oregon has come into an unexpected windfall, and now it’s up to lawmakers to figure out what to do with it. Personal and corporate income tax collections during the 2019 tax filing season were dramatically higher than state economists expected, according to a report that was released Wednesday, May 15. While much of that money will go back to taxpayers next year in the form of Oregon’s unique “kicker” rebate, the new forecast gives legislative budget-writers about three-quarters of a billion dollars more to work with as they decide how Oregon will spend its money over the next two years.

Top gun control proposal expected to return after death in 2019 Legislature

Statesman Journal

A multifaceted gun control bill pushed by Oregon Democrats may be dead this session, but advocates and opponents alike are confident it will return. Senate Bill 978 was a casualty of the deal that got Senate Republicans to end their four-day walkout and return to the Capitol, allowing Democrats to pass a multibillion-dollar education revenue bill on May 13. The move to include SB 978 in the trade disappointed gun control advocates inside and outside the Capitol, particularly since it dovetailed with the Moms Demand Action lobbying day two days later.

Portland Office of Community and Civic Life Proposes New Commission to Oversee Cannabis Tax Dollars

Willamette Week

Portland city commissioners disagree about how cannabis tax dollars should be allocated after a recent audit showed that a majority of the revenue from tax passed in 2016 went to the Portland Police Bureau. At the Portland City Council’s 2020 budget work session May 14, the Office of Community and Civic Life presented a possible solution: a new five-person committee to oversee who gets cannabis tax revenue and how it is used. OCCL’s cannabis program supervisor Brandon Goldner said the group would meet four times or more a year, and their meetings would be open to the public, which would increase transparency around how the funds are used.

Bill adding exemption to Oregon’s Death with Dignity law passes Senate

Statesman Journal

People with less than 15 days to live would be exempted from the 15-day waiting period in Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act under a bill that passed the state Senate on Monday. Senate Bill 579 would also allow doctors to prescribe medication faster than the current 48-hour waiting period if the requesting patient has less than two days to live. Proponents described the bill as a way for lawmakers to give people more control over their end-of-life decisions, while opponents saw it as another step toward euthanasia in Oregon.

Bill would shorten ‘Death With Dignity’ waiting period in some cases

Oregonlive

People in the final weeks of their life could obtain deadly prescriptions more quickly under a bill moving forward in the Oregon Legislature. The Oregon Senate voted 16-11 on Monday to approve Senate Bill 579. If it passes the House and is signed into law, it would be one of the only changes to the state’s landmark “Death With Dignity” law since it took effect in 1997.

Unions search for path around dues deduction restrictions

Portland Tribune

Up to 30,000 Oregon workers may no longer automatically support their union as concerted national efforts to trim the political power of unions gain steam. A change in an obscure federal rule may pose a financial threat to one of Oregon’s largest public sector unions while also crimping the ability of home care workers to save for retirement. The federal agency overseeing public health care for elderly and low-income people earlier this month moved to ban certain voluntary deductions from federally funded paychecks for home care workers. The new rule may mean that about 30,000 Oregon workers can’t have union dues and retirement savings automatically taken from their paychecks. But Oregon and four other states are contesting the move.

Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear sign letter opposing tariffs

KGW

More than 170 footwear companies, including the biggest in Portland’s robust athletic and outdoor industry, have signed a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to reconsider a proposed 25 percent tariff on shoes from China. The list includes Nike, Adidas America, Columbia Sportswear and others with Portland roots or operations, including Under Armour, Baggallini and BOGS. “The proposed tariff of 25 percent on footwear would be catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole,” the companies wrote. Last week, the U.S Trade Representative, at the behest of President Donald Trump, published a list of $300 billion in Chinese goods that could be hit with new tariffs as high as 25 percent.

LOCAL

Portland set to approve $5.5 billion annual budget Wednesday

Oregonlive

The Portland City Council is poised to approve a $5.5 billion budget Wednesday afternoon that would fund new programs intended to help mentally ill or homeless people while cutting parks services. The $5.5 billion figure is a nearly 6 percent increase from last year’s $5.1 billion budget. The general fund – a discretionary fund that pays mostly for police, fire and parks services – is set to increase about 2 percent to $577.3 million.

Sales tax measure before Hood River County voters on Tuesday

Oregonlive

Voters in Hood River County will decide on Tuesday whether to add a 5 percent sales tax to prepared food and non-alcoholic beverage sales. Ballot Measure 14-66 proposes taxing food sold by restaurants, caterers, bakeries and coffee shops. The measure also proposes taxing dispensed soft drinks and beverages. If passed, the tax is expected to generate about $1.8 million a year. According to county documents, the tax would fund county tourism services, including maintaining public parks and forest trails, environmental health services and the county History Museum.

Salem-Keizer committee sends $1.2 billion budget plan to school board

Statesman Journal

After nearly a month of meetings and hearings, the Salem-Keizer budget committee has signed off on a $1.2 billion budget plan for Salem-Keizer Public Schools. The proposed 2019-20 budget — approved by the committee Monday — now heads to the Salem-Keizer School Board for consideration. It’s expected to be adopted in June and take effect in July.

Portland student protest against gun violence will fall on anniversary of Thurston High School shooting

Oregonlive

Some Portland high school students plan to walk out of their classes on Tuesday to protest gun violence, demand action against it from city lawmakers and support victims of mass shootings. According to the Portland Mercury, the rally is organized by a grassroots student group called the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, and students plan to rally in front of Portland City Hall at 1 p.m. The Mercury said it’s unknown how many students plan to show up, but students from Beaverton and Lincoln high schools have confirmed they will participate.

Candidates Run To Be 1st Latinos On Salem-Keizer School Board

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Raul Marquez grew up in Northeast Salem, where he attended some of the Salem-Keizer district’s most diverse schools. He was surrounded by other people of color — until he left his neighborhood. “By the time I began to get involved in the larger Salem community, it was eye-opening to see that these other spaces — especially decision-making spaces — don’t reflect what I was so accustomed to,” Marquez said. He felt like he didn’t belong, didn’t deserve to be in majority white spaces or even speak to the majority white Salem-Keizer school board.

Hoping For Change, Parents And Community Members Run For Portland School Board Seats

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Last-minute voters turned in their ballots Tuesday. It’s a small election, dominated by school board races across Oregon. In Portland Public Schools, each of the four seats has at least two candidates on the ballot   – though some candidates have dropped out of the race. They range from an incumbent to a father who entered the race because “he didn’t see better people out there.”

Landlords still oppose revised Portland renter rights measures

Portland Tribune

The changes Commissioner Chloe Eudaly made to her most recent renter protection measures did not satisfy the leading landlord organizations. The City Council first heard Eudaly’s measures for easing screening and security deposit requirements on April 3 and 4. Although tenant advocates supported them, landlords complained about their complexity and charged they could require them to rent to serious criminal convicts. Eudaly pushed the next hearing to Thursday, May 23, to work out compromises.

Latino adviser brings business expertise from U.S., Mexico

The Daily Astorian

Hermenegildo Ochoa, a Latino business advisor with Clatsop Community College, remembers managing more than 30 branches of the Bank of Mexico. But he also remembers the cartels, violence, bribes and death threats faced by businesspeople large and small, including himself. Ochoa has since taken to a lower-key role on the North Coast helping the Latino business community follow the rules and succeed in a more law-abiding environment.

Killing ravens to save sage grouse in Eastern Oregon is a flawed plan, advocates say

Oregonlive

A plan by state wildlife officials to kill more than 1,000 ravens in Eastern Oregon to help the beleaguered greater sage grouse is flawed, environmental advocates say, and could end up doing more harm than good. In 2018, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife applied for permits to kill up to 500 ravens per year over a three-year period in Baker County. According to some studies, ravens prey upon the eggs of the greater sage grouse, one of the numerous threats the sage grouse faces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *