July 5, 2018 Daily Clips

 

OREGON GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Oregon Republicans seek to stop Salem supermajorities

The Bend Bulletin

Even before House Democrats pulled their support for Nathan Boddie, the Bend city councilor seeking a seat in Salem, Oregon Republicans were planning an aggressive effort to hold onto the 54th House District in the 2018 election. The district is at the heart of the GOP drive across the state to fend off a Democratic supermajority in the state Legislature. “We are confident we can find success,” said Preston Mann, spokesman for RestorePAC, the political arm of the House Republicans.

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

Trump closes in on Supreme Court pick; 3 judges top list

Oregonian/OregonLive

Since Trump said his short list includes at least two women, speculation has focused on Barrett, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.

 

BUSINESS & LABOR

 

Walden: Tax cuts stoking economic boom

The La Grande Observer

“One million new jobs have been added since the tax cuts took effect,” said Walden, speaking at the Barreto Manufacturing plant at the La Grande Airport Industrial Park during and unannounced visit. Walden was referring to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which overall is the largest one-time reduction in the corporate tax rate in U.S. history, from 35 percent down to 21 percent. The bill has also lowered taxes for the vast majority of Americans as well as small-business owners — at least until some of the cuts expire in eight years.

 

OregonSaves retirement plan nears $5 million in savings after 1 year

The Register-Guard

OregonSaves now has enrolled more than 32,000 private-sector employees who previously didn’t have access to a retirement savings option at work. They’ve so far set aside a combined $4.6 million of their own money through automatic payroll deductions, with an average withholding of 5.14 percent of salary.

 

Is it great to be a worker in the US? Not compared with the rest of the developed world.

Oregonian/OregonLive

The U.S. labor market is hot. Unemployment is at 3.8 percent, a level it’s hit only once since the 1960s, and many industries report deep labor shortages. Old theories of what’s wrong with the labor market – such as a lack of people with necessary skills – are dying fast. Earnings are beginning to pick up, and the Federal Reserve envisions a steady regimen of rate hikes. So why does a large subset of workers continue to feel left behind?

 

TECHNOLOGY

 

How smart TVs in millions of U.S. homes track more than just what’s on tonight

The Bend Bulletin

In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on ­internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users.

 

AGRICULTURE

 

Agriculture secretary meets with Eastern Oregon farmers

East Oregonian

Perdue said he is more optimistic about passing a new Farm Bill before the current package expires Oct. 1. Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of the bill, and though there are differences between the two, Perdue said he believes they can be resolved.

 

Escaped GMO bentgrass creates bitter divide in Eastern Oregon still

Oregonian/OregonLive

The grass arrived here uninvited, after crossing the Snake River from old seed fields in Idaho. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which vets most new genetically engineered products, had not approved the plant’s release. But in 2010, landowners discovered it growing in great mats throughout the irrigation system that stretches like a spider web across Malheur County. Creeping bentgrass has not created a catastrophe, as some anti-GMO groups warned it would. But it thrives in canals and ditches, where it collects sediment and impedes water flow, and it has proved difficult to control. That makes it a headache for Frahm and other growers — like the heavy snows that crushed their onion sheds last year, and the host of other weeds they already battle.

 

OTHER

 

‘Second civil war’ is coming, say 31% of Americans, prompting wartime letters on social media

Oregonian/OregonLive

This is actually one of the few things on which both Republicans and Democrats can agree: A similar number of Americans from both parties expressed concern that we’re headed for a sequel to the 1861-65 conflict that took the lives of more than 600,000 soldiers. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats believe a civil war is coming, and 32 percent of Republicans think it could happen. Only 29 percent of Americans polled say it’s “not at all likely” there will be a second civil war in the near future.

 

July 4, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES

 

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

Statesman Journal

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

Black Oregon legislator says campaigning in own district triggered 911 call

Oregonian/OregonLive

She looked over at the deputy in his patrol car and thought, “I don’t believe this.” He asked if she was selling something. She introduced herself as a state legislator and said that she was out canvassing and that she guessed someone called him. The deputy said someone called and reported Bynum appearing to spend a long time at houses in the area and appearing to be casing the neighborhood while on her phone.

 

Salem water advisory lifted as toxins remain below EPA safe levels

Statesman Journal

Bolstering the city’s confidence were 12 consecutive days of tests with algal toxins below Environmental Protection Agency health advisory levels, fulfillment of requirements set out in new Oregon Health Authority monitoring rules and the successful test of a third slow-sand filter at the Geren Island Water Treatment Facility.

 

INITIATIVES

 

Oregon Attorney General Considers Investigation Into Election Fraud

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon’s top attorney is considering whether to investigate if a crime was committed during the process of putting one of the more controversial initiatives on the November ballot. At issue is a tax-related measure that could make it harder for Democrats to raise money in the future. The measure, Initiative Petition 31, would require a three-fifths vote of the Legislature for all taxes and fee increases, meaning Democrats without a supermajority would need Republican votes to raise revenue.

 

Our Oregon says it has enough signatures to get ‘corporate transparency’ initiative on ballot

Oregonian/OregonLive

The union-backed group Our Oregon says it has gathered more than 130,000 signatures for a proposal to force publicly traded companies and their subsidiaries to disclose their Oregon taxable income and other information in public filings. That would likely be enough to get Initiative Petition 25 on the November ballot, since Our Oregon needs to turn in just 88,184 valid signatures by Friday.

 

OREGON’S REVENUE

 

Study: Oregon most reliant state on state income taxes

Portland Tribune

The findings affirm what many acknowledge about Oregon’s revenues — that they rely in large part on state income taxes, which fluctuate so dramatically that one state lawmaker compares year-over-year tax collections to the peaks and valleys of the Swiss Alps. When it comes just to state revenues, the Oregon Center for Public Policy estimates that roughly four out of five General Fund and Lottery Fund dollars comes from the state income tax. In the upcoming legislative session, scheduled to begin in January, lawmakers must write a two-year state budget in the face of a shortfall in the state’s Medicaid program and rising public pension costs. Revenue reform could be on the table as well.

 

OPINION

 

Candidate to replace Sen. Peter Courtney promises better emergency preparedness

Statesman Journal

No one deserves a pat on the back for so poorly mishandling our water crisis. Instead, our neighbors deserve very honest answers, communicated in the clearest way possible, by the authorities who are responsible for solving the problems.

 

GOP’s Buehler Outlines Serious Education Plan to Reverse Kate Brown’s Biggest Failure

Oregon GOP Chair Says Brown Has Flunked, Cites Neglect of PERS Crisis, Failure to Lead

Wilsonville, OR – As GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Knute Buehler outlines a detailed and bold plan to fix Oregon schools, it’s important to remember that Democrat Governor Kate Brown has failed to improve education in the state, despite record tax revenue and repeated promises.

 

Under Kate Brown, Oregon’s graduation rate remains the third worst in the entire nation. KGW 8 explains, “Education advocates say many factors contribute to the state’s low graduation rate, including high class sizes, early state times, absenteeism, poverty and budget deficits.” Instead of taking personal responsibility, Brown has blamed her handpicked state schools chief.

 

Despite record tax revenues and double-digit state budget increases, Brown has actually made the classroom funding crisis worse by refusing to address PERS Reform and simply letting pension payments continue to siphon money from classrooms, forcing districts to lay off teachers.

 

“With Oregon’s schools already rated among the worst in the country due to neglect by the state government,” stated Oregon GOP Chairman Bill Currier.  “Kate Brown has made no serious attempt to solve our state’s education problems while pushing proposals that would actually make it worse.  Brown’s education failure has left an indelible scar on her record as Governor.”

 

While Kate Brown focuses on making herself a national left-wing celebrity, she leaves Oregon schoolchildren behind to languish in a floundering school system.

 

“Oregonians deserve a governor who will prioritize improving education outcomes for our state’s young people,” added Currier. “Kate Brown has flunked as the state’s education leader.  It’s time to put her failure behind us and move on.”

 

“Knute Buehler will lead on education to reverse Kate Brown’s biggest failure. He has proposed a detailed, bold plan to improve our schools, put more money into classrooms and fix the PERS crisis – towards an ambitious goal of moving Oregon from the bottom five to the top five nationally in five years.  Now that’s the kind of leadership Oregonians are looking for this November.”


The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. Its Chairman and officers are dedicated to promoting Republican principles within the state of Oregon and to improving the lives and livelihoods of Oregon’s working families through economic freedom and equal protection under the law.

 

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Greg Walden Update

House Passes Historic Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

These past two weeks, the House of Representatives has dedicated tremendous amounts of time and energy to send a simple message to the millions of Americas impacted by the opioid crisis: ‘Help is on the way.’ On Friday, the House passed legislation I introduced called the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. With a strong bipartisan vote of 396-14, we sent the clear signal that striking back against the opioid crisis transcends politics and party lines.

The bipartisan bill will help in overall efforts to advance treatment and recovery initiatives, improve prevention, protect our communities, and bolster our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl. According to recent news reports, this bill represents the largest congressional effort to combat the opioid crisis in recent history.

Just as this was not our first effort to combat the opioid crisis, you have my word that it will not be our last. We will continue to push forward in the fight against the opioid crisis for families and communities in Oregon and across the country.

To learn more about the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, please click here.

Firefighter Protection Bill Heads to President’s Desk

Across Oregon, we know well the heroic efforts of our firefighters to protect people and property. These first responders experience occupational health risks every day, and in our state it’s often from forest fires that ignite in Oregon each summer. Firefighters deserve to know that we have their backs and are protecting their health when they put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us.

That’s why I supported the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act as it passed Congress and was sent to the President’s desk last week. This is important public health legislation that will require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. This registry will allow researchers to have a greater understanding of the impacts smoke inhalation and other occupational hazards have on a firefighter’s health and lead to better treatment options.

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act originated in my Energy and Commerce Committee and passed the House of Representatives unanimously. This bill will go a long way to improve the health of all firefighters, whether they battle structural fires in urban areas or wildfires in the West.

To learn more about this legislation, please click here.

Tax Reform Continues to Deliver for Oregon Small Businesses

It has been over six months since the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, bringing tax relief to middle class families and small business owners in our state. Recently, I met with a local business that is reinvesting in their company and workforce because of tax reform.

Good Life Brewing, a small brewery in Bend, is benefiting from the reduced excise tax on craft brewers that I helped included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Because of this relief, Good Life told me they will save $75,000, which they are using to add to their team and invest in new equipment. This is real relief that small business owners across our district are using to reinvest in their business and our communities. To learn more about what people in Oregon are saying about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, please click here.

Recently at an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, I highlighted the benefits we’re seeing play out across the country because we have cut taxes, provided relief to Main Street job creators, and are allowing middle class families to keep more of their hard-earned money. To watch my full remarks, please click here.

FCC Chairman’s Visit Focuses on Bridging “Digital Divide” in Eastern Oregon

Just this past weekend, I had the pleasure of welcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to eastern Oregon. Communities in rural Oregon are part of the 39 percent of Americans living in areas who lack sufficient access to high-speed broadband. That is why I asked Chairman Pai to come meet with folks on the ground to learn more about how we can improve connectivity in eastern Oregon.

During the Chairman’s visit, we first met with rural health care providers to talk about how they plan to use the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program. The Rural Health Care Program aims to improve the quality of health care available to patients in rural communities by ensuring they have access to telecommunications and broadband services. Just as I worked to fully fund community health centers in Oregon, the Rural Health Care Program is vital to ensuring these health centers have the resources they need to continue serving our communities.

I also gathered a meeting with sheriffs from across the district to discuss improving the ability of law enforcement and first responders in rural Oregon to carry out their vital emergency service operations. Many of our 911 networks are based on technologies of the past, which is why I’m working with the FCC to bring “Next Generation 911” to rural areas. Next Generation 911 will help modernize our emergency response system by allowing communication via voice, text, or even audio in an emergency. In Congress, I helped secure $115 million in federal funds to help the country transition to Next Generation 911 systems, and I will continue to work to ensure this transition reaches rural Oregon.

Our final meeting in eastern Oregon focused on closing the “digital divide” in rural America. We sat down with community leaders, county commissioners, and elected officials from across our district to learn more about how they’re working at the local level to expand broadband into their communities.

Recently, I helped pass the RAY BAUM’s Act into law. Named for La Grande native Ray Baum, who worked to improve broadband infrastructure in rural areas, this legislation reauthorizes the FCC for the first time in 28 years. Importantly, this legislation updates and streamlines regulatory process for broadband deployment on federal property and improves broadband mapping and identification of communities that need federal funding most. While there is much more work to be done, this law is a big step forward toward connecting rural communities in Oregon with this 21st Century technology.

To read more about our meetings this weekend, please click here.

to receive updates on issues you care about, including opioids, forestry, medical research and help for our veterans.

You can also keep in touch with me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District

SCOTUS Affirms Presidential Travel Ban on Failed States and Terrorist Nations

Oregon GOP Says More Nations will Now Cooperate with US Vetting

Wilsonville, OR – The Oregon Republican Party reacted following the decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding President Trump’s so-called Travel Ban.

 

“The ruling to uphold the President’s proclamation on enhanced vetting affirms the legality and legitimacy of keeping America safe by ensuring that minimum security and information-sharing standards are met by countries around the world,” stated Oregon Republican Spokesman Kevin Hoar.  “It also dismisses the fiction of religious bias invented by the Democrats and their far left allies and should put an end to the judicial overreach by activists in lower courts.”

 

The current proclamation affects nationals from 8 countries, including two countries with almost no Muslim populations.  Only six of the world’s 42 majority Muslim nations are affected, representing only 8% of the world’s Muslim population.

 

The Supreme Court ruled that the Presidential Proclamation “is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority” and notes that it is “expressly premised on legitimate purposes.”  Under federal law 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President Congress has delegated broad and explicit authority to the President to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions” when the President finds their entry “detrimental to the interests of the United States” – in this case, to protect the nation from foreign nationals posing a national security threat.

 

“Restricting entry by foreign nationals to the USA from failed states and terrorist-sponsoring nations makes sense, unless and until sufficient cooperation for enhanced vetting can be compelled from those countries,” said Hoar.  “The result will eventually be more countries cooperating with the United States in vetting those countries’ citizens before they are permitted entry into our country.”

 

Several countries that have cooperated with the U.S. on enhanced vetting have been removed from the restricted list since the ban was first put in place in 2017.

“The President must be able to conduct foreign policy in order to protect our nation in the age of ISIS and other bad actors who have promised to infiltrate groups seeking to enter the U.S., including refugees, as we’ve seen tragically in Europe.  This is even more important now that the ISIS Caliphate has been smashed and its members scattered, a great many still harboring their desire to commit acts of mass terror,” added Hoar.

 

“The old, deeply-flawed approach of only starting to protect the country after attacks happen and Americans are dead has been rejected by the voters in 2016.  Instead, President Trump is taking common sense proactive steps to prevent such attacks before they happen.”

 

Link to Online Posting:

https://oregon.gop/orp-on-scotus-upholding-travel-ban-2018-06-27

 

The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. Its Chairman and officers are dedicated to promoting Republican principles within the state of Oregon and to improving the lives and livelihoods of Oregon’s working families through economic freedom and equal protection under the law.

Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

The Register-Guard

The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impacted online sales tax collection. “Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States. These critiques underscore that the physical presence rule, both as first formulated and as applied today, is an incorrect interpretation of the Commerce Clause,” he wrote.

 

Oregon Gun-Storage Proposal Won’t Make November Ballot

The Associated Press

The petition had been on hold after opponents with the National Rifle Association, Oregon Firearms Federation and other groups challenged its ballot language to the Oregon Supreme Court. “We appreciate the Supreme Court acting quickly to dismiss the gun lobby’s challenge,” chief petitioner Henry Wessinger said in a statement. “However, we are disappointed the gun lobby’s efforts prevented signature gathering for a critical period of more than six weeks.”.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

Trump Retreats on Separating Families, but Thousands May Remain Apart

New York Times

“We’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” Mr. Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.” But ending the practice of separating families still faces legal and practical obstacles. A federal judge could refuse to give the Trump administration the authority it wants to hold families in custody for more than 20 days, which is the current limit because of a 1997 court order.

 

ICE Shuts Down Its Portland Office After Protest Camp Blocks the Entrance

Willamette Week

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. ICE remains committed to immigration enforcement consistent with federal law and agency policy. The Federal Protective Service was called to the ICE office on Macadam Avenue Tuesday afternoon due to security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests at this location. Questions regarding arrests that took place should be directed to the Federal Protective Service. ICE operations at this location have been temporarily halted due to security concerns. Normal operations will resume once security concerns have been addressed.

“Appointments scheduled for Wednesday at the ICE office on Macadam Avenue have been canceled. ICE deportation officers will touch base with individuals who had scheduled appointments at this location to reschedule. These appointments will not be reported as missed check-ins.”

 

Immigrants Are Showing Up for Meetings at the ICE Building – but No One Is There

Willamette Week

At least 18 individuals have shown up to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Portland for appointments today, unaware that the building is temporarily shut down. “The concern is that people who have appointments will be counted as missing a meeting,” says Liliana Luna, who showed up to protest and who has been translating for immigrants who do not know the building is closed. “There’s no way to hold ICE accountable.” ICE temporarily halted operations at its Portland office on Macadam Avenue after protesters surrounded the building and blocked its exits for days. The occupation began on June 17, and activists say it will go on at least until a rally planned for Sunday where several state legislators will speak out against federal immigration policies.

 

Mayor Ted Wheeler Calls Federal Immigration Policy “Un-American” And Tells ICE Not to Count On Help From Portland Police

Willamette Week

“The policy being enacted by the federal government around the separation of very small children from their parents is an abomination,” Wheeler tweeted. “I want to be very clear I do not want the @PortlandPolice to be engaged or sucked into a conflict, particularly from a federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track, that has not fully lived American values of inclusion and is also an agency where the former head suggested that people who lead cities that are sanctuary cities like this one should be arrested.”

 

American Airlines doesn’t want its planes used for immigrant children detainees

Oregonian/OregonLive

American is one of the first major U.S. corporations to weigh in on a federal immigration policy that has become the center of national controversy over the past week. At least 2,300 children have been separated from their parents under the new zero-tolerance policy, under which every adult detained at the border is immediately taken into custody for prosecution.

 

EDUCATION

 

Guerrero lays out his ideas to address achievement gap in Portland Public Schools

The Portland Tribune

For years, Portland Public Schools superintendents have all tried and failed to erase the achievement gap between white students and their black or brown classmates. Guerrero, the former Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice at San Francisco United School District, points to his success with a math program that could adjust to each child’s pace. But data from 2016 shows that while 69 percent of white San Francisco students met grade level standards in math, only 12 percent of their black students did.

 

POPULATION

 

Senior population boom hits every corner of Oregon: See which counties are aging fastest

Oregonian/OregonLive

New Census numbers show the retirement-age population is growing in all corners of Oregon. No county, urban or rural, is spared. While Oregon is following the national trend, driven by the aging baby boomer generation, Oregon’s 65-and-older population is growing faster than the nation as a whole. Oregon is also older on average; the median the median age is 39.3 years, compared to 38 for the U.S. as a whole. The senior boom, though long anticipated, will put a serious strain on Oregon communities’ healthcare and housing infrastructure, and it could have serious implications for the state’s economy.

 

HEALTHCARE

 

Video conferencing gives doctors a vital link to patient care

The Bend Bulletin

Telemedicine has long been touted as a cost-efficient way to provide care to people in rural areas with limited access to health professionals. But an unsung benefit of providing medical advice over a video feed is the tremendous cost-savings achieved by avoiding unnecessary air and ground ambulance rides. Ellenby said it costs at least $9,000 to transport a patient to OHSU by ground ambulance, and for those who are more than a two-hour drive away, $24,000 to transport by air. OHSU has conducted more than 2,000 video consults with patients in 14 hospitals in Oregon and southwestern Washington. Nearly half of those patients were able to stay in their community hospitals.

 

Gov. Brown calls on AG Sessions to protect people with pre-existing conditions

Portland Business Journal

“We are dedicated to expanding access to affordable care for the citizens of our states, and we will not remain silent as this Administration threatens to rip away health care from those who need it most. As state leaders, it is our duty to stand up and take action when federal policy threatens the health and pocketbooks of our constituents. We will take every available measure to stop this dangerous action and to protect our constituents with pre-existing conditions from losing their health coverage. Silence is not an option.”

 

WATER

 

Water bureau to begin using groundwater well Wednesday

The Portland Tribune

Due to the dry spring weather, above average temperatures, and in consideration of available long-term weather forecasts, the PWB will use the well field to supplement the supply from the Bull Run Watershed until the return of significant fall rains. “We deliver safe and reliable drinking water to almost one million customers,” PWB Director Michael Stuhr said in a Tuesday press release. “At the end of a dry spring, it’s tremendously comforting to know that we can turn to our Columbia South Shore Well Field and supply all our customers’ needs.”

 

Mikkelsen visits Basin: Water solutions a long way off

Herald and News

“If Judge Orrick rules against the federal government, it could shut down all irrigation in the Basin by mid-July,” Mikkelsen said. If that happens, the numerous talks he’s been having with individual stakeholders up and down the Klamath River could be for naught. Seeking the injunction to maintain lake levels is the Klamath Tribes. Tribal Chairman Don Gentry told the Herald and News that the issue is a matter of extinction for the fish. “We don’t want to come off as trying to cause harm to anyone, but we have to be focused on preventing the fish from becoming extinct. We don’t have the flexibility to provide water at the expense of our fish and feel our backs are up against the wall on this,” Gentry said.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

MORE RIDE SERVICES, MORE CONGESTION?

Portland Tribune

When Portland city officials rolled out the red carpet to let Uber and Lyft operate here in 2015, “we thought that it would actually reduce the number of car trips,” recalls Steve Novick, then the city’s transportation commissioner. But they were wrong, Novick says. Now some wonder how much of Portland’s growing traffic congestion can be traced to Uber and Lyft, which created huge fleets of do-it-yourself taxi drivers “hailed” by passengers using smartphones. “Our roads are just clogged with Uber and Lyft vehicles,” says city Commissioner Nick Fish, who lives downtown. “There’s clearly an impact of having all these cars on the road.”

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Tweak, don’t cancel, kicker

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Ditching the kicker does not solve the problem, and while changes to it might make sense, elimination of the program does not. It is one of the only ways Oregonians have of trying to keep state spending under control. The law could stand some tweaking. It makes sense, for example, to allow the state to keep unexpected revenues up to the magical 2 percent mark, then refund anything over that. Looking two years out, as the state now does, makes predicting revenues accurately difficult.

 

Editorial: Time to end the exemption

The Bulletin Editorial Board

So far, lawmakers have avoided putting real teeth into the state’s immunization requirements. Approval of the 2013 measure was by no means unanimous, and a bill that would have ended exemptions, introduced in 2015, went nowhere. That must change. Oregon lawmakers should remove exemptions for personal beliefs, philosophical or religious reasons. The only exemptions allowed should be for medical necessity.

 

My View: With help, suicide can be prevented

Portland Tribune

Suicide knows no demographic, age, gender or cultural background. The circumstances that lead a person to take their life may be invisible even to close family members and friends. When someone struggles with mental health, they often struggle alone, quietly and without detection. That is why we have to ask — no matter how uncomfortable the question — whether the people we love are in crisis. We must be brave and ask them to talk. Suicidal people do not want to die; they just want the pain to end. Any crisis line volunteer can tell you that sometimes a simple conversation can ease the pain.

 

Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Capitol roundup: Debates, candidates, paying the rent and a short school year

The Bend Bulletin

“We hope Gov. Brown will actually begin accepting debate invitations, so that discussions over format details and participation by other candidates can get underway with event organizers,” said Buehler campaign manager Rebecca Tweed.

 

Brown, Buehler lose IPO nomination

Portland Tribune

The nomination went to Brownsville cabinetmaker Patrick Starnes, the only candidate listed as an IPO gubernatorial candidate in the voters’ pamphlet. Starnes said his primary victory was a rebellion against big money in politics. “They spent a lot of money trying to get write-ins,” Starnes said. “I would get robo-texts from Brown’s campaign, and Buehler had done ads encouraging people to write him in. “A lot of people are not engaged because they don’t think their voices are heard.” Starnes, a party member, took 26 percent of the IPO vote in the party’s primary. Buehler, the GOP nominee for governor, came in second with about 25 percent, while Brown secured just 12.5 percent.

 

UNIONS

 

By the numbers: As Supreme Court weighs union fees, a look at Oregon labor over the years

The Oregonian/OregonLive

Oregon remains among the most unionized states in the nation, both in terms of the share of workers represented by unions and their willingness to pay for membership. “Oregon consistently outpaces the U.S. in union membership as a share of total employment,” Gail Krumenauer, a senior economic analyst at the state Employment Department, wrote in 2017.

 

Union foes could force election at OSU

Corvallis Gazette-Times

A petition being circulated at Oregon State University could force an election on efforts to organize a faculty union on campus. The petition was supported by authorization cards signed by what union supporters called “a decisive majority” of the university’s 2,400 or so teaching and research faculty. Union certification by the so-called “card check” process requires a simple majority of the bargaining unit. Some faculty members, however, have criticized the card check approach as undemocratic, and an attempt is underway to put the question of union representation to a vote.

 

HOMELESSNESS & POVERTY

 

Day storage for homeless people’s items opens in downtown Eugene

The Register-Guard

People can store belongings in a PODS container on a county-owned lot on Olive Street between the Public Library and The KIVA grocery store. People can stow backpacks, baggage and other items seven-days-a-week, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through Sept. 30. St. Vincent de Paul employees are on site to manage the container. Any items left after 4:30 p.m. will be disposed of.

 

Numbers prove it: homeless problem is getting worse

Mail Tribune

An annual count tallied at least 732 homeless people living in Jackson County, an increase from the 633 found by volunteers who fanned out into the community in 2017. The actual number of homeless people living in the county is likely 2.5 times the number who were found and counted, said Jackson County Continuum of Care Homeless Prevention Coordinator Constance Wilkerson. “Homelessness is definitely on the rise,” she said. “When I talk to other service providers, they are seeing an increase in the client load. The rise in numbers is a true rise, not just because we made a concerted effort to reach more areas.”

 

Salem police on front line of growing homeless crisis, urge changes

Statesman Journal

When officers encounter homeless people slumped over along concrete walkways or trespassing on private property when shelters are at capacity, they face a dilemma: Do they arrest the person and push them through the revolving door of Oregon’s jails and prisons? Or do they dig into their own pockets, or police donations, to pay for food or a hotel for the night? “We’re not looking to arrest someone and put a Band-Aid on the problem and move on,” Hill said. “There is no resolution, so we have to be creative sometimes.”

 

Study: A fifth of rural Oregon kids live in poverty

Portland Tribune

A report from Save the Children places Oregon 24th among states in terms of how its rural children are faring economically. About 21.6 percent of children in Oregon’s rural areas live in poverty, while 16.1 percent of children in Oregon’s urban areas were considered impoverished, according to the study. “Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development,” the study states. “When young children grow up in poverty, they are at higher risk of experiencing difficulties later in life — having poor physical and mental health, becoming teen parents, dropping out of school and facing limited unemployment opportunities.”

 

HEALTHCARE

 

New ACA fight targets pre-existing conditions

Portland Business Journal

The issue at hand: Whether dropping the individual mandate penalty has made other parts of the law, including a ban on charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, unconstitutional. The Department of Justice declined to defend a suit filed by Texas and 19 other states against the ACA, Health Care Dive reports. Instead, it filed a brief claiming that since the mandate penalty was dropped as part of the tax reform law, judges should throw out other parts of the ACA as well.

BUSINESS

 

Former Bank of Oswego execs sentenced to prison

Portland Tribune

Heine and Yates were both found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and 12 counts of falsifying bank records following a seven-week trial that concluded in November 2017. Wednesday’s sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for March 5, but was delayed after Heine and Yates each filed motions seeking to overturn the verdict or be granted a new trial, all of which were denied.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Environmental, fishing groups sue Oregon over coho salmon

The Associated Press

“Poor logging practices by the Oregon Department of Forestry is causing real harm to the Oregon coast coho and commercial fishing families who depend on these magnificent fish for their livelihoods,” Glen Spain said, the northwest regional director for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and the Institute of Fisheries Resources, both plaintiffs in the case. “Stronger protections for streams to protect the coho … is decades overdue.”

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

OREGON ON THE ROAD TO FREEWAY TOLLING

Portland Tribune

The Oregon Transportation Commission will ask the federal government’s permission by year-end to impose tolls on some or all of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland area. The tolls would be designed to raise money for highway improvements, and encourage some motorists to drive at less-busy times, alleviating congestion.

 

Freeway tolling forums scheduled

Portland Tribune

The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced a series of upcoming public presentations of the freeway tolling options being considered by the Oregon Transportation Commission, which oversees it. The 2017 Oregon Legislature directed the commission to approve and submit a proposal for tolling some or all of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland area to the Federal Highway Administration for approval by the end of the year.

 

LOTTERY

 

The Oregon Lottery Rules That Portland’s Largest Poker Room is Breaking State Laws

Willamette Week

Last year, lottery officials sent Oregon State Police investigators into Portland Meadows, where they documented the poker game’s organizers charging admission and acting as a bank for players, by exchanging chips for money. Those and other actions led the lottery to move toward revoking Portland Meadows’ contract for video lottery terminals. They decided to do so in June because lottery rules require that retailers—Portland Meadows, in this case—comply with all state laws. That’s a big deal: There are 10 terminals at the track, more than any other location in the state. In 2016, the terminals brought in $1.83 million in revenue, of which Portland Meadows kept $350,000 in commissions.

 

OPINION

 

Oregon’s higher-ed spending pays off for students and taxpayers: Guest opinion

Senator Mark Hass

I attend Oregon Promise orientation meetings with these young students and listen to heartwarming stories of plans to become dental hygienists, paramedics, computer technicians and other careers that offer a path to the middle class. One woman told me she enrolled in general education courses for two years at Clackamas Community College, then will transfer to Portland State and then to medical school to be a doctor. Without the Oregon Promise, she said, she would be cleaning houses.

 

Citizen’s View: We must invest in our students

Senator Rob Wagner

As adults, I feel we must do more to support our students on their journeys into college, careers or military service. This is my challenge in the state Senate — to work with our community on finding a way to support the promise of these young adults. Let’s come together, invest in these kids and boost their chance at success. Heading into the next legislative session, I will be working to prioritize student success at every turn.

 

Editorial: DHS should inform the public about foster care

The Bulletin Editorial Board

There are always going to be problems in a foster care system. The challenges foster children have are rarely easily solved. But Oregonians should not have a problem finding out what their government is doing about it. And it can be very difficult to get answers from the Oregon Department of Human Services. Despite the strength of Oregon’s public records law, the law is largely toothless.

 

Editorial: No need for new voting law

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Soon after Richardson was elected, he argued the Oregon law had no maximum time and chose to interpret it as 10 years through an administrative rule change. But if 10 years have passed, and a voter is not participating in elections, what is so unreasonable about removing them from voter rolls? Nothing. They may well have died or moved. There is no need for a new law.

 

A win-win partnership for fire-prone forests

Mail Tribune Editorial Board

Wildland firefighters for the Oregon Department of Forestry spend their summers earning money battling blazes on state-protected timber lands, but when fire season ends, they have to figure out how to stretch the summer’s earnings through the winter or find other work until they are called back the next year. A partnership agreement between ODF and the U.S. Forest Service will offer them forest work that not only provides income in the off-season but reduces the risk of catastrophic fire at the same time. The only surprising thing about the arrangement is that it wasn’t implemented long ago.

 

Unemployment rate doesn’t always say what we think it says

Herald and News

Politicians like to talk about the jobs that they create, but they don’t create jobs. At best, they move jobs from one place to another by taxing one group of people and spending the revenue on a different group. At worst, they destroy jobs by imposing unnecessary regulations and licensing requirements. Actual job creation comes when entrepreneurs and able-bodied, educated and skilled workers come together in the marketplace. Politicians aren’t involved. But behind the news that unemployment has dropped to 3.8 percent — the lowest since the early 2000s — are some caveats worth noting.

 

Oregon Catalyst: Unions’ disingenuous membership claims don’t tell the real story

 

Oregon Catalyst: Unions’ disingenuous membership claims don’t tell the real story

Unions’ disingenuous membership claims don’t tell the real story

By Ben Straka

Oregon’s public-sector union leaders would have you believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, generally expected to end the practice of forcing government employees to pay union fees against their will, will have only a “temporary” effect on their membership ranks and revenue.

That was the thesis of a recent article in the Portland Tribuneentitled, “Despite legal threat, union memberships rise.”

As with nearly everything Big Labor says about Janus, however, the claim is misleading at best and an outright lie at worst.

The article primarily focuses on Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503’s experience following a similar 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case called Harris v. Quinn. “(I)f a similar court ruling in 2014 is any indication, any lost revenue from the change in interpretation of the law could be only temporary,” the writer, Paris Achen, confidently states.

Yet Achen’s supporting “facts” are so inapplicable to reality that you have to wonder whether she even attempted to verify them.

For starters, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicating  union membership in Oregon “increased from (a historic low of) 13.5 percent in 2016 to 14.9 percent in 2017” is virtually worthless insofar as Janusor Harrisis concerned.

Why? Because the Bureau’s data includes the total number of wage and salary workers in Oregon at that time – around 1.7 million – whereas the Janus and Harris cases affect only public employees, who accounted for less than 260,000 – a mere 15 percent – of those 1.7 million.

In other words, the fact that overall union membership went up in Oregon in 2017 does not necessarily mean that public-sector union membership increased.

Even worse, however, is the article’s muddle-headed connection between SEIU 503’s own assertions about its membership ranks and the Harris decision.

In suggesting that Harris didn’t have a lasting effect, Achen states that SEIU 503 “saw its dues-paying memberships drop by 5,000 the year of the ruling … By 2015, however, the numbers had rebounded, and by 2017, membership exceeded 58,000.”

These numbers appear to come straight from the LM-2 reports that SEIU 503 must file with the U.S. Department of Labor.

But the 58,000 figure cited doesn’t apply specifically to the Harris population; rather, it includes the entirety of workers represented by SEIU 503. It’s the same mistake Achen made when citing the aforementioned U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

And because public employees in Oregon currently have no choice but to be represented and pay union fees, the number naturally rises every time the government hires a new employee – which it does with alarming frequency.

State payroll data give a much clearer indication of the truth. In fact, data obtained by the Freedom Foundation in 2017 indicate that, as of August of last year, 40 percentof Harris-affected caregivers were no longer dues-paying members of SEIU 503.

Thus, if Achen or SEIU 503 truly believe that Harrisis “any indication” of what to expect from Janus, they might be in for a big surprise.

Ben Straka is a policy analyst for the Freedom Foundation, a member-supported, Northwest-based think and action tank promoting individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government. He can be reached at BStraka@FreedomFoundation.com.