Daily Clips

November 12, 2017 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT

The veterans who serve in Oregon’s Legislature

Bend Bulletin

House Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, said that while they play very different roles in American society, there are parallels of purpose between the military and the Legislature. “It’s a focus on mission,” said McLane, a lieutenant colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard. “The military ingrains into you the focus on mission, both for the small units and broader force. You learn to focus despite distractions.”

 

Whistleblowers, audits critical of ODOT division, lawmakers mostly unaware

Statesman Journal

Exactly how much money was wasted was never determined, but the overall cost to taxpayers certainly exceeded several hundred thousand dollars. The whistleblowers claimed the figure was closer to $1 million.  The investigations culminated as the Oregon Legislature was debating a $5.3 billion transportation infrastructure funding bill — and ODOT’s ability to manage it. Yet key lawmakers in that discussion told the Statesman Journal they either didn’t know about the investigations at the trucking division or were told by ODOT Director Matt Garrett that they involved only a personnel issue.

 

Carbon bill highlight of next week’s Oregon legislative days

Statesman Journal

Oregon legislators return to Salem for three days of committee meetings next week as they gear up for the 2018 session. The topics, including Medicaid overpayments and oil train safety, are a good preview of the session’s hot issues. Perhaps hottest of all: An attempt to curb Oregon’s carbon emissions by creating a “cap and invest” program.

 

Kate Brown travels to Germany to support climate agreement

The Oregonian

The governor’s office won’t know the total cost until after the trip, but the state also is not footing the entire bill, Hockaday wrote. Private groups are covering part of the cost for a “delegation of U.S. states” including Oregon to attend, according to the governor’s office.

 

West Coast Democrats Behind ‘Great Blue Wall’ Push Progressive Climate Agenda

OPB

Oregon is a small state,” Brown said. “We’re only four million people, and our ability to work with states like Washington and California — and frankly the (Canadian) province of British Columbia — enables us to move further and faster.” Brown said the three states and Canadian province can work with each other to “replicate best practices” along the West Coast.

 

Privatizing Oregon’s Largest Universities? Intriguing But Unlikely

OPB

Gov. Kate Brown isn’t too keen on the idea. She more or less dismissed it outright in the press release announcing the task force report, saying she has “serious concerns” about the concept. Thanks to the task force, anyone who brings it up in the future will have some sense of the enormous challenges involved with it.

 

Portland’s Bureau of Development Services building $800,000 communications team

The Oregonian

The Portland bureau charged with issuing building permits and enforcing city codes is on track to hire a nine-member communications team at a cost of as much as $800,000. The Oregonian/OregonLive asked Eudaly Thursday afternoon how the development service bureau’s communications plan fit into her strategy for her two bureaus. She called the new communications team “vital.” She declined to elaborate further, saying she was “extremely busy.” She dismissed the need to explain the big boost in hiring, suggesting it was obvious.

 

POLITICS & ELECTIONS

 

Less Than Two Weeks After His Hire, Jefferson Smith Resigns From Oregon Center for Public Policy

Willamette Week

Jefferson Smith, the newly named executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, has resigned, according to two people with direct knowledge of his decision. Smith was unavailable for comment. OCPP board chair Will Neuhauser attributed the decision to the ill-health of Smith’s parents and an in-law, however there were also clearly other factors at work. The stunning news comes just a day after the board of the left-leaning think tank received a letter signed by 20 people—15 women and five men—that was highly critical of Smith’s hiring, which OCPP announced last month.

 

Ballot measure would apply term limits retroactively, Oregon Supreme Court says

The Oregonian

A proposed ballot measure would impose term limits on Oregon legislators and those limits would apply retroactively in most cases. If voters were to send that measure to the ballot and then approve the limits, it would spell a major change for the Legislature. About two-thirds of senators would be prevented from running again, including Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem. In the House, more than quarter of members would be affected, among them Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland.

 

State senator Chuck Riley to open Hillsboro office Nov. 17

Portland Tribune

Hillsboro’s state senator has plans to open a legislative office in downtown Hillsboro later this month. Chuck Riley, a Democrat representing District 15, announced on Tuesday that he will open an office at 122 E. Main St., on Nov. 17.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Medicaid repayment could have impact on Umpqua Health Alliance

Roseburg News-Review

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced this week that she has decided to seek repayment of $64 million that was misspent by the Oregon Health Authority on patients that were not eligible to receive Oregon Health Plan benefits. The decision will have an impact on the Umpqua Health Alliance, Douglas County’s only Coordinated Care Organization that caters to about 26,000 Oregon Health Plan members in the county, said Umpqua Health’s Director of Marketing and Communications Mark Tsuchiya.

 

Proven treatment for opioid addiction underused

Bend Bulletin

But as opioids themselves, these medications remain tainted by the stigma of addiction. Many in the recovery community consider their use as trading one addiction for another, and tell those taking the medications they aren’t really clean. Most doctors remain unwilling to prescribe them in fear of filling their waiting rooms with addicts or facing the scrutiny of federal law enforcement officials. And when doctors do choose to offer the treatment, they face significant regulatory and insurance barriers. As a result, there are nearly a million fewer treatment slots than there are individuals with opioid addictions.

 

WOLVES

 

Conservation groups ask governor  to reopen wolf killing investigation

Register-Guard

The letter claims that police misinterpreted the evidence. The groups say a public records request revealed photographic evidence that contradicts the official report done by police about the incident.

 

VETERANS

 

Feds accuse Northwest Trustee of illegally foreclosing on veterans

The Oregonian

The U.S. Justice Department has sued the largest foreclosure trustee in the Pacific Northwest, claiming it illegally foreclosed on at least 28 military members or veterans in the past six years. The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Seattle was prompted by the case of Jacob McGreevey, a longtime Marine who lost his Vancouver home to foreclosure between his third and fourth tours of duty in the Middle East.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: ODOT Motor Carrier safety issues, contract handling speak to state’s lack of transparency

Statesman Journal Editorial Board

Is this Gov. Kate Brown’s idea of government transparency? This week, Statesman Journal senior reporter Tracy Loew reported that leaders of the Motor Carrier division of the Oregon Department of Transportation refuse to answer to the public, are ignoring their own employees’ complaints about unsafe work conditions and practices, and yet, they still have their jobs.

 

Editorial: Oregon lawmakers shouldn’t promote their favorite causes

Bend Bulletin

But if it’s OK for the Legislature to dictate the OLCC taking a stand for a worthy cause, where does it end? Shouldn’t equal treatment be given to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which continues to fight against the evils of demon rum? Or those who want to protect the Second Amendment? Oregon lawmakers should not be using state government to publicize their pet causes, no matter how deserving.

 

Guest: Oregon keeps a promise to veterans and military families

Rep. Paul Evans

During this past Legislative session, Measure 96 provided an opportunity for an historic increase in funding for the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and critical programs for military families. The result is a budget demonstrating the commitment of Gov. Kate Brown, both chambers of the Oregon Legislature, and the people of Oregon to keeping faith with the men and women we ask so much of.

 

Column: “Extreme risk” laws earn support on both sides of gun control debate

Tim Nesbitt

Focusing on “extreme risk,” as Washington and Oregon have done, can help to counter the extremism that has plagued our politics on this issue. Advocates of this approach have proven that they can overcome the opposition of the National Rifle Association, which opposed both the Washington and Oregon laws.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

 

McAuliffe, top Democrats dismiss impeachment talk

POLITICO

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who also attended the breakfast, said she has no position on impeachment, which she said is “something that Congress is going to deal with.” California Gov. Jerry Brown was also dismissive.

 

Why politicians got away with sexual misconduct for so long

The Washington Post

But Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon was a textbook case of “everyone knew” when I served as press secretary for his 1992 challenger, Les AuCoin. I watched with dismay as our campaign and the press corps covering the race grappled with the knowledge of Packwood’s sexual misconduct — well beyond the adulterous realm of Gary Hart — without knowing what to do about it.

Oregon GOP Chair Demands Brown Release Her OHA Records

 

Will Governor Provide Transparency When It Truly Matters?

 

Wilsonville, OR – With the Oregon Health Authority again facing scandal for misusing $74M in taxpayer dollars and the Governor claiming that she was totally unaware of it until a few weeks ago, Kate Brown is now facing calls from news media across the state to release her office records relating to the scandal.  Though she staked her public reputation on being a transparent Governor, Brown has failed to release these records.

“Oregonians deserve more than a Kate Brown press release. It’s time for the Governor to take questions from the press, and most importantly, to release the records on her administration’s involvement and potential complicity in concealing the overpayments from the public.”

The timeline as it is known so far is deeply troubling.  The Oregonian reports:

”Top officials at the health authority, including then-director Lynne Saxton, knew about the overpayments for months, including some who learned of it more than a year ago.”

If this is true, then why was Governor Kate Brown not aware of the overpayments until mid-October?  And why did she only speak up about it after the Oregonian began its own investigation?” asked Oregon GOP Chairman Bill Currier.

When briefly confronted about the shocking revelations by KOIN 6 News, Kate Brown gave a commitment to provide taxpayers an explanation as to why the money was misspent, but the interview was then abruptly cut off, and the Governor ushered away from any further comment.

“Taxpayers deserve to know what the Governor knew and when she knew it.  It’s time for Kate Brown to show she cares about government transparency when it truly matters and proactively release her administration’s records and internal communications related to this latest scandal at the Oregon Health Authority,” added Currier.

“We all remember the other Oregon Governor who recently tried to conceal or destroy public records that would have exposed corruption during an election year, and he is now a disgraced EX-Governor.  Come clean Kate Brown or join Governor Kitzhaber in shame.”

 

Link to Online Posting:

https://oregon.gop/orp-chair-demands-kate-brown-release-her-oha-records-2017-11-09

 

 

 

 

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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DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

NOVEMBER 9, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Sources Say: West Coast Dems plot ‘blue wall’

Portland Tribune

Democratic politicians in Oregon, California and Washington are working together to create a political “blue wall” along the West Coast and pass progressive legislation, including a coordinated carbon tax.

 

West Coast Democrats Behind ‘Great Blue Wall’ Push Progressive Climate Agenda

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon is also considering a proposal to cap the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. “Oregon is a small state,” Brown said. “We’re only four million people, and our ability to work with states like Washington and California — and frankly the (Canadian) province of British Columbia — enables us to move further and faster.” Brown said the three states and Canadian province can work with each other to “replicate best practices” along the West Coast.

 

Whisnant appointed to interim session education committees

KTVZ

“I look forward to serving on all these committees,” Rep. Whisnant stated in a news release Wednesday.  “With the additional committee assignments, I will be serving on all the education policy and Ways and Means committees concerned with early education learning, PK-12, and Higher Education issues. I have served on the House Education Committee in previous sessions when the committee addressed all education issues.  I was vice-chair twice.”

 

Sen. Jeff Kruse Told Oregon State Police He Was Investigating “Fraud and Deception” in Video Chat Rooms

Willamette Week

A police report WW obtained today under Oregon’s public records law sheds new light on a strange episode involving state Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) and a grainy YouTube video that Kruse says was being used in an attempt to extort money from him.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

COFA Islanders Rush to Enroll, but Face Obstacles in Special Insurance Program

The Lund Report

A tight deadline has insurance brokers working overtime to help a group of Pacific Islanders to get insurance, but a rule requiring them to pay deductibles upfront has some members facing collection agencies.

 

JOBS & THE ECONOMY

 

Fresh layoffs at SureID, now called Fortior

The Oregonian

The Hillsboro company formerly known as SureID is laying off 25 more employees this week, according to a notice it filed with the state. Including these cuts, the company has reduced its Oregon workforce by more than 80 percent since May. The new layoffs included customer service positions and perhaps jobs in other parts of the business, according to two people who lost their jobs. The company, now called Fortior Solutions, did not respond to a request for comment.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

Portland, not waiting for Amazon, moves forward with Post Office plan

The Oregonian

Even if Amazon chooses another city for its second headquarters, Portland has big plans for the Pearl District Post Office site – including affordable housing and living-wage jobs.

 

Portland to spend $12 million surplus on police, homeless, roads and new positions

The Oregonian

The city of Portland has a $12 million surplus from last year’s budget, and it plans to spend much of it to add to the city’s police force, operate homeless shelters and complete infrastructure projects. The new spending, approved Wednesday, will be on top of the $516 million spending plan for 2017-18 that the City Council approved in May.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Medicaid error is another reason to vote against new taxes

Bend Bulletin

We already know the taxes themselves are bad policy; they apply unevenly and target struggling hospitals and consumers with already climbing premiums. The problems at the OHA add another reason to vote against them. The situation calls for transparency from the governor, not political posturing.

 

Editorial: Block of appointment may hurt Oregon

Bend Bulletin

They’d lose, too, as would all ­Oregonians, if President Donald Trump withdrew the nomination and appointed a judge from Idaho or another securely Republican state to the court, as some Republicans have hinted he might. The tradition that says two judges will come from each state would be ended, and Oregonians’ influence there diminished as a result.

 

Bike sharing benefits

Register-Guard

Eugene’s bike rental program is getting ready to roll and, if it’s done properly, should benefit not just the riders but also motorists, businesses and local taxpayers.

 

Guest column: Huge defense budgets but still not taking care of veterans

Ric DeMarco lives in Bend

“America First” seems to be a constant rallying cry from both the left and the right. However to date, we’ve spent over $4 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely America can afford to respectfully and properly care for our veterans and their families. Let’s truly appreciate and applaud our veterans by honestly and properly taking care of them. By the way, a trillion seconds is about 32,000 years.

 

 

DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

NOVEMBER 8, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Brown calls for Medicaid repayment

The Oregonian

In her directive Tuesday, Brown requested that Allen submit a written report on the issue every two weeks and develop a dedicated website on which to publish public records requests and related documents. She commended Allen for being “dogged and transparent” since taking the top job at the health authority in August.

 

Management problems endemic at OHA

Portland Tribune

“OHA has been in deep trouble now for years, and this feels like just a continuation of problems that are endemic to the organization,” said Jim Moore, director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University. The fact that the governor was reportedly not informed of the issue when it arose last year may speak to those problems, Moore said. “There’s clearly an organizational problem,” Moore said. “As soon as this was known by anybody who met regularly with the governor, they needed to tell the governor.”

 

Oregon greens cheer Brown’s orders on energy efficient buildings, electric vehicles

Portland Business Journal

An array of green groups — Earth Advantage, Climate Solutions, New Buildings Institute, NW Energy Coalition, International Living Future Institute and the Zero Energy Project — cheered the moves, and used the occasion to say they were coming together to form the Oregon Zero Energy Buildings Coalition. The coalition said it will be “providing technical and research support to state, local and school district officials, as well as to private-sector developers, designers and builders, to support the implementation of the standards established in Governor Brown’s executive order.”

 

The ‘big deal’ in Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order on electric vehicles

Portland Business Journal

“The commitment to use 15 percent of the Volkswagen money on EV charging is a big deal,” the executive director of Forth (formerly Drive Oregon) said. It’s a big deal because EVs had so far been left out of plans for spending the $72.9 million that will come to the state in the carmaker’s diesel-emissions cheating settlement. “The original direction from the Department of Environmental Quality was to use zero for charging infrastructure,” Allen said. “So this is a big course change.”

 

A Nonprofit Spent Millions of Public Dollars to House Native American Seniors and Foster Families. It’s Failing.

Willamette Week

“NAYA did not expect that fair housing laws would be as constraining and inflexible with regard to implementation as it turns out they are,” he says. “This was coupled with the complexity of Native families with difficult backgrounds who just could not get their applications approved. We found the application and lease-up process frustrating and made even more difficult by the holidays and prolonged extreme winter weather.”

 

Oregon Legislature Could Take Up Mandatory Reporting Issue

NW News Network

An Oregon lawmaker said she’ll introduce a bill next year to clarify that consensual sex between teenagers does not need to be reported to state authorities. Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser made the announcement in a Facebook post Tuesday.

 

ELECTIONS

 

Former State Rep. Greg Macpherson Seeking Appointment to Richard Devlin’s Senate Seat

Willamette Week

Former state Rep. Greg Macpherson (D-Lake Oswego) announced today he will seek appointment to the Senate District 19 seat that currently held by Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). Macpherson served in the House from 2003 to 2009 and chaired the House Judiciary Committee. A longtime pension benefits lawyer who recently retired from the Stoel Rives firm, Macpherson served as the point man for Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s 2003 cuts to the Public Employees Retirement System.

 

Springfield police levy leading in early election returns

Register-Guard

City voters Tuesday night were overwhelmingly endorsing a property tax increase to pay for police and jail services.Springfield voters were passing Measure 20-273, a five-year extension of the city’s police and jail property tax levy, with 68 percent in favor and 32 percent opposed with most ballots counted at 8 p.m.

 

Portland Community College’s $185 million workforce training bond passes

The Oregonian

Mark Mitsui, PCC’s president, said the bond will mean a lot to students, families and the entire community surrounding the workforce center in Northeast Portland in particular. “This provides the resources we need to help pull families out of poverty in the Cully neighborhood,” he said.

 

Passage of $4M school bond means repairs to Lowell schools

Register-Guard

Early results showed that voters in the Lowell district overwhelmingly passed the bond measure 513 yes votes to 217 no votes as of 8 p.m.“I was pleasantly surprised to see those first numbers,” he said. “But it looks like the community came out strong in support of our schools, and that’s encouraging.”

 

Crooked River Ranch rejects tax to fund more law enforcement

Bend Bulletin

Nearly 86 percent of Jefferson County citizens living in Crooked River Ranch voted against a measure that would have established a law enforcement district. Only 270 votes received were in favor of the measure compared to 1,603 against it, according to unofficial results late Tuesday night on the website for the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

 

Sherwood voters just say no – again – to marijuana

Portland Tribune

Unofficial results as of Tuesday night show voters turning down sales of marijuana for second time in a year.

 

EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION

 

PSU’s Four Years Free program attracts more full-time Oregon freshmen

Portland Tribune

Portland State University officials say a growing percentage of its freshmen are now first-time and full-time students since beginning its tuition-free program to eligible high school graduates.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

City backs timber high-rise with $6M in affordable housing funds

Portland Business Journal

The Portland project being billed as the first new high-rise in the country constructed out of wood has landed $6 million from the Portland Housing Bureau for the building’s 60 affordable housing units.

 

Crook County Wants Local Voices To Have More Weight In Public Lands

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Commissioners held a meeting Monday night in Prineville, Oregon, to gather public input on the proposed plan. They plan to vote on it Wednesday. The document lays out the history and economy of Crook County, emphasizing timber, mining, grazing and agriculture as mainstays in the central Oregon community. It also lays out county priorities for how federal public lands in Crook County should be managed.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Brown is not queen of Oregon

Bend Bulletin

Brown’s executive orders should worry liberals and conservatives. Oregon’s government is structured so no one individual, no one agency of government, can make important policies unchecked. Brown’s action deserves rebuke.

 

Editorial: Brown should appoint independent investigator into $74 million flub

The Oregonian

It’s great that Brown is confident. The public, on the other hand, has witnessed too many meltdowns at the agency, from the never-launched Cover Oregon fiasco to the inclusion of tens of thousands of people who were no longer eligible for Medicaid to feel that confidence. Even with Allen’s solid reputation. Not to mention, Allen and his team oversee a massive operation that won’t allow them the focused attention they need to pin down the whos, whats and whys of the overpayment flub. And as a political appointee, Allen inherently lacks the independence that’s critical for the credibility of any review, particularly of such a politically sensitive issue as this.

Certainly, Buehler’s making political hay with his call for an investigation. But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Brown should cut her losses, confront the controversy and appoint an independent investigator.

 

Editorial: Taxpayers need real answers in Medicaid mess

Democrat-herald

And here’s a question that voters will be asking themselves when they receive their ballots for Measure 101 in January: How can taxpayers be sure that these tax dollars will be spent in a proper and prudent fashion? Let’s start the debate on this measure with answers to these questions. And it falls to the governor to provide the answers; from what we can see, the new staff at the Health Authority has its work cut out for it in the near future.

 

Editorial: Class sizes grow with PERS crisis

Portland Tribune

All of the alternatives require sacrifice – including from PERS-covered employees who are still in the work force. In many ways, that’s unfair. But the alternative is to divert more and more money away from services and into PERS.

 

Editorial: Oregon makes needed restoration of its constitution

Bend Bulletin

If you’re one of the 100 or so Oregonians who pledged money on the Secretary of State’s Office website to restore this state’s constitution, pat yourself on the back. If you gave when the document was on display a couple of years ago in the state Capitol, do the same thing. Ditto if you’re among the schoolchildren around the state who also raised money for the project.

You got the job done.

 

Editorial: Our veterans deserve more than parades

Portland Tribune

Remembering is not enough. We, as a country, need to do more. This is not a Republican issue, nor a Democratic issue. It is an American issue.

 

Editorial: Protect Cascade-Siskiyou

Register-Guard

The Trump administration’s plans to drastically shrink the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon — and three other national monuments in other states — are disturbing enough. What’s even more disturbing is the secrecy that continues to surround these plans.

 

 

DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

NOVEMBER 7, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Unclear why leaders weren’t told of OHA over payments

Portland Tribune

The Oregon Health Authority can’t say who the federal government told in 2016 that it wanted repayment of $74 million in health care funds, or why that information wasn’t shared with top managers or the governor until last month. “I don’t know what informed the decision to share and not to share,” said OHA Spokesman Robb Cowie.

 

Knute Buehler calls for investigation into Medicaid overpayments

Bend Bulletin

“The effective delivery and transparent administration of providing health care to Oregonians should not be a source of partisan division,” Buehler wrote in a letter to Brown. Buehler said he supports Medicaid and the expansion of the health insurance program for the poor under the Affordable Care Act. But Oregon’s problems administering the program have chipped away at the state’s reputation for health care innovation and undermined public trust in state government, Buehler said.

 

Knute Buehler calls for special counsel to investigate Medicaid overpayments

Portland Business Journal

“If that isn’t bad enough, officials within your administration were aware of the overpayments for over a year, did not disclose this information to the public or legislators and chose to do nothing about it. This is an unacceptable situation. The time has come for truth and accountability.”

 

Kate Brown adopts broad green building mandates and electric vehicle goals

The Oregonian

The goal of Brown’s two executive orders is to “drive the state’s efforts forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she told reporters after the event. “Buildings, both residential and commercial, consume about 30 percent of Oregon’s energy use.”

 

Oregon lawmaker resigns to lead business lobbying group

The Oregonian

In a statement, Johnson, who had a career as a general contractor, said he is grateful for the relationships he made with Capitol colleagues and constituents. “I continue to believe that if we can set aside the partisanship and focus on doing right by the people of Oregon, there is no limit to what we can accomplish regardless of the role we are serving in,” said Johnson, 60.

 

Trump fills 2 top fed jobs in Oregon

Bend Bulletin

The tempo of Trump administration appointments in Oregon has received a long-awaited jump start, but two key top jobs remain open 10 months after the president took office.

 

Former Legislator From The Dalles Wins Job With Trump Administration

Oregon Public Broadcasting

John Huffman, a Republican from the Dalles, has received one of the plum political appointments from the federal government. Huffman left the Oregon House in October after 10 years to become Oregon’s director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

Embattled Oregon lawmaker says he is victim of blackmail campaign

The Oregonian

State Sen. Jeff Kruse said Monday he is the victim of an extortion campaign related to a YouTube video that appears to show him engaged in a video chat with a partially-clad woman.

 

State Sen. Jeff Kruse Claims He’s the Victim of an Extortion Attempt Involving a YouTube Video

Willamette Week

“This was a private conversation between two adults, which appears to have been captured and altered by a third party in an attempt to extort money,” Kruse tells WW via email. “This video has been reported to the Oregon State Police.”

 

ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT

Environmental groups sue over Willamette basin dams

Statesman Journal

The Native Fish Society, Wild Earth Guardians and Northwest Environmental Defense Center issued a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over what they’re calling the agency’s failure to improve dam passage for adult and juvenile fish. They say the corps has consistently missed deadlines or dragged its feet in meeting requirements to improve habitat conditions following a 2008 legal agreement.

 

MARIJUANA

 

December deadline for medical marijuana

Bend Bulletin

“We’re going to have to track everything in our system,” said Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program. The Oregon Legislature during this year’s session imposed the deadline and tracking requirement as part of Senate Bill 1057, which requires medical marijuana produced and transferred within the medical marijuana program to be tracked by the state Cannabis Tracking System.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Looking for leadership, not more excuses

East Oregonian

Bad news keeps rolling out from the Oregon Health Authority. But instead of taking responsibility, Gov. Kate Brown not only ducked it but also tried to spin it as positive news. The issue is that OHA paid too much to regional health-care organizations, collected too much money from the feds as a result, and might have to repay all of it.

 

Editorial: Women on the rise

Register-Guard

“Women who don’t think they’re qualified don’t think about running for office. Men who don’t think they’re qualified still think about running for office.” And, history suggests, too often wind up running, winning and embarrassing themselves — and letting down their constituents — through power grabs, sex scandals or plain ineptness. If, as Lawless suggests, the issue is not voters — they’ll happily back a female candidate who’s qualified — then let’s hope the Seattle surge of women candidates is a catalyst for others. America is hungry for good leadership ­— perhaps as never before — and can only benefit from women’s willingness to step up and provide it.

 

Editorial: Congress should pass a narrow bill to end fire borrowing

Bend Bulletin

The Oregon delegation, Democrats and Republican, must agree to work for legislation that at least just ends fire borrowing this session. They all know that without that shift, there’s no chance of serious improvements to forest health.

 

OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS

 

Wyden presses UO over its handling of Bigby-Williams rape allegations

Register-Guard

Oregon’s senior U.S. senator, Ron Wyden, is demanding more information from the University of Oregon on how it handled a rape allegation leveled last year against one of its basketball players. “If these reports are accurate, they raise major questions about the university’s commitment to creating and maintaining a safe campus environment,” Wyden wrote.

 

Sen. Ron Wyden “Deeply Troubled” Over Report of University of Oregon’s Handling of Basketball Player Accused of Rape

Willamette Week

Wyden went on to say that the university’s response to allegations against Bigby-Williams raises questions about the sincerity of the university’s pledge to more effectively address campus safety and sexual assault. “Time and again, colleges and universities demonstrate to policymakers, students, the general public and especially to victims that too often they are acting to protect their own self-interests.”

 

 

DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

How GOP Tax Cut Bill Could Raise Oregon State Income Taxes

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Some Oregonians could actually face a state income tax increase if Congress passes the Republican tax cut plan that was formally unveiled Thursday. “Potentially, yes, it could be an increase for the state,” said Paul Warner, who runs the Legislative Revenue Office in Salem.

 

Federal tax reform plan could hike Oregon income taxes

Portland Tribune

The plan faces uncertain prospects, but one proposed change could disproportionately affect Oregonians: its provision largely eliminating federal deductions for state and local income and sales taxes. For Oregonians, who pay income taxes that are high compared to other states, doing away with most of that deduction could mean higher federal taxes, because there would be more money to tax.

 

Portland Now Has 600 Dues-Paying Democratic Socialists

Willamette Week

The Portland chapter of Democratic Socialists of America announced Wednesday that it has reached 600 dues-paying members. That’s an 3,900-percent increase from this time last year, when the chapter had 15 members. “I think the election is really what spurred people into action,” says Olivia Katbi Smith, chapter secretary and co-chair of the chapter’s feminist branch. “After the election, a lot of people felt pretty helpless. You see DSA is on the ground doing stuff, making stuff happen, and I think people want to be a part of that.”

 

Two Oregon Republicans head for the Legislative exit

Bend Bulletin

An expected resignation and a surprise appointment will leave northern Deschutes and all of Jefferson county with vacant or lame-duck representation in the Legislature.

 

Sprenger to seek District 17 post re-election

Democrat-herald

“Representing our community as a member of the Legislature continues to be an incredible honor,” Sprenger said. “As I look ahead to 2018, I continue to believe there is more we can do to improve the quality of life for Oregonians across the state, including attracting family-wage jobs to our rural communities and improving our public education system. I look forward to once again having the opportunity to earn the support of my friends and neighbors in House District 17.”

 

EDUCATION

 

Eugene School District, teachers union inch toward contract

Register-Guard

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, both sides were still actively negotiating details of the contract. The main focus of disagreement: pay raises. The union wants far bigger ones than the district is offering. The haggling takes place against the backdrop of the 2014-17 contract, which gave union members pay raises in two ways: annual cost-of-living increases and step increases — automatic annual raises triggered by seniority and level of education.

 

JOBS & THE ECONOMY

 

Businesses hurt by Eagle Creek Fire can now get loans

KOIN6

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday businesses looking to recover from lost revenue can get loans up to 30 years with interest rates ranging from 2.5 to 3.3%. The applications, sent to the Federal Small Business Administration, will be accepted through next summer. Businesses and non-profits from Hood River, Multnomah, Wasco and adjacent counties are eligible.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

News 10 Special Report: The Price of Healthcare Part 1

KTVL

“We created a 1.5 percent tax on health insurance and premiums on Medicaid to help close that gap,” said Patrick Allen is the Director for Oregon Health Authority. Allen says private health insurance and Medicaid premiums weren’t the only programs that were taxed. “It also has a small tax on hospitals and a small tax on the amount receive by coordinating care organizations that provide Medicare,” says Allen.

 

Legacy Emanuel fined nearly $277,000 for lack of staff breaks

The Oregonian

The state Bureau of Labor and Industries, which announced the fines Thursday, said it’s the largest amount of civil penalties in the agency’s history. In a statement, Legacy Health said it disagreed with the bureau’s assessment but decided not to spend money on lawyers in disputing the fines.

 

Oregonians need to start shopping for health coverage now: officials

Portland Tribune

Because of the compressed time frame and contradictory headlines about health coverage, this year promises to be “very confusing,” says Jesse O’Brien, a consumer advocate for the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, which has been tracking health insurance for years.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

Presiding Deschutes judge Alta Brady to retire

Bend Bulletin

Deschutes County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Alta Brady is stepping down from the bench. Brady will serve her last day Dec. 31, according to a letter she sent Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday. That’s a year before her term would expire.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Another PERS task force

Register-Guard

Instead of continuing to convene small task forces and then ignoring their recommendations, Oregon needs to take a much larger, comprehensive, approach to reducing the PERS burden. This should include a willingness to go to court and make the case that PERS threatens public services to such an extent that at least the future growth in payments needs to be reduced, a possibility suggested by Oregonian reporter Ted Sickinger, who has long followed the PERS saga. PERS has become a financial crisis for Oregon, starving schools and other public services of needed funds. It’s time for a response that equals the magnitude of the problem.

 

Editorial: Don’t allow lawyers to split fees with for-profits

Bend Bulletin

The Oregon bar has long been concerned about the fact that for too many of this state’s residents, price really is an obstacle when it comes to hiring a lawyer. No doubt it’s a valid concern, and allowing lawyers to split fees with for-profit referral services will not only not improve the situation, it’s likely to make the problem worse.

 

Editorial: A do-or-die tax plan

Register-Guard

The tax plan unveiled by House Republicans Thursday fails a crucial test at the outset: It adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a 10-year period — probably more. But the GOP desperately needs to pass some sort of tax reduction and simplification bill, both to validate its control of Congress and to allow President Trump to claim a legislative victory. Some version of the proposal is likely to pass.

 

 

DAILY CLIPS

 

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

‘Culture needs to change,’ senator says

The Associated Press

Gelser told Oregon Public Radio’s “Think Out Loud” program that the women told her about various offensive behavior. “It can be anything from being touched too long, having a hand on your thigh either above or below your skirt, and what someone believes is just a friendly way, that hand around the shoulder and the fingers beneath your shirt … or someone that is talking to you so close that your ear is wet when you step away,” she said. Women have been touched “under the dais at a committee hearing, and, you know, it’s happened on the floor of our chambers, and that is not appropriate,” Gelser added.

Oregon State Senator Says She Was Sexually Harassed By Fellow Lawmaker

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Gelser said female lobbyists and legislative staffers have also experienced sexual harassment at the Oregon Capitol. “I hope that what comes of this discussion is that it’s not about a set of experiences that I had, but about a culture that needs to change,” she said.

State senator: Fellow senator groped me in Oregon Capitol

The Oregonian

Kruse did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday. But he told the Roseburg News Review Monday that he doesn’t recall touching Gelser more than by giving her a side hug, which he did not find inappropriate. He also told the Roseburg paper he has no intention of resigning.

Former Legislative Lawyer Files Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Her Former Boss Alleging Retaliation, Improper Termination

Willamette Week

The lawsuit, filed by Gail Stevens in Marion County Circuit Court, alleges that in March 2017, Johnson “terminated [Stevens] from her position with the Office of Legislative Counsel for reporting mismanagement, opposing and reporting unlawful practices, discussing wages and opposing pay inequity.”

Major Shake-Up In Oregon Senate As 2 Longtime Leaders Leave

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“I can say with all sincerity that I will miss them both,” said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland. “They have both been incredible participants in the process.” For Burdick, Ferrioli’s departure also means the loss of a long-time political rival. Burdick serves as the Senate majority leader opposite Ferrioli’s role as head of the smaller Republican caucus.

Gov. Kate Brown Makes It Official: State Senators Devlin and Ferroli Will Get Fivefold Pay Increase and Big Pension Boost

Willamette Week

Oregon’s council members currently get paid $119,988 a year—more than five times the modest $22,000 salary Oregon pays its lawmakers. The money to fund the council comes from the Bonneville Power Administration, Harrison says. But unlike other states, Oregon routes the BPA money through a state agency, the Oregon Department of Energy. That means because their paychecks will come from the state, the two state senators will get big boosts to their accounts with the Public Employees Retirement System.

Some services restored as strike hits second week

Register-Guard

County officials said some health, veterans and land-­management services resumed normal operations Monday, as the number of AFSCME-represented employees reporting for work reached 151.

Oregon launches retirement savings plan

Portland Tribune

The program, which will phase in over three years, is intended to reach about 1 million Oregon workers at 64,000 businesses who now have no access to a retirement savings plan at work. Nationally, 55 million workers fall into that category.

ELECTIONS

Democratic State Rep. Janelle Bynum plans re-election run in 2018

Portland Tribune

“I plan to file for re-election to the best job I have ever had: representing Oregon House District 51,” Bynum said in a press release. “While I’m incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish so far, there is still so much more to do, more key investments to make and more opportunity to pass on.”

Rep. Rayfield announces re-election bid

Gazette Times

“We have made significant steps forward in Oregon but there is still a lot of work left on the table,” Rayfield said. “It is an honor to represent this community in the Oregon House. I am excited to continue our work improving elections, fighting for high-quality health care, creating good-paying jobs and preserving our environment for future generations.”

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Solar energy company commits $1B to Oregon

Bend Bulletin

Company officials say they try their best to hire local workers to build the farms and believe the projects will create “hundreds of good-paying jobs” in Marion and Polk counties.

EDUCATION

Sprague High School teacher on leave after allegedly bringing gun to school

Statesman Journal

Assistant Principal Lillian White shared details of the incident with parents and employees via autodial message Friday. “Earlier today, some of our students reported seeing one of our employees with what appeared to be a concealed weapon,” White said. “While this may be legal, Salem-Keizer Schools policy prohibits any employee or student from possessing any item like this on school property, regardless of permit status.” It is unclear if Johnston had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

Environmental group blocks path to timber sale

Register-Guard

Eugene-based Cascadia Forest Defenders announced Monday it had installed the roadblock after organizing tree sitting protests since the start of summer, all to demonstrate objections to the Goose Project in the Willamette National Forest.

OPINION

Editorial: Students aren’t showing up

Register-Guard

Parents must also do what they can to ensure that their children get to school and stay there. Students can’t learn unless they are present to be taught, and they can’t graduate from schools they do not attend.

DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Lane County, AFSCME contract talks continue as strike enters 2nd week

Register-Guard

Lane County and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union met in all-day contract negotiations Sunday, but they did not announce an end to talks late Sunday night. It was unclear Sunday night whether the sides would resume labor talks through a mediator Monday.

 

Law pre-empts counties from banning aerial spraying

Capitol Press

An Oregon circuit judge is considering a case that argues local voters have a “natural right” to ban aerial spraying in Lincoln County, despite state statutes to the contrary. Lincoln County voters approved an ordinance earlier this year banning aerial spraying. It is being challenged in a lawsuit filed by landowners Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, who rely on aerial spraying. The plaintiffs say the local ban is prohibited by Oregon’s “right to farm” law, state laws regulating pesticides and the forest practice laws.

 

Rafters may get a break on permits

Mail Tribune

The Oregon State Marine Board is floating a streamlined plan that would no longer require people who rent commercial rafts and kayaks to carry Aquatic Invasive Species permits, a move billed as a near no-brainer for Oregon waterways. “I think it’s going to make life easier for everyone,” said Sgt. Shawn Richards of the Jackson County sheriff’s Marine Patrol. “We do yearly inspections on liveries, so we know they’re compliant. This way, if there’s not a tag on the boat, we don’t have to hassle the clients.

 

New cellphone law for drivers means no holding the phone: ‘That thing is hot lava now’

Register-Guard

“We could literally write tickets all day long. But we’ve seen an improvement since the law went into affect,” Massey said Tuesday. “I’m sure once the surprise and newness wears off, people will go back to using them.”

 

ELECTIONS

 

State Democrats seek to expand their reach

Portland Tribune

Oregon Democrats say that they have an opportunity with the upcoming election to recruit more rural and minority voters to their cause, despite the substantial ideological gap between the state’s cities and its more rural areas east of the Cascade mountains.

 

EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION

 

New internship system for Central Oregon youth

Bend Bulletin

Youth CareerConnect streamlines the internship process. The internship coordinators oversee an online system that Condit and others involved call a kind of “Match.com for internships.” People ages 16-24 can upload their applications to the site, and businesses can put up internship postings. “Schools and businesses won’t have to make hundreds of calls to set up internships,” Condit said.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Yes, it’s election season

Register-Guard

Special elections in odd-­numbered years have a way of catching people off guard. It feels as though the confetti from last year’s big general election still needs to be swept up, and here comes another ballot in the mail. It takes an effort of will to focus on such elections, because the issues are as dry as an Oregon pinot gris but less intoxicating — no high-profile clashes of candidates, no juicy statewide initiatives. This creates a risk of low turnout.