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.

 

 

Gov. Brown’s education ‘vision’ blurred by contradictions

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

 

In Case You Missed It

 

Gov. Brown’s education ‘vision’ blurred by contradictions: Editorial Agenda 2017

The Oregonian Editorial Board

 

The forced resignation of Salam Noor, Oregon’s deputy superintendent for education, would seem to be a political two-fer for Gov. Kate Brown.

 

First, sacking Noor helps give the impression that Brown means business when it comes to reversing the state’s worsening performance in K-12 education, reflected in declining test scores and increasing chronic absenteeism as The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Betsy Hammond reported. Second, the change gives her the opportunity to declare to Oregonians that yes, she does, in fact, have a vision for education.

 

The move fails on both counts. Brown’s automatic response to failures under her leadership has been to jettison the department head. So getting rid of Noor simply continues her pattern of deflecting blame. Her education vision, as laid out in a recent letter to her education cabinet, largely gussies up plans or programs that have long been in the works. But most important, Brown herself has clouded her own education strategy with a mess of contradictory actions. She signed legislation hobbling accountability metrics. She recommended only partial funding for an educational measure she endorsed. And she blocked efforts that would have directed more money to students’ needs, rather than employee benefits. If Brown is serious about digging out of this educational crisis, she must figure out how to back up her words with the policy, funding and follow-through that so far has eluded her.

 

Consider her emphasis on accountability. In her letter, she notes the importance of measuring student achievement and outcomes. The key way that the state tracks such progress is through standardized tests given to students in third through eighth grades, and to high school juniors. Participation is so important for accurately measuring and comparing schools’ success in educating students that the state pledged to meet a 95 percent participation threshold as part of its plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

 

One problem: In 2015, Brown enthusiastically signed a bill pushed by the teachers union that allowed students to opt out of taking such tests for any reason whatsoever. Not surprisingly, students did. As a result, some schools had such low participation rates that administrators cannot draw any meaningful conclusions from the data they do have. That means the state cannot reliably measure whether schools are successfully teaching students grade-level material or accurately measure if they are closing the “achievement gap” between white, higher-income students and minority or low-income students. So much for accountability.

 

Consider, also, Brown’s proposed budget earlier this year. The governor in 2016 enthusiastically endorsed Ballot Measure 98, which called for increased investment in dropout prevention and career and technical education in high school. She has routinely highlighted the opportunities that career and technical education opens up. But after the measure passed, she recommended devoting less than half the money that the measure called for. The Legislature was more generous – though still considerably short of the ballot measure.

 

Even her personnel choices reflect muddled objectives. Six months after becoming governor, Brown named Lindsey Capps as her chief education officer, tasked with providing strategic leadership and coordinating education strategy spanning pre-kindergarten through college and career.

 

But Capps has zero experience as an educator. A former lobbyist and teachers’ union official, Capps has been lauded for his collaborative style and professional demeanor. But when close to 10,000 students a year are dropping out of school and graduation rates are among the worst in the nation, selecting a non-educator as chief education officer sends a curious message. Capps’ annual salary is $143,000.

 

Brown later added another six-figure-salary position – education innovation officer – and appointed longtime superintendent Colt Gill to the post. His task was to focus on stemming the drop-out rate and helping more students graduate. But Gill lacks his own budget to carry out such functions. Gill, who is assuming Noor’s duties on an interim basis, makes more than $185,000.

 

Meanwhile, Brown continues to duck the most pressing issue facing education – and social services and public safety and health care and child welfare and any other public function: The ever-escalating burden of the Public Employees Retirement System. Because the pension system carries a $25 billion unfunded liability, all public employers are making higher contributions to the system with larger spikes expected for years to come. That means fewer dollars will go to hiring teachers, counselors and reading specialists and more will go to the PERS system.

 

Instead of immediately attacking the problem, however, she and other Democratic leaders said reform will have to wait. Until 2019.

 

That’s time for another 20,000 students to drop out of high school. That’s time for another two rankings showing how low Oregon’s graduation rate has fallen. And that’s time that Oregon students don’t have.

 

Click here to view this editorial online.

 

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DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Gov. Kate Brown’s clean air plan wouldn’t clean Oregon’s air until 2030

The Oregonian

The governor, who said the effort would be “a big step forward” when she unveiled it in April 2016, signaled Thursday that she has reined in her ambitions.  “Although there’s more work ahead,” Brown said in a statement, “the proposed Cleaner Air Oregon rules represent an important first step forward in assuring our air quality standards protect public health and keep Oregonians safe.”

 

Oregon’s New Air Pollution Rules Are Already Being Debated

Oregon Public Broadcasting

To do that, the state will need the Legislature to approve a set of fees on regulated businesses that will cover the majority of the costs of implementing the rules. Without that approval, according to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Richard Whitman, the state would only be able to carry out “a minimal program.”

 

Oregon day cares must test water for lead, Gov. Kate Brown orders

The Oregonian

Gov. Kate Brown has quietly ordered regulators to make child care facilities test for lead in drinking water, reversing an earlier decision by her own appointed policy board on early childhood education. The move represents the first noticeable step toward increased oversight by Oregon’s top elected official in response to lapses in child safety regulations.

 

Most county AFSCME workers remain on strike; 20 percent have crossed picket lines, gone to work, county says

Register-Guard

On Wednesday, the first day of the strike over wages and health benefits, 118 of the 692 AFSCME-represented employees came to work, the county said. That’s 17 percent of the ­workers. On Thursday, the tally rose to 136 workers, the county said. The administration and union ­representatives did not meet ­Thursday but are slated to resume ­negotiations Friday.

 

Feds extend Real ID deadline for Oregon

Bend Bulletin

On Thursday, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given Oregon another extension to comply with the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 act that establishes security standards for driver’s licenses and other forms of federal identification. Among other provisions, the act prevents federal agencies from accepting non-compliant identification.

 

State kills $17M Wickiup Junction project

Bend Bulletin

Matt Garrett, state transportation director, told the commission that ending the project “stings.” “This agency has failed in this project,” Garrett said. “It also should be noted we failed in probably the highest calling as a public agency, and our stewardship responsibility.”

 

Judge Won’t Dismiss Seattle, Portland Sanctuary Cities Case

The Associated Press

A federal judge has rejected the Justice Department’s efforts to have a lawsuit filed by Seattle and Portland, Oregon, over sanctuary city policies thrown out. The Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to throw out the lawsuit by Seattle and Portland, but he refused in a decision Thursday. He called the administration’s threats “unconstitutionally coercive.”

 

OREGON WILDFIRES

 

Boy, 15, charged in Columbia Gorge fire

The Associated Press

He’s charged with reckless burning, depositing burning materials on forestlands, ­criminal mischief and recklessly endangering other ­persons, Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell said in a statement. The boy, from Vancouver, Wash., was not named.

 

Hood River District Attorney Indicts 15-Year-Old Who Allegedly Started Columbia River Gorge Wildfire

Willamette Week

According a a press release, the Hood River District Attorney has been working closely with the Multnomah County District Attorney because the fire burned extensive land within Multnomah County, but the boy will only face charges in Hood River County. More details on the charges are listed in a press release:

 

Oregon firefighters help Northern California battle flames, cope with devastation

Register-Guard

More than 30 Lane County firefighters were spending their second week in Northern ­California. Their mission has shifted from protecting homes and other structures from active fires to mopping up and aiding families affected by the devastation in any way they can. The firefighters said the work has been physically and emotionally draining, but that helping residents through their darkest days has kept them motivated.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Time for a new jail?

Mail Tribune

Following a two-day audit, consultants hired through a U.S. Department of Justice agency have confirmed what many local crime watchers already believe: The Jackson County Jail is too small. The consultants said the jail’s capacity and outdated design are causing a bottleneck within the local criminal justice system.

 

Decriminalizing hard drugs a polarizing issue

East Oregonian

Representative Greg Smith, who voted against the bill, said the legislation was meant to target a specific group. “These were crimes primarily committed by female offenders, and this part of the legislation wanted to do everything it can to help female offenders with families or kids, and realized many of the offenses were the results of drug or alcohol abuse.” But Smith said while those were good intentions, the legislation ignored some of the most direct victims of crimes committed by drug users. “Victims have their identities stolen, or are victims of crimes people commit while on a substance,” he said. “I ended up voting no, not because I don’t have sympathy for the people who are victims of their own circumstances, but in my view, there has to be consequences with actions committed.”

 

EDUCATION

 

Portland Public Schools paid $11,000 legal bill to keep incriminating public records secret

The Oregonian

“I am outraged that instead of being transparent to the taxpayers, they instead chose to waste money in an attempt to hide the truth,” Caprice said. “They must realize that actions like this erode public trust.” The district spent money to keep secret the details of her story and how officials refused to listen to her, when that money could have made a difference in a classroom, said Caprice, who now works for the district as a substitute teacher.

 

Clatsop County schools struggle with absenteeism

Daily Astorian

Astoria Superintendent Craig Hoppes said the campaign has raised awareness about attendance, an issue the school district plans to highlight often throughout the year. “I think we need to get ourselves around 10 percent,” Hoppes said of his goal for the district’s chronic absenteeism. At a school board meeting Nov. 8, he said, administrators from each school will discuss strategies used to improve attendance. Hoppes will talk about the attendance policies of other school districts.

 

Pot taxes puff up PPS coffers

Portland Tribune

The unbudgeted marijuana windfall is not expected to be the ‘gold mine’ many were hoping to fix school revenue, but it’s more immediate cash than voters approved.

 

ELECTIONS

 

Knute Buehler’s New Hire Signals Different Campaign Tone for 2018

Willamette Week

The leading GOP candidate for governor, state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) has made an interesting choice to be the public face of his 2018 campaign. Buehler has selected Jonathan Lockwood, currently the spokesman for the Oregon Senate Republicans.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Preparing for disasters, both natural and man-made

Democrat-herald

But knowing how to drop, cover and hold on, while an important skill to practice, is just the start of preparing for a natural disaster — and recent national events suggest that it might not be a bad idea to think about preparing for man-made calamities as well.

 

Editorial: Women are saying #metoo

Register-Guard

The discouraging part of all this is that there are so many stories; that, after decades of trying to end abuse, it is still so distressingly common. The encouraging part is that, as more and more women speak out, people are seeing “the magnitude of the problem,” and vowing to end it.

 

Editorial: New league is best of imperfect solutions

Bend Bulletin

Travel aside, the new league should be good for athletes on both sides of the mountains. The eight schools involved are fairly evenly matched, with most Bend schools slightly smaller than their Salem counterparts. The league is not perfect, perhaps, but it’s the best that could be created.

 

 

 

DAILY CLIPS

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

 

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Organized Labor Wants to Push Out Local Restaurants and Raise Prices at Portland International Airport

Willamette Week

The airport’s owner, the Port of Portland, recently signed 10-year contracts with Deschutes Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewing to open new pubs in the D concourse. But if one of the nation’s largest labor unions gets its way, those openings could mark the last time local businesses claim a foothold inside PDX.

Unite Here, a New York-based labor union, represents airport concession workers up and down the West Coast—but for now, only a small percentage of those in Portland. For the past two years, it has been urging port officials to dramatically reduce the number of concession contracts at PDX. That change could sweep out local beer and bagels, but make it easier for hundreds of workers to join their union.

 

Oregon attorney general explains lawsuits against Trump actions

Portland Tribune

“If Oregonians are being harmed, we will join a letter, a lawsuit, a brief — whatever it is that will have the best shot at demonstrating our concern and our desire to prevent the action from being successful,” Rosenblum said at a Washington County Public Affairs Forum luncheon Monday (Oct. 16) in Beaverton. “It won’t be news to you that way too many of these actions have chipped away at our individual freedoms and our collective rights as Oregonians … who believe in the promise of certain inalienable rights and the integrity of the Constitution and the rule of law.”

 

Steiner Hayward credits luck, faith for ability to thrive

Portland Tribune

“I’m a doctor and a legislator because of the concept of ‘repairing the world,'” she said. “I was a Girl Scout leader for 10 years; same reason. Look, I do what I do because that’s what I was put her to do. I believe that.”

 

HOUSING

 

Portland Wants To Build 2,000 New Units Of Supportive Housing

Oregon Public Broadcasting

In a unanimous vote, the council approved a plan to develop at least 2,000 units of permanent supportive housing by 2028. The plan is currently unfunded.

 

JOBS & THE ECONOMY

 

Intel begins layoffs in finance group

The Oregonian

Intel has begun notifying workers in its finance group that their jobs will be eliminated early next year, according to multiple employees familiar with the plans. The chipmaker had warned staff last summer that these cuts were coming, part of a broader plan to bring down spending.

 

Eight years post-recession, finally some good news: wages edging up and home prices cooling off

Portland Tribune

A new report out Thursday from the Northwest Economic Research Center says local wages are just starting to bump up and a substantial cost-of-living increase coming soon will start putting even more money in the pockets of area workers.

 

AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

 

Roseburg Resources to sell 170,000 acres of timberland to Australian firm

Mail Tribune

Roseburg CEO Grady Mulbery, who has led the company since Allyn Ford’s retirement at the beginning of 2017, said the sale is part of a larger effort to expand Roseburg’s national footprint as it pursues strategic growth opportunities in regions with stable markets and strong demand for timber.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane to Retire After Seven Years Leading the Transportation Agency

Willamette Week

“It has been an honor to serve as general manager these past seven years,” McFarlane says in a statement. “TriMet has a bright and busy road ahead and I pledge to continue in high gear until my last day.” TriMet is conducting an international search for McFarlane’s replacement, with a particular emphasis on finding a candidate who will make safety a central tenant of the organization’s mission.

 

Uber, Lyft may start engines soon in Medford

Mail Tribune

After months of debate, the Medford City Council appears poised to give a green light to ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft while striving to create a level playing field with taxi company.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Referendum on Healthcare Tax Compromise Heads to Voters

The Lund Report

Petitioners and their opponents are going to the state Supreme Court over the ballot language. If the referendum is defeated, some insurance rates could rise and the state could lose millions in federal Medicaid dollars.

 

Trump’s health subsidy shutdown could lead to free insurance

The Associated Press

If President Donald Trump prevails in shutting down a major “Obamacare” health insurance subsidy, it would have the unintended consequence of making free basic coverage available to more people, and making upper-tier plans more affordable. The unexpected assessment comes from consultants, policy experts, and state officials, who are trying to discern the potential fallout from a Washington health care debate that’s becoming even more complicated and volatile.

 

OHSU President Robertson to retire

Portland Tribune

Robertson said Thursday, Oct. 19, that he planned to leave his post Oct. 31 to focus on his health and his family. Robertson was diagnosed in September with a mild form of multiple sclerosis.  “My diagnosis was a shock to me and my family,” he said. “While my doctors assure me that I could continue to execute my role as president, this news has compelled me to re-evaluate my future and my family’s well-being.”

 

OHSU President Joe Robertson announces retirement

The Oregonian

OHSU’s board will officially accept Robertson’s offer at a meeting next Thursday. “I believe Joe’s offer of continued service would be of significant benefit to both OHSU and the public,” OHSU Board Chair Maria Pope said in the statement. “Beyond the continuity and stability it provides, it would allow him to continue to provide leadership in important health care and education policy conversations in Salem and our nation’s capital.”

 

OTHER NEWS

Wapato sale falls through again

Portland Tribune

An unsolicted offer to buy Multnomah County’s unopened Wapato Jail has fallen through for the second time in a year.  According to Multnomah County, Pacific Development Partners made an unsolicited $10 million cash offer for the North Portland jail in May. The company had 90 days to perform due diligence.

 

‘Me too’ status unites victims of sexual harassment, assault

Register-Guard

Kelli Matthews, a professor of public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and a local social media guru, said the “Me too” movement provides a way for people to show solidarity and find community. “It’s a low-risk way for people to say, ‘This also happened to me, and I understand what you’re going through, and I know you understand what I’m going through,’  ” she said. “It’s also a way for women to show the community and show ­solidarity without having to share details or ­stories unless they wanted to. That’s powerful.”

 

OPINION

 

Guest: Legislator provides the correct formula for petition numbers

Representative Julie Parrish

Solving for X requires the right formula. How do you educate and inspire 84,367 Oregonians to sign a petition in 90 days? You start by giving over a half-million voters your personal phone number. You mail it to their homes, let newspapers print it and give it out live over the airwaves. And you tell people to call you… and they did.

 

Guest: Future brighter without big college debt

Democrat Suzanne Bonamici represents Oregon’s 1st Congressional District

Higher education is one of the smartest investments we can make. Study after study shows that a good college education translates to higher pay for families, a stronger economy, and a more enlightened public.

 

Guest: Protect health care for working Oregonians

Janet Bauer is a policy analyst with the Oregon Center for Public Policy

The campaign to defeat Ballot Measure 101 aims to torpedo one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of the 2017 legislative session — the enactment of a financing package to protect Oregonians’ health care. A “no vote” in January would overturn the package. That would leave the state’s Medicaid program in shambles and raise costs for people who purchase their own health insurance.

 

Guest: Add talented and gifted programs instead of subtracting

Scholle McFarland is chair of Portland Public Schools’ parent TAG Advisory Council

The proposal also unexpectedly framed the discussion as either we have talented and gifted services or we have Access Academy. This was surprising because both were included in the strategic plan that the district’s talented-and-gifted department presented last spring. All talented and gifted students in the district have a right to services, but they don’t all need the same ones.

 

 

Update from Rep. Greg Walden

News from Representative Walden
The month of October kicked off with a busy start in the House of Representatives. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I held a hearing to get the facts on the Equifax data breach that compromised the personal data of over 145 million Americans, including over 1.7 million Oregonians. Our Committee also held a hearing to examine the air quality impacts of catastrophic wildfires, and how better forest management can prevent smoke choking our skies each summer. This hearing came as I joined my colleagues on the Western Caucus in a call to action to fix our broken federal forest policy.

I also held several meetings in southern and central Oregon to find solutions to help combat the opioid epidemic in our state, and discuss the need to improve forest management to help prevent devastating fires. The Bend Band of Brothers invited me to join them at Jake’s Diner for their weekly meeting. These meetings help me update my “to-do” list and I look forward to taking these conversations back to Washington, D.C.

And yesterday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman, Rep. Phil Roe, and I met with veterans from around the district in Medford where I arranged a briefing and tour of veterans housing, and the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics (SORCC) in White City.

I hope you’ll continue reading to learn more about my recent work as your representative in the House, and my meetings with Oregonians on the ground tackling the big issues facing our communities.

Getting to the bottom of the Equifax data breach


Click here or on the image above to view my remarks from the Equifax hearing

The Energy and Commerce Committee — where I serve as Chairman — held a hearing to get answers for consumers on the Equifax data breach. During the hearing, I pressed former Equifax Chairman and CEO Richard Smith on the unprecedented cybersecurity hack that compromised the personal information of over 145 million Americans, including over 1.7 million Oregonians.

First and foremost, I asked the former CEO: how could a major American company like Equifax, which holds the most sensitive and personal data on Americans, so let them down? A key finding from our hearing was that human error led to this massive breach — apparently one person at Equifax did not notify others that their system had been compromised.

As I said at the hearing, you cannot fix stupid. However we can sure hold those accountable for putting your personal information at risk and that is what we intend to do at the Energy and Commerce Committee. To watch the full Equifax hearing, please click HERE.

Protecting our air quality and health from catastrophic fires

Click here or on the image above to view my remarks at the air quality hearing

Oregon’s skies were once again filled with smoke and ash this summer. I called for a hearing at the Energy and Commerce Committee to examine the air quality, environmental, and health impacts of wildfire smoke.

During the hearing, we heard testimony from expert witnesses on the environmental impacts of wildfires that pour carbon into the atmosphere each year. As recent Forest Service studies have shown, young growing forests absorb more carbon, while dead trees, along with fire, are carbon emitters. Active forest management that thins our forests, and cleans up and replants after wildfire are important components to reducing fire risk and air quality impacts.

Among the witnesses was Dr. John Bailey of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, who told me how out of balance some forest landscapes have become. In some cases, the forest landscapes that would have historically have had 20 trees to an acre, now are so overgrown they have 1,000 or more trees per acre. That unnatural density of trees is merely built up fuel for future fires.  We must give our forest managers the tools they need to actively manage our forests to reduce these fuel loads and to cut the burned dead trees after a fire and use the proceeds to replant a new forest for the next generation.. For more information on the air quality hearing, please click HERE.

A call to action on forest management reform

Click here or on the image above to view my speech on the floor of the U.S. House

Click here or on the image above to view my remarks at the Resilient Federal Forests Act press conference.

Click here or on the image above to view my Western Caucus weekly Address on the need for forest management reform

Continuing our efforts to push for forest management reform, my colleagues and I in the Western Caucus came together recently to call for Congressional action to fix broken federal forest policy. From Oregon to Wyoming, our communities across the West face a similar situation each summer when devastating fires destroy our lands and fill our air with smoke.

I participated in this call to action by speaking on the House floor and joining my colleagues for a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on the need to pass the Resilient Federal Forests Act. I also gave the Western Caucus Weekly Address. During these events, I shared stories and personal pictures from Oregonians about how this year’s fire season has impacted their lives and their communities, and why we can wait no longer to pass meaningful reforms to the way our forests are managed. For more information on our call to action last week, please click HERE.

Touring the Milli Fire

Click here or on the image above to watch News Channel 21’s coverage of the Milli fire tour

After our call to action on forest management reform in the nation’s capital, I headed home to see the effects on the ground of the Milli fire in central Oregon. I met with Forest Service officials about the fire’s impact to the region — especially the town of Sisters — and the need for prompt restoration of the forest.

The Milli fire burned over 24,000 acres in Oregon, and caused terrible air quality in Sisters for nearly three straight weeks in September. Seeing the charred forest firsthand was a powerful reminder about that we need to do more to restore and replant our forests as soon as possible. Legislation I helped craft — the Resilient Federal Forests Act — will allow for active management to help protect and restore forests while also helping Oregon’s economy and job creation. You can read more about this legislation here: https://naturalresources.house.gov/hr2647/

For more information about my meeting in central Oregon to discuss forest management reform, please click HERE.

Combatting the opioid epidemic in Oregon

Meeting in Grants Pass (top photo) and Bend (bottom photo) to talk about how we can work together to combat the opioid epidemic in our communities. Thank you to everyone who participated in these roundtables for the great discussions.

I also held roundtable discussions with local leaders, law enforcement officials, and members of the medical community in Grants Pass and Bend to talk about how we can work together to combat the opioid epidemic in Oregon. We discussed best practices for prescribing pain medication, how to educate our communities about the risk of abuse, and ensuring law enforcement has the training and equipment like the anti-overdose drug, Naloxone, to respond to emergencies.

As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ve directed our team to put our resources toward combatting the epidemic that is plaguing our state and country. Last year in Oregon, more people died from drug overdoses than from car accidents. These roundtables gave me the opportunity to learn firsthand about what is working on the ground, and what more can be done, to prevent this crisis from continuing its carnage in Oregon.

To learn more about our work at the Energy and Commerce Committee to put an end to this epidemic, please click HERE.

Bend Band of Brothers

Click here or on the image above to view Central Oregon Daily’s coverage of my meeting with Bend Band of Brothers

One of the highest honors I have as your representative in Congress is meeting with those who’ve served our country like the veterans with Bend Band of Brothers. Recently, I met over 100 veterans at Jake’s Diner in Bend to discuss my work to improve the care they receive at the VA.

This summer, the House unanimously passed legislation I introduced to reduce wait times for Oregon veterans. The VA Medical Scribes Pilot Act would unburden VA doctors and improve care for veterans by bringing medical scribes into the VA system to handle paperwork and patient record keeping — allowing the doctor to focus their attention on the veteran. I’ve also introduced theDoctors for Veterans Act to help Oregon VA facilities recruit medical providers for veterans in rural and underserved areas.

Presenting Bob Maxwell — Bend resident and America’s oldest living Medal of Honor Recipient — with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.

During my meeting with Bend Band of Brothers, I had the privilege of presenting Bob Maxwell — a Bend resident and America’s oldest living Medal of Honor Recipient — with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor. According to his Medal of Honor citation, “Maxwell aggressively fought off advancing enemy elements and, by his calmness, tenacity, and fortitude, inspired his fellows to continue the unequal struggle. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown in the midst of his squad, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell unhesitatingly hurled himself squarely upon it, using his blanket and his unprotected body to absorb the full force of the explosion.”

Bob turns 97 this month and is a true national hero who represents the best of what Oregon has to offer — as do all veterans with Bend Band of Brothers and the over 80,000 throughout our state. It was an honor to present this hero with an American flag and official Congressional Record submitted in his honor.

That’s all for this update. If you or a loved one is having a problem with the VA or any other federal agency, you can call my office toll free from the 541 area code at 800-533-3303.  My staff and I will do everything we can to help your case.

Remember, you can always keep in touch with me via emailFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Best regards,

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


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