What They Are Saying: 2017 Legislative Session

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE  

 

LEADERSHIP

 

The Portland Tribune: there are far more agonizing defeats than thrilling victories to tally.” (Editorial: Keep bipartisan PERS bill on track, 7/4/2017)

 

Daily Astorian on Governor Brown: “…her lack of leadership was evident throughout the session.” (Daily Astorian: Legislators left Salem with unfinished business, 7/11/2017)

 

The Herald and News: House Republican Leader Mike McLane said he “believed the session was marked by a lack of leadership….He got it right. (Editorial: The Legislature: the good, the bad and the really ugly 7/11/2017)

 

Senate President Peter Courtney: “At best, our successes are tempered by disappointment.” (News Release: Senate President Peter Courtney’s Statements on the 2017 Session, 7/72017)

 

BUDGET

 

The Oregonian: Democrats “failed to find votes to reform Oregon’s tax system and make a serious dent in public pension costs, leaving the toughest decisions to future sessions.” (The Oregonian: Oregon lawmakers hail session of progressive wins, but big budget problems lurk ahead, 7/9/2017)

 

The Register-Guard: “The structural problem in Oregon’s public accounts can go on unaddressed in the two-year budget period that began July 1, but it can’t go on forever, with double-digit spending increases every two years. The Legislature let slip an opportunity to stop the unsustainable trend on its own terms.” (Editorial: Success and frustration, 7/11/2017)

 

The Oregonian: “Legislators were able to leave with a balanced budget, thanks to better than expected revenue, the controversial hospital and health-insurance tax and a host of Band-Aids. But their inaction on PERS, spending and revenue means those problems will continue to grow, unchecked.” (Editorial: Inching toward a win, 7/14/2017)

 

Bend Bulletin: “Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System was the focus of multiple bills this legislative session, but lawmakers failed to make meaningful progress on this critical issue, despite the system’s $22 billion unfunded liability. The tone was set from the top, with House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown saying early in the session that no viable methods existed to curb the crushing budgetary effects of the convoluted PERS system.” (Editorial: PERS demands visionary leadership, 7/12/2017)

 

Ashland Daily Tidings: “Two key factors lawmakers failed to address this year were the continued increase in Public Employee Retirement System premiums to meet the unfunded liability in the pension system, and health insurance costs for public employees that far outstrip anything most private-sector workers receive. If majority Democrats in the Legislature had taken the tough steps to address those and other costs, they might have attracted enough Republican support to restructure state taxes on corporations, raising more money for colleges and other needs.” (Editorial: Better, but not great, 7/18/2017)

 

EDUCATION

 

The Oregonian: “When students return to school this fall with fewer teachers, larger class sizes and shorter school years, they should write thank-you notes – on paper donated by parents, of course – to the three people responsible for such cuts: Gov. Kate Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek.” (Oregon needs leaders now – not in 2019, 6/23/2017)

 

Jim Green, Oregon School Boards Association Executive Director on K-12 Budget: “This budget, like this entire session, should be filed under ‘missing’ — for missing leadership that led to missed opportunity.” (The Oregonian: Lawmakers reluctantly pass $8.2 billion schools budget they say is not enough, 6/27/2017)

 

Ed Ray, Oregon State University President: “This has been a session of minimal progress, missed opportunities and unrealized potential.” (The Oregonian: Lawmakers back $100 million for Elliott State Forest, $50 million for UO campus, 7/3/2017)

 

The Oregonian: “Elected leaders have bemoaned the budget crisis that they faced this legislative session due in part to the new initiatives. But voters – who cast their ballots amid a sustained economic boom that continues to generate record amounts of tax revenue – aren’t to blame. The culprits have been legislators who ignored for years the question of how to pay for Medicaid expansion and who have refused to confront escalating pension and health benefits costs for public employees.” (Editorial: Legislators disregard voters’ will with insufficient education measure funding, 7/8/2017)

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

The Oregonian: “…House Republicans, with Bentz as their chief negotiator, were able to secure the low-carbon fuels deal. The agreement resulted in changes Republicans had sought when transportation negotiations sputtered in 2015.” (The Oregonian: Oregon lawmakers hail session of progressive wins, but big budget problems lurk ahead, 7/9/2017)

 

Ontario Argus Observer: “Lawmakers — chiefly Eastern Oregon lawmaker and Ontario Republican Cliff Bentz — put a lot of work into the plan and, instead of wasting time bickering about the proposal, decided to get something done.” (Ontario Argus Observer: Lawmakers deserve praise for transit bill, 7/7/2017)

 

The Mail Tribune: “Overall, the transportation package is the largest of its kind to pass in years, and it’s an example of how lawmaking is supposed to work: competing interests trade support for things they don’t like in exchange for things they do, some of the most controversial elements are removed along the way and everyone stays focused on the overall goal.” (Editorial: Transportation bill a major accomplishment, 7/13/2017)

 

OTHER

 

Bend Bulletin on Attempts to Manipulate the Ballot: It doesn’t matter if the culprits are Russians, Republicans or Democrats — meddling in Oregon elections is wrong. And there is meddling afoot. The culprits are Democrats in the Oregon Legislature. (Editorial: A new low for Oregon election manipulation, 7/4/2017)

 

The Register-Guard on Grand Bargain Rollback: Republicans felt betrayed, and for good reason: The bill to limit the tax break passed by a 31-28 vote, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting no. Democrats thereby reneged on the deal agreed to four years ago, making roadkill of the grand bargain. The vote also made roadkill of the three-fifths supermajority required for approval of tax increases…Even if Democrats are on solid legal ground, they appear to be committing the logical fallacy of ambiguity: A curbside sign that says ‘Fine for parking’ doesn’t mean it’s just fine and dandy to park there.” (Editorial: A sausage made of roadkill, 6/28/2017)

Bend Bulletin on Tax Bills Passing Without Supermajorities: Oregon lawmakers, at least some of them, came up with a nifty new trick this legislative session, one that may or may not pass constitutional muster. They’ve approved at least one bill, Senate Bill 28, which raises taxes without having to earn the three-fifths majority in both houses the state constitution requires, and they’ve been working on another…While the Legislature must balance the budget, tippy-toeing across the constitution is not the way to go about it.” (Editorial: Stop trying to fool Oregonians with tax increases, 6/25/2017)

 

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Click here to view this release online.

 

Oregon House Daily Clips

 

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

JULY 21, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

 

 

Sen. Johnson chides progressives on crime bills

The Daily Astorian

“What kind of world are we headed for when district attorneys are expected to act like defense attorneys?” Betsy Johnson said. “Who will stand up for victims? Not Jennifer Williamson and the Oregon Legislature.”

 

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

 

Under industry pressure, state regulators dilute Gov. Kate Brown’s clean air plan

The Oregonian

The latest move carries far more significance than the budget fight in Salem. This industry victory has been authored by a state agency that answers to the governor, an indicator that her commitment to her clean air overhaul may be wavering amid business opposition.

 

EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION

 

Oregon Promise applicants will learn in August if they qualify under new income requirement

The Oregonian

Thousands of students will learn next month whether they will receive Oregon Promise grants to help reduce the cost of tuition at community college this fall, but hundreds of applicants who would’ve qualified during the program’s first year will receive some bad news. The promise, a last-dollar scholarship program approved by lawmakers in 2015 to great acclaim nationally, is no longer available to any and all qualified Oregonians.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Oregon’s 2018 health insurance rates approved

Bend Bulletin

In releasing the final rates Thursday, insurance regulators with Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services said they serve as further evidence the state’s health insurance market is stabilizing, contrary to claims from President Trump and Republicans in Congress that it’s in a “death spiral.” The past two years have been tumultuous, with double-digit rate hikes and companies pulling out of rural counties or leaving the state’s market altogether. “We are seeing signs of stability,” said DCBS spokesman Jake Sunderland.

 

State hikes individual, business health premiums

Daily Astorian

On the individual market, the changes announced Thursday range from an average 1.6 percent dip for BridgeSpan Health Company to an average 14.8 percent increase for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest. For small businesses, the average changes range from increases of 3.3 to 10.1 percent.

 

Mullins: health care tax could have ‘damaging effects’

Democrat-herald

Larry Mullins, Samaritan’s president and CEO, said tax changes and a capping of state reimbursement for current and retired employees medical care could cost Samaritan as much as $24 million annually. “We are looking at cutting programs, especially those that might not be profitable,” Mullins said. “We have always known that alcohol and drug rehabilitation would not be profitable, but we believe it is needed in our communities. We are still prepared to move forward with it, but we need more solid information at this time.” “This Legislative session has really created some challenges for hospitals,” Mullins said.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Interstate tolls looming for metro area

Portland Tribune

Motorists will face the possibility of tolls on Interstates 5 and 205 in the metropolitan area, but not until 2019 after a study is completed — and only if the Federal Highway Administration says yes.

 

AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

 

Washington to kill members of wolf pack that fed on cattle

The Associated Press

“The purpose of this action is to change the pack’s behavior,” said Donny Martorello, a wolf manager for the agency. “That means incrementally removing wolves and assessing the results before taking any further action.”

 

HEMP

 

Growing green: Wholly Hemp Farm brings the hemp industry to Klamath

Herald and News

Looking over their field of 5,000 thriving hemp plants, Marianne and Marvin Yong, the owners of Wholly Hemp Farm, said their mission is to educate the Klamath Falls community about the industrial plant’s potential, ranging from textiles to building material to medicine. “It got kind of lumped in with its crazy, wild sister marijuana,” said Marianne Yong. “That’s what I tell people: Hemp is the boring, smarter cousin of the cannabis family. But it’s really exciting stuff, and really, the potential is limitless at this point.”

 

IMMIGRATION

 

Oregon legislators push to allow police to enforce immigration laws

Statesman Journal

Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, and Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Pendleton, certified a ballot title with the Elections Division for Initiative Petition 2018-022, which is proposed for the November 6, 2018 General Election. The trio is hoping voters will support repealing Oregon Statute 181.850, which states law enforcement agencies may not use agency money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people who are only violating federal immigration laws by being foreign citizens in the United States.

 

OREGON WILDFIRES

 

Agencies investigate if military training caused Oregon wildfires

The Associated Press

Federal and state agencies are investigating whether there was a link between a series of wildfires in Southeastern Oregon and military training exercises. Officials believe the seven small fires that ignited on July 11 could have been connected because they were all attributed to human activity, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

 

OTHER STORIES

 

Advocacy Group, Oregon Republican Feud Over Health Care Town Hall

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Republican Rep. Julie Parrish alleges an advocacy group has “taken extreme liberties” in her district to schedule a “fake” town hall purportedly in her name. Our Oregon, the advocacy group organizing the town hall in West Linn for Aug. 1, says they never told people Parrish would attend the town hall. Instead, they say, she was invited to attend and discuss health care issues with her constituents. The group says Parrish declined that invitation. Parrish went on to refer to Our Oregon as “political operatives with a political agenda.” “They’ve perpetrated this ploy not just in my district, but in several others as well,” she wrote.

 

OPINION

Editorial: Keep groceries tax free

Bend Bulletin

A gross receipts tax is flawed for a number of reasons. For instance, it taxes businesses even if they don’t make a profit. It’s wrong to tax necessities like food and health care. Proposals in Oregon have aimed to do both. The Democrats who control Oregon government proved this past legislative session that they are not very thoughtful about controlling government spending and are very eager to increase government taxes. Oregonians should send them a message that food should not be taxed.

 

Editorial: Renters’ bill is blocked in Legislature

Democrat-herald

Matthew Desmond’s powerful (and remarkably even-handed) book “Evicted” makes a compelling case that a stable residence is an essential part of helping people out of poverty. Working toward a compromise on no-cause evictions could benefit not just tenants and landlords but all Oregonians.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Sean Spicer Resigns As White House Press Secretary

The Associated Press

Spicer’s decision appears linked to the appointment of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci. The people with knowledge of the decision spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter publicly.

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces Crackdown on Dark Web Marketplace Implicated in Portland Overdose Death

Willamette Week

Today in a speech, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that law enforcement agencies from across the globe earlier this month shut down AlphaBay, the largest marketplace for illicit substance and services on the dark web.

 

US to ban Americans from traveling to North Korea

The Associated Press

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had decided to impose “geographical travel restriction” for North Korea, the officials said, which would make it illegal to use U.S. passports to enter the country. They said the restriction would be published in the Federal Register next week and will take effect 30 days after that.

 

 

Is there any good news out there?

As a matter of fact…there is!  Here are a few news items you won’t see or hear on the drive-by, lame-stream, fake news, media outlets:

 

Americans’ Average Credit Scores Reach All-Time High http://www.breitbart.com/economics/2017/07/10/americans-average-credit-scores-reach-time-high/

 

VA Fires More Than 500 Employees, Suspends 200 for Misconduct http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/10/va-trump-admin-fires-500-employees-suspends-200-misconduct/

 

Illegal Aliens Self-deporting http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/07/11/illegal-aliens-self-deporting-amid-stricter-enforcement-says-report/

 

RNC Breaks Another Fundraising Record http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/20/rnc-breaks-another-fundraising-record-raises-record-13-4-million-in-june/

 

Carry Permits Up…Violent Crime Down http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/20/study-concealed-carry-see-record-surge-led-women-blacks/

 

Number of Americans Filing for Unemployment Declines http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/14/number-of-americans-filing-for-unemployment-benefits-on-the-decline/

 

More Christian Refugees Arriving than Muslims http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/07/13/christian-refugees-arriving-trump-muslims/

 

U.S. Closer to 12-Carrier Navy Goal http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/11/trump-closer-12-carrier-navy-goal-uss-gerald-ford/

 

Coast Guard repatriates 102 Haitian migrants found at sea http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/07/13/coast-guard-repatriates-121-haitian-migrants-found-at-sea.html

 

Feds Pounce on Gun, Drug Trafficking Ring http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/13/feds-charge-mexican-guatemalan-citizens-illegal-gun-sales-georgia/

 

Feds Seize 88 Pounds of Heroin http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/07/11/feds-seize-88-pounds-heroin-detroit-condo/

 

ICE to Hire Thousands More Agents to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2017/07/19/ice-to-hire-10000-more-agents-many-to-be-deployed-to-sanctuary-cities-n2357206

 

USA! USA! USA!

Americans for Liberty PAC
A Political Action Committee for Conservatives who uphold the US Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers
Lanny Hildebrandt MBA CPA
1615 4th Street
La Grande OR  97850
(541) 963-7930
Fax (541) 963-7750
Email hilde@eoni.com

 

Oregon House Daily Clips

 

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

JULY 19, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

 

CORPORATE TAXES

 

Oregon Measure Seeks To Head Off Corporate Tax On Grocery Sales

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The new measure is financed by the Northwest Grocery Association, which launched a website promoting the “Yes! Let’s Keep Our Groceries Tax Free” initiative. Joe Gilliam, the association’s president, said his group wanted to make it clear how far it’s willing to go to avoid a tax on corporate sales.= “We’ve got to shift the Legislature off the discussion that the gross receipts tax is the answer,” said Gilliam.  He argued that grocers operate on a low margin and that such a tax would lead to higher prices.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

What is “The Oregon Study?” And How Did We End Up Getting Used to Justify Scrapping Public Insurance?

Willamette Week

It’s possible that medical care in general may be overrated. Still, Medicaid foes seem unwilling to expand their money-saving ideas to their logical end by letting employer-insured conservative pundits join the lucky poor in being spared the indignity of unhelpful, non-life-prolonging health insurance. Go figure.

 

Lori Conyer Out as Oregon Medicaid Director

The Lund Report

Conyer left voluntarily, the Oregon Health Authority says. Her departure after a year and a half in the job follows heavy criticism of the state’s Medicaid re-enrollment process.

 

ABORTION

 

Video: New Oregon bill requires insurers to cover abortions

Fox News

 

Video: Oregon governor expected to sign abortion funding bill

Fox News

 

AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

 

OSU research, extension to lose 17 positions

Capital Press

The equivalent of 17 positions must be cut due to the funding gap, but the university doesn’t expect to lay off researchers or extension agents. Rather, positions will be left vacant as people retire or change jobs, said Dan Arp, dean of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

“We will be able to manage this with the normal attrition,” Arp said.

 

JOBS & ECONOMY

 

Oregon Is Adding Jobs, Experiencing A Tight Labor Market

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon saw its largest job gains in June 2017 since February 2016. State employment economist Nick Beleiciks said employers are hiring in a variety of sectors. “Oregon’s adding a lot of jobs really fast,” Beleiciks said. “We added 8,500 jobs in June, and it was seen across a lot of different types of industries.”

 

Microsoft’s Wilsonville jobs are going to China, underscoring travails of domestic tech manufacturing

The Oregonian

But last week Microsoft summoned its Wilsonville employees to an early-morning meeting and announced it will close the factory and lay off 124 employees – nearly everyone at the site – plus dozens of contract workers.

 

A $64M facility opens, and creates 69 jobs, in Scappoose

Portland Business Journal

The strategy was partially backed by a $500,000 investment from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund. Cascades also collected $60,000 to renovate its St. Helens plant in 2014. “Oregon is proud to make investments into businesses that show promise to create local jobs, generate sustainable growth, and act as catalysts for future economic development in the region,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, in a release.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Area roads get $1.5 million in state funding

Argus Observer

For counties, $5 million per year will be moved from the state’s most populous counties to the rest of counties, based on a ratio of road miles to population, Bentz said. “This allocation will result in significant increases in road funds available to Baker, Grant, Harney, Lake and Malheur counties,” he said. “It’s great,” County Commissioner Don Hodge said, of the additional funds. “Our roads are atrocious. We need repairs,” he said. “I’m for the transportation package.”

 

Gorsek snags transportation dollars for Troutdale

Portland Tribune

Gorsek added a $3-million rider to a transportation package that’s worth roughly $5.3 billion. The bill still awaits the signature of Gov. Kate Brown. “We made sure that access to our East County industrial area was made a specific item in the transportation package to stregthen thriving businesses and attract new investment,” Rep. Gorsek said in a text message.

 

MARIJUANA

 

New state laws designed to protect against federal crackdown on marijuana

Portland Tribune

“Changes seem to be occurring on a daily if not an hourly basis on the federal side, and I personally am very concerned that we give as much protection to Oregon citizens to ensure their personal identification information isn’t compromised through some kind of federal subpoena or some other act that a business is not going to have the fortitude or maybe the legal basis that the state would have to fight those type of requests,” said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, a chief sponsor of Senate Bill 863.

 

ELECTIONS

 

America’s Most and Least Popular Governors — July 2017

Morning Consult

Others who saw among the steepest drops in net approval included Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), who dropped 9 net points, Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) — who has also expressed concerns about the Obamacare repeal effort in Washington — lost 14 net points, and Govs. Kate Brown (D-Ore.), Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) and Greg Abbott (R-Texas) — who each lost 7 net points on their ratings.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Stop deny and delay approach to PERS

Bend Bulletin

The PERS board should adopt an assumed rate of return that is not born of myth. And then state leaders should confront that reality with the PERS reforms suggested by state Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and others.

 

Guest: We must get off the political treadmill and find solutions for Oregon

Sam Tannahill is chairman of Oregon Business & Industry

By the end of the 2017 session, tensions were high and nerves were frayed. That’s to be expected. Developing effective public policy is difficult, and compromise can be painful. But nothing is as painful as failure. Oregon cannot reach its potential without a healthy business community that generates the jobs and revenue needed to preserve our unique quality of life. And OBI is committed to doing the hard work necessary to get it right.

 

Guest: House District 22 representative reflects on successes of recent session

Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, D-Woodburn

Finally, I’m proud to say that House Bill 3464, which I co-sponsored with Rep. Diego Hernandez, Governor Kate Brown, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and others, passed through both the House and Senate and is on its way to being signed by the governor. This bill will give school districts and state agencies the clarification they need in dealing with federal authorities, particularly on immigration enforcement. This bill will help protect Oregonians’ privacy in the face of overreach by the federal government. It was an honor serving this district through my first legislative session. Your calls, emails and letters throughout the session were invaluable to my decision-making process, and I look forward to continuing to hear from all of you about your priorities.

 

Editorial: City leaders must keep their police-accountability promise: Editorial Agenda 2017

The Oregonian

Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill may be 100 percent correct in concluding that a police accountability measure negotiated by the city last year could jeopardize the ability to prosecute police officers who shoot someone. He may be appropriately cautious in advising that internal-affairs investigators hold off on interviewing officers who use deadly force until criminal investigators and a grand jury weigh possible charges in the shooting first.

 

Editorial: Hurting the hungry

The Register-Guard

Oregon would be particularly hurt by cuts in SNAP funding, for two reasons. First, it is one of 14 states that have a higher level of food insecurity than the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Second, anybody who has followed the state’s budgeting process is painfully aware that Oregon cannot replace the proposed cut in federal spending with its own money.

 

Guest: Change to popular vote wouldn’t benefit Oregon

R.J. Jaffe is co-founder of Protect Your Vote USA

Even the supporters of a national popular vote do not believe this is beneficial to Oregon. If they did they would propose national popular vote legislation without the compact, making this change because it is the best way for Oregon. As supporters of the U.S. Constitution, we believe that if the issue requires further debate it must happen in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment. In doing so, all 50 states would be able to deliberate on the issue in a truly public forum with a fair and binding decision made — as intended by our Founding Fathers.

 

Guest: Brown not fighting for protections ensured by Endangered Species Act

Noah Greenwald is endangered species program director with the Center for Biological Diversity in Portland.

In short, adoption of the WGA’s proposals would be a deathblow to endangered species. Gov. Kate Brown must stand up for endangered wildlife in Oregon before special-interest groups drive these animals over the edge.