December 20, 2018 Daily Clips

Subject: December 20, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES

Editorial: Stop concealing legislative accountability

The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board

New bills are being considered for the January legislative session, and it’s the same old story. Oregon legislators have found they can get away with introducing bills without attaching legislators’ names to them. And that’s exactly what they are doing. There are even big tax changes up for consideration, and legislators are introducing them without clear accountability.

Legislators are hiding who is behind the effort to swipe money from taxpayers by trying to bring an end to the kicker tax rebate. There is nobody’s name attached to the bill. Legislators are hiding who is behind a proposed change in how property tax is calculated, driving it up. Nobody’s name is attached to the bill. Legislators are hiding who is behind a proposed increase in the corporate minimum tax. Nobody’s name is attached to the bill. There are many more tax changes, but you get the idea. It’s like Oregon legislators have adopted the omerta as the way to do the public’s business. It’s not for your benefit. It’s for the benefit of legislators. If nobody can be held accountable for a bill, voters don’t know who to vote for or against. That’s nonsense. If legislators wanted to insist on accountability, they could easily forbid any bill or legislative concept from being considered unless a legislator or group of legislators clearly put their name on it. State Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, led an effort to end the practice. Democrats rejected it. Politicians and state officials complain about lack of trust in government. Nothing corrodes public trust like efforts by legislators to conceal accountability.

Democrats To Hold First Presidential Debate In June, Just 6 Months From Now

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Strap in, the 2020 presidential campaign is about to start in earnest. The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that it will hold its first sanctioned debate in June 2019. There will be 12 Democratic primary debates, one a month from then on, skipping August 2019.

Auditors: State’s smart shopping could save millions

Portland Tribune

State officials could have saved up to $1.6 billion during a two-year period by being smarter shoppers, according to a state audit released Wednesday, Dec. 19. But, auditors said, old technology and outdated practices largely prevent the state from digging into whether it is spending each dollar of taxpayer money wisely. Auditors looked at all information technology purchases in 2016 and 2017 by 10 state agencies whose buying is subject to oversight from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. They found the state bought 1,300 24-inch Dell monitors for prices ranging from $176.40 to $241.15 and could have saved over $16,500 by always paying the lowest price. In another example, the state paid 131 different prices for the same surge protector, ranging from $65.90 to $173.98. While focusing on technology, the auditors used their findings and other research to conclude that Oregon could have trimmed up to 20 percent of $8 billion in state government purchases in the 2015-17 budget. The Administrative Services Department has “price agreements” with vendors to set prices for good bought by the state. The state encourages agencies to negotiate for lower prices. But auditors found that state buyers use multiple systems to track spending and don’t follow consistent buying practices. Some state agencies monitor spending in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Only two state agencies regularly analyze individual purchases, auditors found. “Without the ability to analyze detailed purchase data for all procurements, Oregon is unable to identify opportunities for potentially millions of dollars in cost savings,” auditors wrote.

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Oregon Likely To Gain Congressional Seat, Population Forecasts Confirm

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon is still on track to gain a sixth seat in the U.S. House, according to elections experts studying new Census Bureau population estimates released Wednesday. Kimball Brace of Election Data Services in Virginia said he projects that Oregon should gain another seat with about 140,000 people to spare. That’s relatively close, but not as close to the margin as it is for some states. “There are still some potential changes coming that could impact Oregon,” he said. These include population changes caused by a disaster or an economic shock — or big differences in what the Census Bureau turns up when it attempts to count the entire population in 2020.

In Cancer Fight, Dennis Richardson Walks Line Between Private Battle And Public Interest

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Two months ago, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced he would no longer be doing a central part of his job. While undergoing treatment for what he’s called a small, cancerous brain tumor, Richardson revealed on Oct. 15 that he planned to stop attending meetings of the Oregon State Land Board. A deputy would attend in his place, he said, voting alongside Gov. Kate Brown and state Treasurer Tobias Read on matters concerning state-owned land. The decision didn’t fly. After receiving legal advice from the Oregon Department of Justice, Richardson walked back the change on Dec. 17. When the Land Board met the following day, he participated. The change was minor, but in a Capitol that for months has speculated on how cancer might be affecting Richardson’s abilities, his reluctance to attend the Land Board meetings is notable. It also raises a delicate question: How should elected officials facing serious health challenges balance their right to privacy with being candid with a public that has a stake in their success? “Your decision about your condition is your business,” said former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, speaking generally and not specifically about Richardson. “But the public clearly has a right to know that you are performing the job of secretary of state effectively.”

Oregon’s gigabit tax break faces fresh repeal effort

Oregonian/OregonLive

Oregon lawmakers will try again to repeal the state’s gigabit tax break, a four-year-old incentive now widely considered a mistake by members of both parties. Legislators unanimously created the tax break in 2015 in hopes of luring Google Fiber to bring its super-fast internet service to Portland. When Google jilted Portland a year later, Comcast and Frontier Communications moved to capitalize and claim the tax savings for themselves. Efforts to repeal the tax break stalled at the finish line during the short legislative session last winter, but lawmakers think they have a better shot this time out. “I feel like our chances of passing this are a lot, lot better,” said Rob Nosse, D-Portland, who has filed one of two bills for the 2019 session to repeal the tax break. “I feel like my peers understand and know it’s not necessary.”

Gov. Brown proposes $7.5 mil. fix for Willamette Falls locks

KATU

Governor Kate Brown is looking at potentially reopening the Willamette Falls locks, which would let boats travel beyond the falls. In her 2019 proposed budget, $7.5 million is set aside to help repair the locks, which were shut down in 2011. The money comes from federal sources along with the Oregon Lottery. The locks are 145 years old and they were closed down after they fell into disrepair.

ENVIRONMENT

How Thick Forests Can Reduce Snowpack

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Trees have dark canopies extending to the sky, absorbing sunlight like they’re supposed to. All that energy from the sun warms the trees, which, in turn, melts the snow near their trunks. Trees also prevent precipitation from ever reaching the ground. Snow gets caught in the upper canopy, where it’s exposed to the sun and the wind. It evaporates before it can become part of the snowpack. To examine the ways forest cover affects total precipitation, Nolin focused on one ecosystem: the Detroit Reservoir on the North Santiam River. Climate change has already dramatically altered the Santiam Watershed. “We don’t have to look to the future to see declining snowpacks; we can see it in our own backyard,” Nolin said.

LOCAL

Portland taking over homeless camp cleanups for ODOT

Oregonian/OregonLive

Residents were baffled over whom to contact about trash, needles and other issues they saw along multi-use paths and sidewalks that run along highways. The city had no jurisdiction to clean up homeless camps, and the Oregon Department of Transportation was hard to get ahold of and slow to act, residents complained. Meanwhile, homeless people who wanted an out-of-the-way spot to stay for a few nights said that they were never referred to social services and often didn’t know whose cleanup schedule they would be rousted by. After more than two years of frustration from people who live in houses and in tents along interstate corridors, the city of Portland will take over campsite cleanup duties from the state transportation department.

Portland Mayor: Homelessness can be fixed

Portland Tribune

Mayor Ted Wheeler assembled an arsenal of statistics showing progress to place more Portlanders in government-supported affordable housing units during his year-end news conference at City Hall. At the top of his list: Some 1,800 people will ring in the New Year under the roof of one of 800 units of affordable housing orchestrated by city officials this year. The city hopes to create another 1,000 units in 2019. Flanked by Housing Bureau director Shannon Callahan and the Joint Office of Homeless Services’ Marc Jolin, the mayor told reporters he believes homelessness is not a perpetual problem in society and that a solution can be achieved. “On the sticks and bricks side, we know we have the resources for at least the next year and beyond,” he said Friday, Dec. 14. “The real question is how do we work collectively.”

OPINION

Editorial: Public should push for auditors

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Internal auditors are agency employees whose work helps assure the public that money is being spent wisely. They may track cellphone billing information, as auditors with the state Department of Corrections did earlier this year, according to the Portland Tribune. In that case, auditors found no one informed the agency’s cell service provider when people left the agency and the agency was no longer responsible for their cellphone bills. The lapse, they said, had cost the agency $41,466 over the previous five years. Internal auditors do more than just uncover wasteful spending. They can also see that agencies are complying with the rules and laws that govern them. They are a bulwark against fraud, mismanagement and other problems that cost the state, and ultimately the taxpayers, money. Oregon law requires large state agencies to have internal auditors, though more than a dozen do not. Lawmakers can change that when they meet in 2019, and they should.

Our Opinion: Keep city in terrorism task force

Portland Tribune Editorial Board

Incoming city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty wants to pull Portland out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. We respectfully disagree. But even more to the point, we wonder why this issue should rise to the top of Portland’s to-do list as a new City Council prepares to take office in 2019. Following the November election, the balance of power on the City Council will shift to the left, as Hardesty replaces longtime Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Hardesty made the terrorism task force a campaign issue in the fall, saying she wanted to get the city out of the cooperative arrangement because it could conflict with Portland’s status as a sanctuary city for immigrants. Hardesty’s concern about immigration enforcement was answered well by FBI Special Agent In Charge Renn Cannon during a recent interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting. Cannon pointed out that the JTTF doesn’t enforce immigration laws unless there is a potential terrorism connection. “If somebody asks me, can you guarantee the JTTF will never be involved in an immigration arrest, no I can’t guarantee that,” Cannon told OPB Radio. “What I can tell you is it’s exceedingly rare here in Oregon. And what I can also say is: I can guarantee that the Portland police on the JTTF are not involved in immigration enforcement.” Given these assurances, which have been echoed by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, we see no conflict between JTTF participation and state and city policies regarding treatment of immigrants. The city has been in and out of the JTTF over the past two decades, with little visible effect on everyday life in Portland.

Opinion: School resource officers will help Portland schools, students

Oregonian/OregonLive

As the former interim director of security at Portland Public Schools this year, I saw firsthand the courage, commitment and dedication of our school resource officers. I have also seen the amazing courage, dedication and commitment of school staff, vice principals, security personnel and principals who stand in the face of threats to their school communities every day when resource officers aren’t there. The agreement between Portland Public Schools and the City of Portland is a much-needed investment in safety and security, and in the relationship between police and the community.

Readers respond: Police undermine educational mission

Oregonian/OregonLive

The Portland School Board should rethink its decision to pay for police officers in schools. Our experience, borne out by studies, is that police are deployed in schools in haphazard ways, rarely receive appropriate training in education law, adolescent psychology, or de-escalation strategies, and respond in ways that undermine the educational mission of a school. Parents are not made aware of what behaviors can put their children in legal jeopardy. Moreover, there is very little evidence that putting more police in schools actually makes them safer.

December 17, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES

PERS Q&A: How a serial killer kept receiving $3,600 a month from Oregon PERS in prison

Oregonian/OregonLive

How was John Ackroyd, a longtime state highway mechanic who is linked to four killings and one rape near Highway 20, allowed to collect a public employee pension even while in prison for aggravated murder? Ackroyd had worked as a state employee from Jan. 13, 1978 through July 31, 1992, when he was fired by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The agency terminated him after he was indicted on murder charges. Ackroyd had worked as a mechanic for the agency’s Highway Division. While incarcerated, he continued to collect an annual $43,488 pension from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System. The state pays pension benefits to anyone who has applied for them and qualifies, said Marjorie Taylor, senior policy director for PERS. That goes for convicted murderers serving life in prison because criminal convictions don’t affect a retirees’ eligibility. “He was due a benefit, he earned a benefit and we had to pay it,” Taylor said.

Here’s What Would Happen If The Government Shuts Down This Week

Oregon Public Broadcasting

For the National Park Service and many other agencies, funding runs out at midnight Dec. 21. And while the 75 percent of the government whose budget bills are already approved will be unaffected, the remaining 25 percent include some high-profile agencies and departments. Among them: Homeland Security, Transportation, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Justice. Independent agencies, including NASA, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency will also be closed. The FDA “does routine, unannounced inspections,” Food Safety News wrote in January. “During these partial government shutdowns, FDA likely ceases routine checks while using its ‘essential’ personnel on problems that arise.” But within those agencies, some 420,000 employees are “excepted” in government parlance from furloughs, that is, they are considered essential, and will be on the job, but they won’t be getting paychecks. They include law-enforcement officers at the: FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration.

Senator’s anonymous delivery under doors triggers Capitol worries

Salem Reporter

A state senator caught on tape slipping anonymous packets under the doors of at least seven other senators last month has been warned his conduct could be considered workplace harassment. The letter’s public disclosure is the latest in a series of actions by Boquist that have raised eyebrows and prompted concern at the Capitol. Boquist’s conduct recently drew a written warning from the Legislature’s top in-house lawyer, Dexter Johnson. “I strongly urge you to be mindful your actions and the appearance of your actions so that concerns about workplace harassment are not raised again,” Johnson, the legislative counsel, wrote in a “memo of concern” dated Dec. 5. Such communications are typically confidential, but Boquist himself disclosed the memo Friday by distributing it to senators and having it posted on a legislative website.

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Oregon lawmakers will weigh DNA testing for exoneration

Statesman Journal

The Innocence Project is working on legislation that has the goal of making it easier for people to get DNA testing after a conviction to prove their innocence usually when they’re serving life or lengthy sentences for murder and rape. The legislation also would overcome roadblocks that can prevent DNA evidence from being uploaded into the national database to check for matches. If passed, the changes could end Oregon’s distinction as one of only 13 states with no convicts who have been exonerated with DNA evidence. “We always say DNA’s the gold standard of evidence,” said Michelle Feldman, a legislative strategist with the Innocence Project. “DNA can reveal the truth. It’s so important that wrongfully convicted people can access that evidence.”

Will 2019 be the year Oregon gets climate change bill to finish line?

Oregonian/OregonLive

If Oregon lawmakers are going to pass legislation to address climate change, 2019 could very well be their year. Such legislation has been floating around the capitol in one form or another for a decade. But it remains deeply controversial because of its complexity, its potential cost to consumers and businesses, and ongoing questions over what works. Contrary to past efforts, however, most of the forces in Salem are now pulling in the same direction.

FIREARMS

Family Members of Clackamas Town Center Shooting Victims Back Oregon Legislation to Require Safe Gun Storage

Willamette Week

On Dec. 11, family members of the victims joined Oregon lawmakers and State of Safety Action, a new Oregon nonprofit advocating for improved gun safety, to back state legislation that would institute storage requirements for firearms. Named for the victims, the Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act would enact fines for gun owners who do not properly store firearms, secure firearms during transport, or report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours of discovery. Gun owners who leave their firearms unsecured would also be financially liable for damages resulting from another person using the firearms.

Substance Or Symbolism: The Wave Of State Bump Stock Bans In 2018

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“We legislate things all the time as a society to say this is wrong,” Stein said. “This is not acceptable, and I think in this case, this is one of those areas where we were saying there was no legitimate purpose for a bump stock.” “It’s not used for hunting. It’s not used for target practice. It’s not used for self-defense. It’s not used for home defense. We don’t need them on the other side. It was responsible for killing 58 people — let’s not have these.”

HIGHER EDUCATION

Free college is now a reality in nearly 20 states

CNBC

In the state-based programs already in place, students receive a scholarship for the amount of tuition that is not covered by existing state or federal aid. Most, like Tennessee, are “last-dollar” scholarships, meaning the program pays for whatever tuition and fees are left after financial aid and other grants are applied. Based on the early evidence, “we’ve seen access increasing,” said Sara Goldrick Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University. “It’s absolutely a good start.”

PUBLIC HEALTH

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden Wants the FCC to Facilitate Emergency Number for Callers Considering Suicide

Willamette Week

Oregon’s suicide rate is regularly above the national average. After consulting with Dwight Holton, the CEO of Lines for Life, a Portland nonprofit that works on suicide prevention, Wyden today approached the Federal Communications Commission with an ask: Let’s treat suicide like the public health emergency it clearly is. “I believe that a 3-digit code number, similar to 9-1-1 for emergencies, would most easily come to mind for those in need of intervention services,” Wyden wrote. “A new designated 3 digit code, such as 6-1-1, which has been recommended by my friends from Oregon Lines for Life, would be best because we need a dedicated hotline for only this issue.”

Doctors explore link between childhood infections, mental illness

The Bend Bulletin

Evidence is mounting to support the idea that common childhood infections such as strep can trigger an immune response attacking the brain, causing the abrupt onset of behavioral changes or mental illness. Known as pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, or PANS, it is a scenario that could be affecting as many as one out of every 200 children. Yet, few doctors recognize the condition or know how to treat it. Some deny the condition even exists. That’s left the parents of the affected children to push for greater recognition, advocate for laws to require insurance coverage and trade information about which doctors will help them diagnose and treat it.

AGRICULTURE

Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025

Statesman Journal

Drive almost anywhere in the Willamette Valley and you’ll pass hazelnut orchards. Laser-perfect rows fill the Mid-Valley landscape, more plentiful than wine grapes, berries or hop bines. If hazelnut orchards already seem to be everywhere, get used to it. Some 70,000 acres of Willamette Valley farmland are planted in hazelnuts trees and farmers are expected to plant 8,000 more acres each year.The 2018 harvest yielded about 47,000 tons, but by 2025, the yield is expected to be 90,000 tons annually. For comparison, Oregon’s wine grape industry covered about 34,000 acres and harvested 91,000 tons of wine grapes in 2017. The major factor fueling expansion is that, through crop breeding, Oregon State University has developed hazelnut varieties resistant to Eastern Filbert Blight, the scourge responsible for crippling older orchards.

Since resistant cultivars made their debuts in the late ’90s and early 2000s, hazelnuts have become a favorite among Oregon growers. The crop is both high-value and low-maintenance. The trees have modest water needs and an ability to self-pollinate without bees or other insects.

HOMELESSNESS

Oregon Has Nation’s Second Highest Rate of Unsheltered Homeless People, According to New Federal Report

Willamette Week

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is presenting its annual report on homelessness to Congress this week. The data, based on a national point-in-time count, show that Oregon again ranks near the top of states in terms of the percentage its homeless population that are living “unsheltered,” i.e. on the streets, in vehicles, parks or other places not designated for humans to sleep. The 100-page HUD report is full of grim findings. Homelessness nationally rose for the second year in a row after bottoming in 2016 and black Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by homelessness. “While accounting for 13 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans account for 40 percent of all people experiencing homelessness and 51 percent of people experiencing homelessness as members of families with children,” the report says.

LOCAL

Portland ahead of House Speaker on controversial infill policy

Portland Tribune

Portland is already on track to meet Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek’s goal of eliminating almost all single-family zoning. The idea is controversial, however, and will likely spark conflict before both the Oregon Legislature and City Council next year. Kotek, who represents parts of North and Northeast Portland, plans to ask the 2017 Legislature to allow duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes in single-family zones in cities with more than 10,000 residents. Her goal is encourage the construction a greater variety of homes that are more affordable than single-family houses. The commission is currently recommending that 96 percent of the single-family neighborhoods be rezoned relatively small multifamily projects. Duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes can also be larger than single-family homes — up to 3,500 square feet for a triplex or four-plex, compared to 2,500 square feet for a single family homes.

COCC students lobby for on-campus child care

The Bend Bulletin

Oliver Tatom, a paramedic, part-time nursing student and father of two, is on a mission: He wants his school, Central Oregon Community College, to provide on-campus child care. “For me, (child care expenses) meant putting off applying to nursing school. I didn’t go back to school until I had at least one kid in kindergarten because it was too expensive,” Tatom, 39 said. “For others, it was just an additional source of stress; it was missing class, being late to class.”

As the student president of COCC’s nursing school, Tatom, of Bend, said he feels its his duty to speak for his fellow students, many of whom have also struggled to find child care, a problem felt throughout Central Oregon. His 4-year-old son, Dean, is enrolled at Inspire Early Learning Centers’ east Bend campus, which costs $800 per month.

OPINION

Outrageous Rx costs are a bitter pill

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

Nearly a quarter of Americans taking prescription medications say the high cost of refills has stopped them or a family member from filling a prescription, or has led them to cut pills in half or skip doses altogether. And prices keep increasing: From January to July of 2018, there were price increases on 4,412 drugs. The price decreased on just 46 medicines. That means for every one decrease in price, 96 others became more expensive. This price-gouging is occurring even as people in other major developed countries are paying a fraction of the cost for the same prescriptions. Perhaps the most outrageous part of this disparity is that many of these prescriptions were developed or improved with research that was funded by our American tax dollars! The only people in this country who think drug prices aren’t way too high are the ones getting rich from drug company profits.

Will Brown ever lead on PERS reform?

The Register-Guard

Oregonians who re-elected Brown to a second term in November might have hoped that the term-limited governor, unshackled from concerns about running again, would make bold proposals to fix PERS, that she would expend political capital and work with the Democratic super-majority in the Legislature to implement long-term solutions, that she would lead with courage and collaboration. On the campaign trail this year, PERS came up often, at least when Brown wasn’t distracting voters with divisive social issues and Donald Trump. Both Brown and her Republican opponent acknowledged the importance and difficulty of reform. With the election behind her, however, Brown proposed a budget that barely touches on PERS.

Editorial: Let Oregon vote on the death penalty

Corvallis Gazette-Times

Oregon legislators are considering proposals to dramatically limit the types of crimes in which the death penalty can be applied — a roundabout way to essentially gut capital punishment in the state. The proposals under consideration are clever ways to get around the fact that it would take a vote of the public to outlaw the death penalty in Oregon. But it’s been decades since Oregonians voted on whether to retain capital punishment, and it’s possible (perhaps even likely) that public sentiment has changed on the topic since then. Why not just refer the question to voters instead of finding ways to work around the will of the electorate?

Editorial: Change opioid law, current practice

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Oregon, like much of the rest of the nation, has an opioid problem, and while illegal use of the addictive drugs has dropped here in recent years, the state could be doing much more to encourage that trend. That was one takeaway from a Secretary of State’s audit of Oregon’s prescription drug monitoring program. It tracks the dispensing of prescription opioids and other concerning drugs in the state. Another was this: Unless lawmakers amend legislation governing the program, the state’s efforts to curb opioid abuse won’t be as effective as they should be.

Opinion: Oregon is vaporizing this shop owner’s free speech rights

Oregonian/OregonLive

Imagine a world in which you were not allowed to tell the truth, make art, or use descriptive words for a legal product that can save lives. By law. Couldn’t happen here—not in Oregon, right? But it has. That’s effectively what the state of Oregon is doing to small business owners like me. I am the owner of a 21-and-over vape shop in Portland, and most of my customers are people just like me: people who have used e-cigarettes to kick a cigarette habit. E-cigarettes are currently the most popular and effective method of quitting smoking. Yet the state of Oregon won’t let me share truthful information about my products with the customers who come into my store. Under Oregon Health Authority rules, I cannot display any products with labels that are “likely to appeal to minors.” Fruit flavors are a good example: If a label has, say, the drawing of a peach or even the word “peach” on it, we will have to cover it up. Oregon has some of the strongest individual and commercial free-speech protections in the country, but its anti-speech regulations on vaping have kept us from selling an e-cigarette liquid that had an octopus on the label. Last week, I filed a lawsuit to challenge these regulations for what they are: an attempt to steal my right to communicate what my products are to my customers. Oregon’s insistence that I must self-censor my products violates my free-speech rights. My ability to communicate with my customers shouldn’t be taken away.

One less burden on rural America

Abolition of the ‘WOTUS’ rule means one less burden on rural America

By Rep. Greg Walden 

For farmers and ranchers across the rural West, the litany of misguided rules and regulations that have threatened their livelihoods is exhaustive. Western growers and livestock producers not only face the immense challenges of growing crops or producing cattle, but they also must manage a patchwork of red tape and looming litigation from onerous environmental policies that are often crafted without their input. 

Case in point is the Obama administration’s “waters of the United States” rule. In meetings throughout rural Oregon, farmers, ranchers, and property owners have repeatedly expressed their concerns to me about this overreaching regulation. This heavy-handed rule ignored congressional intent and local opposition when it expanded EPA’s jurisdiction far beyond the “navigable waterways” that the Clean Water Act originally sought to protect. 

The Obama EPA unilaterally decided that its regulatory reach under this rule could encompass everything from stock ponds and irrigation ditches to vernal pools and driveway puddles. This irresponsible power grab from Washington, D.C. dramatically affected hardworking families in my Oregon district. 

Legal scholars, state attorneys general, and judges on the federal circuit have agreed time and again that WOTUS violates the Constitution. More importantly, as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito put it in a related 2012 opinion, WOTUS, along with the potential penalties slapped on ordinary Americans for violating the rule, “leaves most property owners with little practical alternative but to dance to the EPA’s tune.” 

Thankfully, President Trump heard the concerns of America’s agriculture community and acted to rein in what he called “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.” Shortly after taking office, Trump ordered his administration to review and replace the previous definition of the “waters of the United States.” Crafted by the feedback of people on the ground, the Trump administration rolled out an encouraging new WOTUS proposal this week. 

Importantly, the new proposal incorporates the input of the farmers, ranchers, and property owners who were most burdened under the previous ruling. Among the key changes: EPA’s jurisdiction will only cover wetlands that are physically and meaningfully connected to navigable waterways. 

The new definition cuts most irrigation ditches out of unnecessary federal regulation. Similarly creative, collaborative efforts to maximize conservation of our water resources through groundwater recharge, or wastewater recycling will not face burdensome federal red tape. And the EPA will no longer pick and choose which individual waters they have jurisdiction over, a practice Oregonians in my district have had to put up with for far too long.

While Trump’s action is a big and welcome step in a better direction for farmers and ranchers in the West who have suffered under the onerous WOTUS rule, it’s now up to Congress to step up to the plate. Without action from the legislative branch, a future executive may try to redefine “waters of the United States” even more broadly than the Obama administration did, requiring subsequent corrective action even stronger than that taken by the Trump administration. 

It’s past time for Congress to cement an appropriate definition of waters of the United States into law through the legislative process. This is the only way we can ensure we are improving America’s water quality without stepping on the necks of rural communities in Oregon and throughout the country. 

Rep. Greg Walden represents Oregon’s second congressional district. 
Click here to read Representative Walden’s op-ed online.

December 12, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES

Baertschiger is Senate Republican Leader as Salem’s Jackie Winters steps down

Statesman Journal

Oregon Senate Republicans elected Sen. Herman Baertschiger, Jr., R-Grants Pass, as their new leader ahead of the 2019 legislative session, with previous leader Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, stepping down from the post Tuesday night. “Filling the shoes of Senator Winters is going to be an enormous task,” Baertschiger said in a statement. “I am sure I will find myself in Senator Winters’ office quite often during the session.” In a statement announcing her decision not to seek re-election, Winters said she will focus her efforts next session on tackling the state’s problems with an eye toward bipartisanship. “I believe my full attention will need to be focused on one of the things I pride myself on — bringing both sides together to work on solutions to the challenges facing Oregonians,” she said.

Oregon State Police funding has rare bipartisan support

The Bend Bulletin

Republicans say they will back Gov. Kate Brown’s effort to start rebuilding the Oregon State Police, which today is staffed at the same levels as in 1969, when the state had half the number of residents as today. Many in the GOP oppose portions of Brown’s new budget that proposes $2 billion for education, new taxes for health care and a likely cap on carbon emissions. But the proposal to fill up to 50 trooper positions is popular with Republicans and well as Democrats. Hugh Ady, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus, said GOP leadership would like to see even more funding for the state police. “We support more money for law enforcement,” Ady said. “We want the Oregon State Police to be fully staffed. Enforcing the law and promoting public safety is a primary responsibility of government.”

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Courtney hopes to temper politics in Oregon’s Legislature

The Salem Reporter

His party is in power. He’s been nominated yet again for Senate president. In Gov. Kate Brown, he’s working with an experienced Democratic governor. You’d think all this might satisfy him.

But Courtney’s on edge. He worries about the institution of the Legislature. He fears its collapse under the pressure of today’s political atmosphere, with Democrats and Republicans retreating to their corners two years after Donald Trump’s election. For a man who, observers say, has spent the later years of his political career reshaping the state Senate into a more professional, more collegial body, the upcoming session feels like a steeplechase. “The whole political world’s a challenge now, because no one wants to work together, no one wants to join together, no one really wants to,” Courtney said in a recent interview. “We don’t approach the political process or decision-making like we used to.”

Oregon lawmakers plan to introduce gun storage bill in 2019

Oregonian/OregonLive

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature plan to introduce a bill in 2019 that would require gun owners to securely store their weapons using locks. Gun owners who fail to follow through could be fined as much as $500, or $2,000 if a child gets unauthorized access to the firearm, according to a summary of the proposal released by supporters on Tuesday. They did not include a copy of the actual legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, D-Portland, and Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, after the session begins in January. The proposal also would make it easier for shooting victims to sue for damages if the gun owner failed to secure the weapon, report the loss or theft of the gun in a timely manner or supervise a child using the gun. That provision would not apply if the gun was used in self-defense or defense of another person, according to a news release from the new gun advocacy nonprofit State of Safety Action.

Oregon Legislature to weigh statewide plastic bag tax, single-use straw ban

Statesman Journal

A Senate committee voted to introduce both legislative concepts, or preliminary bills, during an informational hearing Wednesday. Both bills would help reduce plastic waste that ends up in landfills and the environment. “From our perspective, nothing we use for 10 minutes should pollute the environment for hundreds of years,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director of Environment Oregon, which has been working on plastics-reduction legislation for a decade. LC 795 would impose a 5 cent per bag tax on single-use plastic bags used by retail stores selling food or alcohol, and require the establishments to provide paper checkout bags. LC 1377 would prohibit restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws to customers unless they request a straw.

Auditors hope opioid findings will light fire under Oregon legislators

Salem Reporter

Oregon is collecting valuable information about opioid prescribers and their patients but state law hamstrings using the system to confront drug abuse, state auditors said Tuesday. Oregon, like all other states, collects information on prescriptions for controlled substances like Oxycodone and Percocet. But Oregon’s program has little teeth, auditors found. Auditors blamed state lawmakers, saying that constraints they put in place on the program, created nearly a decade ago, limit the program’s “efficiency, effectiveness and impact.” Misuse or abuse of prescription drugs can lead to abuse of illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl, the audit report said.

Oregon Land Board to discuss Elliott State Forest at meeting

The Coos Bay World Link

The State Land Board will hear updates on the Elliott State Forest, including presentations from public entities interested in owning the forest, during its Dec. 18 meeting in Salem. As part of an ongoing project to keep the forest publicly owned, the Board in October asked public entities to indicate their interest in ownership. For purposes of finding a new owner, “public” means state or federal government agencies, federally-recognized Oregon tribes, state universities, and local governments. Letters of interest are available in the meeting materials.

New Lawsuit Says Oregon’s Restrictions on Vape Packaging Violate Constitutional Free Speech Protections

Willamette Week

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court on behalf of Paul Bates, the owner of Division Vapor, located at 2929 Southeast Powell Blvd., is seeking to block the Oregon Health Authority from enforcing administrative rules that prohibit the use of certain images and words the state thinks would be attractive to juveniles. The Oregon Constitution’s free speech clause (Article I, Section 8) is famously broad. It says “no law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely.” The lawsuit says “this guarantee prohibits the government from mandating that businesses censor truthful no misleading speech about the products they sell.” As examples, the lawsuit notes that in 2016, state rules prohibited the labels on vaping liquids from depicting “celebrities, athletes, mascots, fictitious characters played by people, or other people likely to appeal to minors” and “food or beverages likely to appeal to minors such as candy, desserts, soda, food or beverages with sweet flavors including fruit or alcohol.” In 2018, the lawsuit says, OHA added additional labeling rules, prohibiting “terms or descriptive words for flavors that are likely to appeal to minors such as ‘tart, tangy, sweet, cool, fire, ice, lit, spikes, poppin’, juicy, candy, desserts, [and] soda.” The rules also forbid the use of images of fruit and other foods and specifically prohibit the use of words such as “apple,” and “strawberry.”

Oregon’s Unique Bike Tax Is Pulling In Far Less Than Expected

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon’s one-of-a-kind tax on bikes doesn’t have much air in its tires. The Oregon Department of Transportation said Tuesday that it now expects the $15 flat tax on some new bike sales will bring in less than half of the expected $2.1 million this tax year — and even less than anticipated moving forward. The reason, ODOT economist Daniel Porter told lawmakers, is that officials didn’t know what to expect when estimating what the tax would generate. “Economists like to think that we can estimate anything and we can give you a number, but this one was a real shot in the dark,” Porter told the House Revenue Committee, meeting for routine “legislative days” at the Capitol.

EDUCATION & SCHOOL SAFETY

Don’t limit definition of gender, school chiefs of Oregon, Washington, California urge Trump administration

Oregonian/OregonLive

The three West Coast states all consider students’ gender to be that with which they consistently identify. A leaked Trump administration memo suggested federal agencies should collectively rewrite their policies to define gender as based on biology. The letter states, “We believe these changes will be dangerous and detrimental for the millions of individuals in our country who identify as transgender, many of whom are school-age and are our students and part of our school communities.”

Suicide prevention plan addresses bullying, harassing

KOIN 6

The Oregon Task Force on School Safety has proposed suicide prevention legislation — the first of its kind in the country. The task force met on Tuesday to discuss its proposal — the Oregon Safe to Learn Act, something they’ve been working on for months to make students and staff feel safer at school. “The death of a youth impacts so many people, law enforcement included and we have to step back and say ‘How could we have prevented this?'” Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said. Prevention is key, according to the task force.

BUSINESS

Businesses scramble to comply with new state pay equity rules

Portland Tribune

Oregon lawmakers in May 2017 passed one of the most comprehensive pay equity laws in the nation, expanding protections against pay discrimination beyond just gender to 11 classes. Yet, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries waited 18 months to finalize rules to guide employers on how to comply with the new and complicated law. The rules were released Nov. 19. Some employers say that doesn’t leave them enough time to identify disparities and adjust pay. “This is not something you do in an afternoon looking at payroll,” said Jenny Dresler, a lobbyist for the Oregon Farm Bureau. The organization represents about 7,000 farmers and ranchers. “They look to us to help provide guidance on some of the new workplace policies and laws,” Dresler said. “When I look at the timeline and the resources available to us, we do not have enough time to help everyone.”

AGRICULTURE

Senate passes Farm Bill and Oregon hemp industry sees boom

Portland Business Journal

The U.S. is on the brink of legalizing hemp, a move that could clear a path for a booming new Oregon industry. The Senate voted 87-13 Tuesday to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, with hemp provisions agreed upon by House conferees. “With this bill we are making hemp an American agricultural product without differentiation,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, said in an interview. Hemp — cannabis without the psychoactive component THC — has been legal under state pilot programs, but federal agencies offered confusing and often contradictory guidance on it, clouding its commercial growth. With House passage and a signature from President Donald Trump expected to follow soon, Oregon’s hemp industry was celebrating on Tuesday, and anticipating dramatic expansion. “I honestly think the craft hemp industry will be Oregon’s No. 1 agricultural industry in revenue within two years,” said Mason Walker, CEO of East Fork Cultivars, a hemp grower in Josephine County. Hemp would have to become nearly a $1 billion industry to beat out greenhouse and nursery, which had a value of $947 million in 2017, as Oregon’s ag leader. But signs of its potential are plentiful.

Federal Farm Bill contains provisions for Oregon’s forests, hemp farmers

The Bend Bulletin

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 87-13 to approve a sweeping 800-page, $867 billion farm bill that addresses issues ranging from food stamps to subsidies for farmers. The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the omnibus bill later in December. Much of the project’s most visible work revolves around forest thinning and controlled burns, which are designed to reduce fuels that carry massive wildfires in sensitive areas of the forest, including a 26,000-acre section west of Bend. Merkley said the federal portion of the Central Oregon project was slated to conclude in 2020. However, the additional federal funding doubles the program’s budget to $80 million and extends it through 2023. The Central Oregon program could be a target for future funding. Caligiuri said the federal funding goes toward implementation and monitoring efforts by the U.S. Forest Service rather than the collaborative project itself, but added that the federal agency is a key partner in the forest restoration effort. Separately, Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pushed to include a section of the Farm Bill that legalizes the production of hemp at the federal level. Industry advocates suggest the change will remove roadblocks like banking and interstate commerce for Deschutes County’s hemp industry. The bill would remove hemp, the non-psychoactive version of marijuana, from the list of Schedule-1 illegal drugs and allow growers to transport the crop across state lines. In states like Oregon, which established a framework for legal hemp in 2016, this allows growers to expand into new, out-of-state markets.

LOCAL

Portland Is Poised to Spend Tourist Dollars to House the Homeless

Willamette Week

For years, tourists visiting Portland have gazed at the familiar sights of downtown: Powell’s City of Books, Voodoo Doughnut, and people sleeping on the sidewalk. Soon, when those visitors check into their hotel rooms, they will help pay to put roofs over the heads of the most vulnerable Portlanders. That’s thanks to an innovative new tax deal championed by Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury. For the past 17 years, a 2.5 percent tax on rental cars and hotel rooms in the county has been used to fund an expansion of the Oregon Convention Center, to finance a Convention Center hotel, and to provide marketing dollars to Travel Portland, the nonprofit whose job it is to attract tourists. The annual revenues from those taxes have increased rapidly: The total now stands at $21 million a year. That matches a hotel construction boom across the city as tourists flock to Portland.  Last week, WW learned that three local governments—City Hall, Multnomah County and Metro—were nearing a deal to expand the use of those funds.

Crack down on flavored e-cigarettes may have consequences for Eugene adults

The Register-Guard

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced in November that the FDA is considering new rules regarding the sale of e-cigarettes and the e-liquid used in them, after results from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed a 78 percent increase in the number of high school students using e-cigarettes between 2017 and 2018. One of the proposed rules would require nearly all flavored e-liquids that are used in e-cigarettes to be sold in age-restricted shops or an area of a store that is not accessible to minors. The only e-liquid flavors that would be exempt from the new rule would be mint, menthol and tobacco. Eric Pinnell, the owner of Oregon Vape Society in Springfield doesn’t object to the idea of restricting sales of flavored e-liquids, but he does have some concerns that the federal government will take it one step further and ban flavored e-liquids all together. “If they completely ban flavors it will hurt the industry and people,” he said. “It’s how most of us have quit smoking cigarettes. Limiting things to menthol and tobacco won’t work. It will chase people back to cigarettes.”

Pendleton schools draw complaints over bus service

East Oregonian

Every morning, Ruth said he takes his young granddaughter to the school bus stop at Southwest Frazer Avenue and Fourth Street, in the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce parking lot. The stop is near the tank where recreational vehicles can deposit their sewage. Concerned about the health risks, he sought a meeting with the proper authorities to discuss the bus stop and other complaints. Despite meeting with officials from the school district and its contractor, Mid Columbia Bus Co., Ruth felt that they weren’t responding to his concerns and took to Facebook to solicit complaints from other parents before he took them to the Pendleton School Board on Monday. Ruth said his posts on various pages garnered 1,800 interactions. While Ruth’s comments were restricted to three minutes under board rules, the comments left under the post touched on similar things: late buses, long bus routes, and bullying on the bus going unchecked.

OPINION

Editorial: Wanted: Senator who puts Oregon first

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, really, really wants to be president. He’s enough of a realist, however, to recognize that his chances of winning are slim, and he’d like to hold on to his Senate seat as well, in case things don’t work out. Winning a third term in the Senate might be nice for Merkley, but in those circumstances it’s far from nice for Oregon voters. We deserve a senator who wants the Senate seat as much as Merkley wants to be president.

December 4, 2018 Daily Clips

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Capitol Roundup: Dems, GOP set leadership line-ups for 2019

The Bend Bulletin

Republicans have selected Rep. Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, as the new House minority leader for the 2019 session that starts Jan. 22. He will replace Rep. Mike McLane, R-­Powell Butte, who has served as leader since 2012. McLane chose to step down from the top House GOP spot after an election that left Republicans at a 38-22 disadvantage. House Democrats have more than a three-fifths “supermajority,” which will allow them to pass tax legislation without needing Republican votes. McLane, who was first elected in 2010 and became leader in his second term, will continue to serve in the House but without a leadership position. Wilson said he would lean on his predecessor for help. “Rep. McLane has given so much to this caucus and to our state over the last six years,” Wilson said. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.” Wilson knows he has his work cut out for him, telling Oregon Public Broadcasting that with its relatively small numbers, the House Republicans are “not even legislative speed bumps” for the upcoming Democratic agenda.

 

Student success committee finds two big priorities

My Columbia Basin

The Oregon Legislature Joint Interim Committee on Student Success has toured schools throughout the state, listening to local stakeholders for several months. InterMountain Education Service District Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says it appears that the committee will help put rank and file lawmakers on the same page as the educators. The top concern the task force reports on finding is the mental health of students. IMESD is beginning to work on that issue for its member schools this year. “Hopefully, we’ll see some innovation and some funding toward that,” Mulvihill said. “That was the number-one thing that the joint committee identified – behavioral issues.” Mulvihill said the group also learned that career and technical education is vital to high school students in preparing them for the real world, especially if a classic path to higher education isn’t of interest to them.

 

Oregon lawmaker: Cap and trade coming

Capital Press

Cap and trade is all but certain to pass the Democrat-controlled Oregon Legislature in 2019, whether rural Oregonians like it nor not, says state Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario. Under cap and trade, the state would implement a limit on carbon emissions beginning in 2021, which gradually lowers over the course of 30 years. Companies can buy credits on the open market to exceed the limit, and money raised by the program would go into a funding pool for climate-friendly initiatives. The bill aims to reduce Oregon’s emissions from 55 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, to 10 million tons. But as Bentz was quick to point out, those savings are .00125 percent of global emissions, which total 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. “This will not resolve climate issues,” he said. Meanwhile, Bentz said fuel providers will buy allowances to exceed the carbon cap at $16 per ton of carbon dioxide, which he calculated will increase the price of gas by 14 cents per gallon in the program’s first year.

 

Oregon senator to introduce bill to thwart return of bottles, cans bought in Washington

The Columbian

Last year, Oregon increased its deposit from 5 to 10 cents on bottles and cans of soda, beer and other beverages purchased in the state. A more lucrative deposit has raised concerns that more bottles and cans from Washington are being redeemed in Oregon, undermining the state’s redemption system. “We do know that there are problems based on the number of interactions we have with people coming from Washington,” said Joel Schoening, spokesman for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, the industry-led cooperative that manages the state’s bottle bill. While there are no clear figures on how big the problem is, Schoening said that the annual cost to the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative is in the six-figure range. There’s also anecdotal evidence from both states it’s happening. Oregon state Sen. Betsy Johnson, a Democrat who represents a district bordering Washington, said she’s heard enough complaints that she’ll introduce legislation to crack down on people trying to redeem out-of-state bottles. “I have all the data I need, which is hearing from my grocery stores that they are drowning in out-of-state (bottles and cans),” said Johnson.

 

State public records advocate finds litany of flaws in Oregon’s public records laws

Capital Bureau

Governments in Oregon unreasonably delay handing over public documents or charge too much for that access, and put records of elected officials sometimes nearly beyond reach of citizens, according to a new state report. Those are the findings of Ginger McCall, Oregon’s public records advocate and included in a formal report issued last week by the state Public Records Advisory Council. Her observations are her own, though, based on her experiences in recent months with government officials, reporters and editors and citizens who want public documents. McCall found that Oregon’s public records laws are confusing to government and requesters. It allows government officials to delay or withhold records that should be public, and there is little punishment for agencies who violate the law. If citizens or others want to challenge a government’s decision to withhold public records, the recourse can be a costly court battle. Since April, McCall has trained 1,300 government employees and on Oregon’s public records laws. She has also been called on in 90 instances by reporters and editors for help getting government records. The council’s report is meant to inform Gov. Kate Brown and the Legislature and promote reforms in the law.

 

OREGON LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

 

Brown offers vision but no details at business summit

Portland Tribune

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown did not directly address the biggest question facing her administration when she appeared at the 2018 Oregon Leadership Summit on Monday morning — how she wants the 2019 Oregon Legislature to raise the additional $2 billion needed to balance the proposed budget she released last week. Instead, Brown talked in general terms about the need for “more investments” in issues she prioritized in her proposed budget, including education, health care and climate action.

 

Kate Brown, business leaders differ on Oregon’s problems

Oregonian/OregonLive

Gov. Kate Brown kicked off a meeting of business leaders from across Oregon on Monday by trading praises with a hand-picked panel of executives supportive of Democrats’ push to raise several billion dollars in taxes and fees next year for Medicaid, education and tackling climate change. As Oregon rides the peak of the economic cycle, Brown said, “I believe that the time is now, and I think Oregonians agree with that.” Members of the governor’s panel at the Oregon Leadership Summit in Portland certainly sounded supportive, as they complimented each other on their work addressing the state’s most pressing problems.

 

Business Leaders: Pension Reforms Must Be Part of 2019 Education Solution

Oregon Public Broadcasting

With Democrats dominating the Legislature, and pledging to find big new revenues next year, Oregon business leaders on Monday made what amounted to a plea. They’re asking lawmakers to include in any budget deal significant savings in the state’s ballooning pension costs. And they’re offering up their preferred ideas for when the Legislature asks businesses to pay more. “Our economy is the most volatile in the nation,” said Debbie Kitchin, principal of Portland-based contractor Interworks, during an address at the Oregon Leadership Summit in Portland. “A one-sided solution won’t work.”

 

‘We can do better’ in health care delivery, says CEO at Oregon Leadership Summit

Portland Business Journal

Even with Oregon’s success in increasing the health insurance rate to 95 percent, now is not the time to rest on our laurels, the CEO of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center told attendees at the 16th annual Oregon Leadership Summit on Monday. “We have a lot to be proud of, but Oregon still faces many challenges,” Gill Munoz said. The latest United Health Foundation rankings of healthiest states placed Oregon at No. 20, basically the middle of the pack. Diabetes and hypertension are “increasing the burden on individuals and families,” Munoz said. “It’s not time to fall back on short-sighted formulas of cutting benefits or eligibility” for Medicaid, he said. “We don’t need pockets of health but healthy communities across the entire state. We need all sectors of the economy to come together to raise us to the next level.”

 

BUSINESS

 

A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all costs

Bloomberg

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings. In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way? Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women. In finance, the overarching impact of avoiding women can be, in essence, gender segregation. Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope.

 

EDUCATION

 

Oregon wins $689,000 grant to promote post-high school education

Oregonian/OregonLive

Oregon has landed a $689,000 grant to help the state eliminate disparities in education rates between the overall population and students from African-American, Latino and Native American backgrounds. The Lumina Foundation provided the grant, announced Tuesday. It has planning, research and other support for states to draw on to try to increase college graduation rates. Tuesday’s money goes to Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission to help the state join a coalition of states that have pledged to improve graduation rates. Lumina’s money will help Oregon identify adults with college experience who have yet to earn their degrees, then contact those people and encourage them to consider re-enrolling. Nationally, Lumina said fewer than 30 percent of African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans have a post-secondary degree. The foundation said the comparable number for white Americans is 46 percent.

 

Oregon Teachers Call For Solutions To Disruptive Student Problems

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Staff at Adams Elementary School in Eugene got so fed up with behavior problems in their classrooms, they showed up in force at last week’s school board meeting. Teacher Ann Piazza recited problems facing students with medical needs — a litany that followed testimony earlier in the evening from parents of kids with such needs. Meg Carnagey followed with a multi-part list of how students disrupt classrooms: they walk out and roam the halls, or they stay and break things or throw room-clearing tantrums. And worse. “That includes […] physical aggression such as hitting, punching, tackling, biting, choking and/or kicking directed at students and staff,” Carnagey read. The letter from Adams’ staff was also on behalf of a neighboring school, El Camino del Rio, but these problems are not just in Eugene. Portland teachers have delivered similar messages. State officials and teachers unions have convened meetings recently to examine the problem. Those conversations come as Oregon legislators discuss making a big investment next year in the state’s struggling public school system. School board members, teachers and legislators all agree that Oregon’s education spending has barely kept up with rising costs, as school outcomes like graduation rates have stayed in the national basement.

 

HEALTHCARE

 

Oregon to expand Medicaid coverage to more hepatitis C patients

Portland Business Journal

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said he will approve a proposal to remove limits on coverage for hepatitis C treatment. The Oregon Drug Use Review/Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, which advises OHA on prescription drug coverage, on Thursday recommended a change in prior authorization criteria. The change will allow all Medicaid patients with chronic hepatitis C to receive treatment, without fibrosis-related restrictions. “I look forward to approving this recommendation to expand treatment coverage for OHP members,” Allen said in a statement. “Oregon has the highest mortality rate associated with hepatitis C in the country. We have an opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C in our state, and this is a key strategy to get us there.”

 

WILDFIRES

 

‘Enough is enough’

Mail Tribune

Gov. Kate Brown’s wildfire response in her proposed budget offers cold comfort to Southern Oregonians looking for relief from long summers of smoke that have damaged the local economy and endangered public health. “What the governor is proposing is nothing,” said Dave Schott, executive vice president for the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association. “The disappointment resonates with everyone down here.” “The charge of the Council is to evaluate Oregon’s current system for responding to large fires, and determine whether or not the current model is sustainable. The Council will issue a report in September of 2019 to make recommendations for the future of Oregon’s wildfire response infrastructure,” Brown’s proposed budget stated. Brown also wants to hire a person to look for more grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offset damages caused by wildfires. Brown’s office didn’t answer requests for a response Friday and Monday, offering only to provide background information on the proposal. “It’s disappointing that, A, the funds are so limited and, B, that the funds are to study the effects rather than doing something about the wildfires,” Hicks said. “I think every summer for the last decade has been a case study in wildfires, and enough is enough.”

 

NATIONAL

 

GOP campaign arm reports ‘cyber intrusion’

Oregonian/OregonLive

The National Republican Congressional Committee said Tuesday that it was hit with a “cyber intrusion” during the 2018 midterm campaigns and has reported the breach to the FBI. The committee provided few details about the incident, but said the intrusion was conducted by an “unknown entity.” “The cybersecurity of the committee’s data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter,” spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement. “To protect the integrity of that investigation, the NRCC will offer no further comment on the incident.”

 

Trump declares himself ‘Tariff Man’; markets plunge

Oregonian/OregonLive

The economic agreement President Donald Trump said he reached with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Saturday showed signs of unraveling Tuesday, with the White House threatening new penalties against Beijing and multiple officials seeking to downplay expectations for an eventual deal. Trump, in a series of Twitter posts, threatened to slap a range of import penalties on Chinese products if they did not make major changes in their economic relationship with the United States. “President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will,” Trump wrote. “But if not remember, I am a Tariff man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power.”

 

Senators warn Trump against more attacks on Fed

Portland Business Journal

President Donald Trump was taking a “dangerous” path by attacking Jay Powell and legislation might be needed to protect the Federal Reserve chairman, a bipartisan pair of US senators has warned. Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democrat Chris Coons from Delaware said in an interview that the US president could attempt to take a similar approach to Mr Powell as he did to former attorney-general Jeff Sessions, whom he sacked after the midterm elections. The pair floated the idea of legislation to preserve the Fed’s independence after Mr Trump complained that he was not being “accommodated” by Mr Powell and that he was “unhappy” with his selection of chairman. Mr Flake, Mr Trump’s loudest Republican critic in the Senate, offered the example of Zimbabwe as a “really severe case of what happens when presidents overrule the central bank. We don’t want to go that direction.”

 

Shutdown fight over wall is likely delayed

The New York Times

House lawmakers filed a two-week stopgap spending bill Monday that would ensure that the government remains fully funded as the nation mourns former President George H.W. Bush this week. The measure, which includes funding for the Homeland Security and Interior departments and other federal agencies, would push a showdown over funding for a wall on the southern border to Dec. 21, just before Christmas. It is expected to be passed by unanimous consent this week, according to people familiar with the talks.

 

Wyden: ‘Health care should be a basic human right’

Portland Tribune

For 90 minutes, Wyden, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1996, answered questions from the community as well as from Tualatin High School students. One came from a community member who wanted to know the senator’s stance on the Green New Deal, or Congressional stimulus packages that focus on the environment and climate change. Wyden said if ever there was a wake-up call, it came after Thanksgiving when President Donald Trump’s own scientists laid out a plan as to how dire climate change has become. “This is urgent business,” Wyden said. He said there are currently are 40 separate tax breaks for fossil fuel providers. “I am going to propose throwing them into the trash can,” the senator said, adding he is pushing for three tax breaks that would benefit the environment.

 

LOCAL

 

Increased speed limits in rural Oregon have been deadly

The Bend Bulletin

The East Oregonian analyzed ODOT crash data and OSP news releases to get an idea of how many people died on the roads 26 months before and 26 months after the speed limit increase went into effect. Total deaths went up from 60 to 66, representing a 10 percent increase. Over the same time frame, traffic deaths on other state roads fell by 3.5 percent.

 

Audit Flags Problems With Portland’s Environmental Agency

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A new audit finds problems with how the City of Portland is managing environmental restoration projects and “green streets” designed to control stormwater. The Bureau of Environmental Services is spending millions on projects aimed at improving water quality, restoring wildlife habitat and preventing flooding, but auditors found the bureau often can’t prove those projects are meeting their goals. “The Bureau cannot report on overall progress because there is no  inventory of restoration projects on which to base reporting, none of the projects we reviewed had quantifiable goals, and there are no protocols for consistent monitoring or data collection,” the audit states.

 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler ‘expects’ to run for re-election

Portland Tribune

Mayor Ted Wheeler now says he expects to run for re-election despite a comment last month that indicated the opposite was true. His new comments came as political circles continue to buzz about what Wheeler muttered in the presence of a reporter for The Oregonian — that he “can’t wait” for his term as mayor to end in two years.

 

OPINION

 

Opinion: Gov. Brown’s budget offers opportunity to transform K-12 education

Oregonian/OregonLive

Our schools are struggling in well-documented ways: Oregon students have one of the shortest school years nationally, classroom crowding has mounted as schools cut teaching positions to save money, and as a result of decades of underfunding, graduation rates are among the lowest in the country. By failing to act for 28 years, we have failed our children. Now, however, we have strong signs of hope on the horizon. Realizing that hope will require hard decisions about reforming our revenue system to pay for public services, including schools.

 

Editorial: Gov. Brown should tell Oregonians what taxes she wants

The Bend Bulletin

Gov. Kate Brown’s new proposed budget and policy agenda has some nice ideas — and some that are completely wrongheaded. Brown aims to spend $2 billion more to improve education, help families with child care, add more affordable housing, add more state troopers, add more auditors and add more. Those new goodies sound great. But we need to know the math. Where does the money come from? Running government like a business would mean when you outline a bunch of great things to buy or invest in, you need to show where the money comes from. Anything else is monkey business. Even running a home budget, we’re sure Oregonians can draw up their own wish lists real quick. There’s got to be a responsible plan to pay.

 

Opinion: Gov. Brown should make audits a priority in Oregon’s state agencies

Oregonian/OregonLive

Gov. Brown can send a powerful message not only by approving resource requests but also by calling for the implementation of all the recommendations in the Secretary of State Audits Division report to strengthen and standardize the internal audit function across state agencies. By implementing those recommendations, state agency internal auditors would be better able to assess risk and offer assurance on performance, ultimately bringing the best possible service to Oregon’s citizens.

 

Our Opinion: Tough call crucial for easing PERS debt

Portland Tribune Editorial Board

This coming year, there’s a way to give those school districts a little relief. It would take some political guts, but we call on Oregon lawmakers to make the tough call. The Legislature should suspend next year’s income tax “kicker” refunds and use the money to reduce the pension debt saddling our public schools. The Oregon Constitution provides for lawmakers to suspend the individual kicker rebates if there’s a two-thirds vote in both chambers. Lawmakers have only suspended the individual kickers once, back in 1991. Suspending the kicker rebates will be hard for Republicans who treasure them as a brake on government spending. But public schools are in crisis, and this is the prudent, fiscally conservative thing to do. And schools are more popular among GOP constituents than the state or local governments. Democrats have long positioned themselves as the champions of public schools. We ask them to prove it next session by helping schools clear out some of the mountains of pension debt that were imposed on them without their consent.

 

My View: Oregonians give schools mixed grades

Portland Tribune

In late October, Oregon’s Department of Education released its much-awaited report card for Oregon schools. The report showed us two things: One, that schools haven’t made much progress since the last one; and two, that education is of high enough interest to Oregonians that the report’s timing became a political football in the governor’s race. As we approach the 2019 Oregon legislative session — and once again, the state tries to balance its budget while ensuring adequate funding for all education programs — we wanted to ask Oregonians’ opinions about education in this state. The answer depends on which schools you’re asking about. Oregonians have slightly more faith in their local schools than they do in schools across the state. Forty-two percent feel their own districts are doing a good job of educating, while 30 percent feel the same about the state’s schools, and 45 percent think schools statewide are doing a poor job. The largest gaps in perceptions about school performance are between members of different political parties and those with different political ideologies. For example, 51 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of liberals think their local schools are doing a good job. Just 33 percent of Republicans and only 27 percent of conservatives agree.

 

Brown’s answer to fire and smoke an embarrassment

Herald and News

With a summer of choking smoke still fresh in local residents’ minds, Gov. Kate Brown’s solution is to create a committee to study the state’s wildfire response. She’s allocated $400,000 for said study in her proposed budget that totals $83.5 billion. That’s billion with a B. If that news has smoke coming out of your ears, you’re not alone. In her budget message, Brown says she will issue an executive order establishing something called the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response: “The charge of the Council is to evaluate Oregon’s current system for responding to large fires, and determine whether or not the current model is sustainable. The Council will issue a report in September of 2019 to make recommendations for the future of Oregon’s wildfire response infrastructure.” Next September. Anyone who spent the last summer in Southern Oregon can tell the governor, and anyone else who cares to ask, whether the current model is “sustainable.” We don’t need to wait until next September — when the 2019 fire season likely has burned tens of thousands more acres and cost hundreds of millions of dollars — to know that what is needed is not another study, but action.

December 2, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES


State Senator Says Culture At The Oregon Capitol Hasn’t Improved
OPB
For months, a group of lawyers, former lawmakers, judges, lobbyists and other stakeholders have been working to address culture change at the Salem statehouse. The Oregon State Capitol Workplace Harassment work group is nearing the end of its task and is expected to submit final recommendations to the state Legislature in the next couple of weeks. Former Republican lawmaker Vicki Berger told Gelser that she feels the group’s key charge is to shift attitudes. “We have to change the culture,” Berger said.

Brown, business leaders to talk taxes, spending Monday
Portland Tribune
One of Oregon’s oldest and most respected business organizations says the 2019 Oregon Legislature should raise personal and corporate taxes — if lawmakers also rein in the cost of benefits to public employees.

George H.W. Bush: Oregon’s reps on Capitol Hill commemorate the 41st president
The Oregonian/OregonLive

George Herbert Walker Bush, the nation’s 41st president and the commander-in-chief whose administration gave Portland the nickname “Little Beirut,” died Friday at 94. Rep. Greg Walden, who represents Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, is the state’s sole elected Republican in Washington, D.C. Walden said Bush was “a towering figure of kindness and dignity, the kind of which we may never see again.”


GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Oregon’s business lobby undermined by divisions, electoral setbacks and scandal
The Oregonian/OregonLive
Oregon businesses are thriving amid the strongest regional economy in a generation. Politically, however, the business community is a wreck.

College presidents bemoan budget limbo under Gov. Brown’s new plan
The Oregonian/OregonLive
The presidents of Oregon’s seven public universities said they will have to implement double-digit tuition hikes and cut certain programs if lawmakers approve Gov. Kate Brown’s recommended budget for the coming two years.

Top takeaways from Gov. Kate Brown’s $23.6 billion budget proposal
The Oregonian/OregonLive
The governor wants lawmakers to pass a large tax increase — $2 billion —primarily to pay for a longer K-12 school year, smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and an expansion of career and technical education in high schools. The governor didn’t address how elementary schools would find space for additional classes. Brown also wants the Legislature to give schools $200 million more than budget analysts said is needed for them to maintain the status quo; she would get some of that money by cutting higher education.

Kate Brown’s win opens up Oregon’s 2022 governor’s race
The Oregonian/OregonLIve
It’s been just three weeks since Gov. Kate Brown won re-election, but already potential candidates to succeed her are laying groundwork for possible bids. With Brown unable to run again in 2022, the Democratic field is wide open for the first time since 2010.

Washington Gov. Inslee Forms PAC In Move Toward Possible Presidential Run
OPB
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has formed a federal political action committee and started soliciting contributions, signaling an important next step as he decides whether to run for president in 2020, the public radio Northwest News Network and The Seattle Times have learned.


LOCAL

Many vacancies atop Portland bureaus at key time
The Oregonian/OregonLive

Six Portland bureaus have acting or fill-in directors, an unusually high number of vacancies atop the city government amid efforts to modernize and set long-term plans during a period of rapid growth.

Rural highway fatalities increase after speed limit hike
East Oregonian
For the first time in decades, the state was raising speed limits on some of eastern and central Oregon’s most traveled highways. The Eastern Oregon section of Interstate 84 and Interstate 82 were now 70 miles per hour. Nearly the entire length of Highway 97 and several other segments of highway in the region were bumped up to 65 miles per hour.

Five days later, the first person died on one of the affected roads.

Rural Oregon kids hospitalized in cold medicine overdoses
Portland Tribune
Four local youths were hospitalized recently as a result of overdosing on over-the-counter cold medicine and law enforcement and Jefferson County Juvenile Department staff are aware of several other cases.

NATIONAL

Trump praises George H.W. Bush and his legacy, putting aside past feud with family
The Washington Post
President Trump hailed George H.W. Bush on Saturday as a “truly wonderful man” and announced plans to attend his Washington funeral, setting aside years of animosity with the Bush political dynasty that he toppled in his takeover of the Republican Party.

US, China reach 90-day ceasefire on tariffs in trade dispute that has rattled markets
The Oregonian/OregonLive
The United States and China reached a 90-day ceasefire in a trade dispute that has rattled financial markets and threatened world economic growth. The breakthrough came after a dinner meeting Saturday between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

OPINION

The extraordinary life and times of George H.W. Bush
The Washington Post
George H.W. Bush was caught between worlds. As president, he could be himself at last.He was, by then, an Eisenhower Republican, whose prudence was displayed first when the Berlin Wall came down, next when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and Bush, when expelling him, stopped short of invading Iraq. Presiding over the orderly end of the Cold War and the vast coalition for Desert Storm, Bush earned the lasting admiration of a discerning posterity, a judgment more important than the one rendered by the undiscerning electorate that in 1992 limited him to one term.

Brown’s answer to fire and smoke an embarrassment
Mail Tribune
This is leadership? With a summer of choking smoke still fresh in local residents’ minds, Gov. Kate Brown’s solution is to create a committee to study the state’s wildfire response. She’s allocated $400,000 for said study in her proposed budget that totals $83.5 billion. That’s billion with a B. If that news has smoke coming out of your ears, you’re not alone.

Skepticism a reasonable response to climate report
The Oklahoman
The German government’s aggressive efforts to transition to green power have not prompted rioting (yet), but they have raised living costs substantially, burdening the poor. And, even though renewables make up about 40 percent of Germany’s electricity supply, that nation’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

The “Tax the Rich” Delusion of the Democratic Left
The Daily Beast
When confronted with how to pay for their extraordinarily expensive policy agenda, the answer of liberal lawmakers, analysts, and advocates is nearly always the same: tax the rich. The “just tax the rich” rhetoric remains empty because the numbers simply do not add up. Wealthy families and corporations are not a bottomless ATM available to finance a socialist utopia.

Conflicting New Estimates of Illegal Immigration
National Review
The spectacle at the border as those seeking to enter illegally, or to do so on bogus claims of seeking asylum — which will lead to their immediate release — has refocused the country on the question of illegal immigration. The Yale study makes it clear that whatever one may think of Trump — or if caravans from Honduras constitute an “invasion” — the conventional wisdom about illegal immigration may be wrong. If the Yale scholars are anywhere close to being right, the problem needs to be looked at as being far more serious than even many conservatives assumed.

 

 

 

November 30, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES

State pays $1.25 million for death of 15-year-old foster child
The Oregonian/OregonLive
The state of Oregon has agreed to pay $1.25 million to the family of a 15-year-old Albany girl who died under the watch of child welfare workers.

Tolls on I-5, 205 steps toward federal approval; draft answers few questions
The Oregonian/OregonLive
Oregon will seek federal approval next month to charge drivers to use sections of Interstate 5 and 205 in the Portland area. The state released a 48-page draft application Thursday to the Federal Highway Administration, and the Oregon Transportation Commission will vote, and potentially give the application its final go-ahead, at a meeting Dec. 6. The application would then go to federal authorities for consideration.

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Merkley wants to phase out all gas vehicles
Portland Tribune
Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Rhode Island U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse introduced legislation on Wednesday they said would put the country “on the path to achieving 100% zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the coming decades.”

Despite more Democratic control, Malheur County legislators see opportunities
Malheur Enterprise
State voters gave Democrats a clear majority in the Legislature but Cliff Bentz and Lynn Findley believe compromise and building alliances across party lines will pay dividends for local voters.

Gov. Brown budgets for continued battle with Trump
East Oregonian
Oregon’s government has been at legal war with President Donald Trump and his administration for two years. This week, it moved to arm itself for more fights. Gov. Kate Brown carved out $2 million in her proposed 2019-21 budget for suing the Trump administration.

LOCAL

New license system launches
Mail Tribune
Oregon hunters and anglers will be able to download 2019 licenses and tags on their smartphones, tablets or computers beginning Saturday as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife dumps its old point-of-sale licensing system for a new web-based one.

Portland Diamond Project has agreement for ballpark at NW Portland marine terminal (renderings)
The Oregonian/OregonLive
An effort to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland passed an early milestone Thursday when backers said they’d settled on a site for a new ballpark: Terminal 2, the expansive marine cargo site in an industrial district northwest of the Fremont Bridge.

Salem-area residents get warning as Salem Health, Blue Cross contract nears end
The Statesman Journal
About 2,700 Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon customers on Medicare received letters over the past few weeks that the insurance company and Salem Health remain at an impasse on contract negotiations as the current contract nears its end. If they don’t agree on a new deal, Salem Health will no longer be an in-network service provider for Regence customers, including those on individual and employer plans.

NATIONAL

Trump joins Canada and Mexico leaders to sign new trade pact
CNBC
President Donald Trump joined the leaders of Canada and Mexico at a global meeting in Argentina on Friday to sign a revised North American trade pact that he called “groundbreaking” and a benefit for “working people.”

House Dems plan to investigate Trump Organization’s alleged Putin penthouse
Washington Examiner
The House Intelligence Committee plans to probe the Trump Organization’s alleged efforts in 2016 to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a free penthouse in a proposed Trump property in Moscow, according to a new report.

OPINION

Opinion: Let’s work together to build a better Oregon
The Oregonian/OregonLive
At the Oregon Leadership Summit on Monday, leaders from some segments of the business community have an opportunity to do something different this year. We challenge them to work together with a more diverse group of businesses and elected leaders to make targeted investments in our public schools and other essential public services and to play a collaborative role in making needed reforms to our revenue system.

Pro-Con: Is carbon tax the right way to fight climate change?
The Daily Astorian
The U.S. leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have plunged to their lowest level in a generation, while CO2 emissions around the globe have risen 50 percent since 1990. How did we do it? Increased use of natural gas in power generation is the single biggest factor. With technological advances unlocking previously inaccessible natural gas reserves, the affordable, reliable fuel has become the leading source for electricity generation — reducing carbon emissions to levels not seen since 1992.

Why Are Americans So Sad?
National Review
There ought not to be shame about missing the company of others. We are not meant to be alone, and we don’t find emotional succor or physical satisfaction in relationships with screens. The Washington Post suggests that the solution may be found in more funding for mental-health services and drug treatment. Maybe. But it seems to me that we’re facing not so much a drug problem as a heartbreak problem. The road back to emotional health must include a re-emphasis on commitment to family.

SURPRISE: Governor Kate Brown’s Budget Proposal Requires $3 Billion In New Taxes

Says Oregon Should “Grow Up” and Pay For Massive Spending Increases without PERS Reform

Wilsonville, OR –  The Oregon Republican Party issued the following statement reacting to Governor Brown’s budget announcement today:

Newly-elected Oregon State House Republican Leader Carl Wilson has pointed out that despite $1 Billion in record revenues to be spent, the Governor proposes yet another $2 Billion in spending even though it was recently revealed that the state has a “shortfall” of $623 Million.

“The tax hikes to fund Kate Brown’s ballooning budget will hit Oregonians and it’s job creators hard,” stated Oregon Republican Chairman Bill Currier.  “It is important to remember that Governor Brown managed to dupe voters by refusing to reveal before election day what her actual spending and tax plans were.  Kate’s Offensive October Lies have been replaced by her Nasty November Surprise.”

In making her announcement this morning, Governor Brown declared that, given the “current strong economy,” it is time for Oregon to “grow up as a state” and pay for the record spending and tax increases, which she described as “structural changes” to compensate for decades of “underinvestment” that is now needed to pay for “repair, reform, and reinvestment.”

“Kate Brown’s statement was condescending and insulting to the people of Oregon,” said Chair Currier.  “However, this appears to be Brown’s way of proposing to soak taxpayers with multibillion-dollar tax hikes to fund double-digit budget increases without any real reform of the PERS costs that are devouring state and local budgets, especially education.  We will see if her party’s new legislative supermajority imposes this on hardworking Oregonians.”

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.

Link to Online Posting:

https://oregon.gop/kate-brown-budget-requires-big-tax-hikes-2018-11-28

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.

###

Oregon Republican Party

Communications Director

Kevin Hoar
Email:
communications.director@oregon.gop

Website: Oregon.GOP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oregonrepublicanparty/

Twitter: @Oregon_GOP

XML Feed: https://oregon.gop/rss.xml

Main: (503) 595-8881

Direct: (503) 902-4671

Fax: (503) 697-5555

Headquarters: 25375 SW Parkway Ave, Suite 200, Wilsonville, OR 97070

November 28, 2018 Daily Clips

TOP STORIES

Oregon Budget Proposal Targets Health, Housing — And Donald Trump
OPB
Gov. Kate Brown unveiled a $23.6 billion budget proposal Wednesday that plugs holes in state health funding, seeks to gain ground in an ongoing housing crisis, expands access to voting and sets aside millions for challenging the policies of President Donald Trump.

Brown’s budget focus: Schools, schools, schools
Portland Tribune
Revealing ambitions for her final term, Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday announced a record expansion of school funding, a revamping of the state approach to energy issues and readying for legal battle against the Trump administration.

Governor focuses on education, campaign finance reform
The Associated Press
Gov. Kate Brown has unveiled her budget and policy proposals for the next biennium, saying she wants to boost education funding, push campaign finance reform, ensure continued access to health insurance coverage and fund legal counseling for immigrants facing deportation.

Oregon Unions Join Nike In New Push For Tax Package In Legislature
OPB
Oregon’s public employee unions joined forces Tuesday with Nike and a group of long-term care providers to launch a new coalition aimed at pushing a major tax package through next year’s Legislature.

Central Oregon school districts support governor’s 180-school-day goal
Bend Bulletin
Gov. Kate Brown has made it clear: She wants a 180-day school year statewide, which would stretch the school year for most Central Oregon students by about two weeks. Administrators in the region’s six largest school districts agree the longer year would benefit students, but some are worried about what it would cost.

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Oregon House Republicans’ New Leader Looking Beyond The 2019 Session
OPB
The new Republican leader in the Oregon House has no illusions about what the next two years hold for his caucus. Given the difficulty Republicans will face in pushing their policy objectives in a year when Democrats plan to take on education funding, carbon pricing, gun control and more, Wilson says his caucus will work toward another end: regaining seats in the next election.
Grants Pass Rep. Carl Wilson chosen as House minority leader
Salem Reporter
State Rep. Carl Wilson, a Republican of Grants Pass, was elected Monday to serve as House minority leader. Wilson said Tuesday he’s equipped to lead the smaller caucus with a “steady hand.”

Republicans maintain monopoly of Marion County Commissioners as Colm Willis wins
The Statesman Journal
Republican Colm Willis has defeated Democrat Bill Burgess for Marion County Commissioner Position 2 by less than three percent in the final results of the Nov. 6 election, which were certified Monday.He will join incumbent Republicans Sam Brentano and Kevin Cameron, who defeated Shelaswau Crier 50 percent to 44 percent in the Nov. 6 election, as Marion County Commissioners.

LOCAL

OSU climate change report a mixed bag for Central Oregon forests
Bend Bulletin
A new report produced by Oregon State University paints a surprisingly rosy picture for many Pacific Northwest forests in the face of climate change, but the impact on forests east of the Cascades is much more of a mixed bag.

Affordable housing controversy in NW Portland heads to City Council
The Oregonian/OregonLive
A neighborhood group has asked the Portland City Council to block a proposed affordable housing development in Northwest Portland, saying it’s too big for the surrounding historic district.

Salem bans carryout plastic bags in city
The Oregonian/OregonLive
The Salem City Council has banned plastic carryout bags throughout the city. The measure gives large stores such as Costco until April to comply while smaller businesses will have until September to follow the rules.

Teen suicide: Salem tackles taboo subject in wake of Sprague crisis
The Statesman Journal
Mental health professionals and school officials no longer view youth suicide as a private family matter but as a public health crisis. They are imploring parents to talk openly to their children and calling on teenagers to help create awareness.

 

Environmentalists sue over acidic ocean off Oregon coast
KATU
An environmental group is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that fossil fuel consumption has damaged Oregon’s marine waters by causing ocean acidification that’s killing off shellfish.

Pendleton chamber and downtown association join forces
East Oregonian
The Pendleton Downtown Association and the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce are moving in together, but they’re going to keep some of their assets separate.

Why the plan to end homelessness in Salem, Marion, Polk counties stalled for 10 years
The Statesman Journal
A decade ago, Salem-area leaders embarked on a mission — a 10-year plan to end homelessness. But as January 2018 arrived and the deadline neared, homelessness was worse.

NATIONAL

US, Portland home prices grow at slowest rate in years
The Oregonian/OregonLive
U.S. home prices rose at their slowest pace in nearly two years as the national housing hot streak cooled off. The trend follows the Portland area’s lead. Home prices grew 5.1 percent year-over-year, the slowest growth in six years.

Trump slams Fed chair, questions climate change and threatens to cancel Putin meeting in wide-ranging interview with The Post
The Washington Post

President Trump placed responsibility for recent stock market declines and this week’s announcement of General Motors plant closures and layoffs on the Federal Reserve during an interview Tuesday, shirking any personal blame for cracks in the economy and declaring that he is “not even a little bit happy” with his hand-selected central bank chairman.


OPINION

Opinion: Looking to Finland to improve Oregon’s schools
The Oregonian/OregonLive
Oregon is at a critical moment when it comes to education. As such, the opportunity to share learnings from Oregon at an international summit in Helsinki, Finland, was an opportunity we couldn’t miss.