HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
JULY 21, 2017 DAILY CLIPS
The Daily Astorian
“What kind of world are we headed for when district attorneys are expected to act like defense attorneys?” Betsy Johnson said. “Who will stand up for victims? Not Jennifer Williamson and the Oregon Legislature.”
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
The latest move carries far more significance than the budget fight in Salem. This industry victory has been authored by a state agency that answers to the governor, an indicator that her commitment to her clean air overhaul may be wavering amid business opposition.
EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION
Thousands of students will learn next month whether they will receive Oregon Promise grants to help reduce the cost of tuition at community college this fall, but hundreds of applicants who would’ve qualified during the program’s first year will receive some bad news. The promise, a last-dollar scholarship program approved by lawmakers in 2015 to great acclaim nationally, is no longer available to any and all qualified Oregonians.
In releasing the final rates Thursday, insurance regulators with Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services said they serve as further evidence the state’s health insurance market is stabilizing, contrary to claims from President Trump and Republicans in Congress that it’s in a “death spiral.” The past two years have been tumultuous, with double-digit rate hikes and companies pulling out of rural counties or leaving the state’s market altogether. “We are seeing signs of stability,” said DCBS spokesman Jake Sunderland.
On the individual market, the changes announced Thursday range from an average 1.6 percent dip for BridgeSpan Health Company to an average 14.8 percent increase for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest. For small businesses, the average changes range from increases of 3.3 to 10.1 percent.
Larry Mullins, Samaritan’s president and CEO, said tax changes and a capping of state reimbursement for current and retired employees medical care could cost Samaritan as much as $24 million annually. “We are looking at cutting programs, especially those that might not be profitable,” Mullins said. “We have always known that alcohol and drug rehabilitation would not be profitable, but we believe it is needed in our communities. We are still prepared to move forward with it, but we need more solid information at this time.” “This Legislative session has really created some challenges for hospitals,” Mullins said.
Motorists will face the possibility of tolls on Interstates 5 and 205 in the metropolitan area, but not until 2019 after a study is completed — and only if the Federal Highway Administration says yes.
AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES
The Associated Press
“The purpose of this action is to change the pack’s behavior,” said Donny Martorello, a wolf manager for the agency. “That means incrementally removing wolves and assessing the results before taking any further action.”
Herald and News
Looking over their field of 5,000 thriving hemp plants, Marianne and Marvin Yong, the owners of Wholly Hemp Farm, said their mission is to educate the Klamath Falls community about the industrial plant’s potential, ranging from textiles to building material to medicine. “It got kind of lumped in with its crazy, wild sister marijuana,” said Marianne Yong. “That’s what I tell people: Hemp is the boring, smarter cousin of the cannabis family. But it’s really exciting stuff, and really, the potential is limitless at this point.”
Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, and Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Pendleton, certified a ballot title with the Elections Division for Initiative Petition 2018-022, which is proposed for the November 6, 2018 General Election. The trio is hoping voters will support repealing Oregon Statute 181.850, which states law enforcement agencies may not use agency money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people who are only violating federal immigration laws by being foreign citizens in the United States.
The Associated Press
Federal and state agencies are investigating whether there was a link between a series of wildfires in Southeastern Oregon and military training exercises. Officials believe the seven small fires that ignited on July 11 could have been connected because they were all attributed to human activity, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Oregon Republican Rep. Julie Parrish alleges an advocacy group has “taken extreme liberties” in her district to schedule a “fake” town hall purportedly in her name. Our Oregon, the advocacy group organizing the town hall in West Linn for Aug. 1, says they never told people Parrish would attend the town hall. Instead, they say, she was invited to attend and discuss health care issues with her constituents. The group says Parrish declined that invitation. Parrish went on to refer to Our Oregon as “political operatives with a political agenda.” “They’ve perpetrated this ploy not just in my district, but in several others as well,” she wrote.
A gross receipts tax is flawed for a number of reasons. For instance, it taxes businesses even if they don’t make a profit. It’s wrong to tax necessities like food and health care. Proposals in Oregon have aimed to do both. The Democrats who control Oregon government proved this past legislative session that they are not very thoughtful about controlling government spending and are very eager to increase government taxes. Oregonians should send them a message that food should not be taxed.
Matthew Desmond’s powerful (and remarkably even-handed) book “Evicted” makes a compelling case that a stable residence is an essential part of helping people out of poverty. Working toward a compromise on no-cause evictions could benefit not just tenants and landlords but all Oregonians.
The Associated Press
Spicer’s decision appears linked to the appointment of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci. The people with knowledge of the decision spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter publicly.
Today in a speech, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that law enforcement agencies from across the globe earlier this month shut down AlphaBay, the largest marketplace for illicit substance and services on the dark web.
The Associated Press
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had decided to impose “geographical travel restriction” for North Korea, the officials said, which would make it illegal to use U.S. passports to enter the country. They said the restriction would be published in the Federal Register next week and will take effect 30 days after that.