ICYMI: Pass Whisnant’s PERS reform bill



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Pass Whisnant’s PERS reform bill


Editorial: Pass Whisnant’s PERS reform bill

Bend Bulletin Editorial Board


Even without full-blown reform of the state’s Public Employees Retirement System pension rules, there are small changes to be made that could save the system money and make it more equitable. State Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, has found one of those changes and will introduce a bill to effect it in next year’s short legislative session.


Call it the “Mike Bellotti Pension Reform Act,” if you wish.


Bellotti, the former University of Oregon football coach and athletic director, collects more than $45,000 per month in PERS benefits, based on a final salary of more than $1.3 million a year. But there’s a catch. Only $299,000 of that sum actually came in salary from the University of Oregon. Much of the rest came from outside sources but was included when the state calculated Bellotti’s retirement benefit.


Thus, Bellotti, in his final years at UO, received endorsement money from Nike and the Oregon Sports Network, according to The Oregonian. In addition, there were ticket sales incentives and other perks that boosted his final salary.


It’s worth remembering that Bellotti, while he’s the beneficiary of a system that allows Oregon’s public employees to boost their final salaries with money from outside sources, did not game the system. State law says universities and community colleges must adopt standards governing outside income; it does not prevent that income from being lumped in with regular wages when calculating PERS benefits.


Whisnant’s bill would change that by making it clear that money from outside work, even if it must be approved by the university, cannot be counted as part of a public employee’s salary.

The change would not automatically erase PERS’s financial problems, to be sure. The system’s unfunded liability, currently pegged at more than $25 billion, won’t change much if Whisnant’s bill is approved.


What the bill will do is close a gaping PERS loophole. Whisnant’s bill should be approved.


Click here to view this editorial online.






Mark your political calendar, the next year will be busy

Bend Bulletin

Elections come fast and furious in Oregon. It’s less than a year until the 2018 election, when Oregon will choose a governor. But the political marathon has months to go until that final day. Voters will see a lot of electoral activity in the meantime.

The Man Who Knows More Than Anybody Else About Oregon’s Tax System is Retiring

Willamette Week

State Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), the chairman of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee, has worked closely with Warner for years. “Paul Warner is one of the most treasured people in state government,” Hass says. “Gracious, kind and a talented. Everyone appreciated his evenhanded approach to working through difficult problems. His kind, helpful demeanor is remarkably the same, whether he’s talking to the governor, a legislator, an intern or a reporter. Oregon’s government will not be the same without him. There are plenty of talented economists—but they will not fill his boots.”

Oregon pays $750k to foster kids who were isolated in Spanish-speaking foster home

The Oregonian

The state of Oregon has paid $750,000 to three English-speaking foster kids who were placed in the Gresham home of Spanish-speaking foster parents and forced to wear filthy clothes smelling of urine and sleep in a windowless basement.

Former NFL Quarterback Drew Bledsoe Weighs in on Oregon’s Governor’s Race

Willamette Week

On Nov. 21, Buehler, who’s seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, next year, reported an in-kind campaign contribution from Bledsoe—$3,528 worth of wine for a campaign event. (Bledsoe twice donated to Buehler’s legislative campaigns in the past, $500 each time.)


Small businesses face big hurdles to survive

East Oregonian

According to the federal Small Business Administration, about a third of businesses fail within the first two years and only half make it past five. Those odds are what have helped inspire “shop local” and pro-small business movements like Small Business Saturday, which encourages people to shop at a small business the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


Portland schools’ top lawyer lacks an Oregon law license

The Oregonian

Portland Public Schools’ top lawyer isn’t licensed to practice law in Oregon despite being on staff since June. Now he is quitting the job that requires him to hold that credential. Jim Harris resigned after less than six months on the job, Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero announced Monday. The Oregon State Bar informed Harris on Nov. 9 that it is investigating whether he illegally practiced law by serving as the school district’s general counsel without being admitted to practice in Oregon.

Expert says PPS lawyer’s lack of license is a problem

Portland Tribune

An expert in professional conduct for lawyers says the fact that Portland Public Schools’ new general counsel, Jim Harris, lacks a license to practice in Oregon is a problem that likely violates state ethics rules. “It’s pretty simple,” Lucian Pera, a nationally recognized expert on legal ethics, tells the Portland Tribune. “You’ve got to be recognized by a jurisdiction somehow before you can act as a lawyer.”

Texas fires special-education director, citing past allegations in Oregon

Associated Press

They say they fired Kash after learning that she is being sued in Oregon for allegedly trying to cover up sexual abuse of a 6-year-old student. Kash was the director of special education at the Rainier School District at that time. The suit is filed by two former employees who say Kash and her husband, the district’s superintendent, did not believe the allegations and ordered them not to report the outcry.

Rudy Crew, much criticized in Oregon, could become president of City University of New York

The Oregonian

Education leader Rudy Crew, who spurred controversy during his year as Oregon’s inaugural chief education officer, has been named by the New York Daily News as a potential candidate to become president of the City University of New York. Crew, who left Oregon after 13 months in his $280,000-a-year Salem job, is president of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, a job he has held for four years. That college is one of 24 senior colleges, community colleges and graduate and professional schools that comprise the City University of New York.


Oregonians buying health coverage face new deadline, changes

Portland Tribune

Shrinking networks of doctors and hospitals covered by plans increasingly lurk as pitfalls in the individual market, which serves more than 200,000 Oregonians. And so does a landscape of premiums and subsidies that continues to shift.


Housing emergency declared in Grants Pass

Associated Press

A rural county in southern Oregon has joined larger West Coast places in declaring a housing emergency. The Josephine County Board of Commissioners took the action this week, hoping to free up state assistance and suspend some state rules, the Daily Courier reported . The board asked Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to declare a two-year emergency.

OCHS fighting homelessness in Oregon with new funding

My Columbia Basin

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has announced the release of $40 million in funding to provide homeless prevention and assistance to Oregonians statewide. The Community Action Agency and partners across the state will be implementing those resources and delivering through the Emergency Housing Assistance program and State Homeless Assistance Program. Both of these resources are used to immediately get Oregonians off the street and into shelter and help them eventually find long-term, stable housing.

Oregon Housing releases $40 million to assist homeless, at-risk

Suislaw News

“OHCS and the Community Action Agencies have an important opportunity to use this historic investment to make significant progress toward our goals of reducing homelessness, reaching the hardest to serve, and ensuring that Oregonians have a safe and stable place to call home,” said Governor Brown.


Lawsuit Argues Jail’s ICE Contract Violates Oregon Sanctuary Law

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A Wasco County Judge is set to hear arguments Wednesday about whether Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facilities, known as NORCOR, are violating Oregon’s sanctuary law.


Wolves’ return to Oregon brings conflict and opportunity

Associated Press

Today, Oregon’s statehood is secure, but the future of its wolf population once more hangs in the balance. Wolves have returned after decades, and this time, humans are having a much more contentious discussion about what to do with them. It’s a political debate playing out against the backdrop of a rapidly growing wolf population, a jump in wolf poaching and demands from ranchers and hunters who say the predators are decimating herds and spooking big game.


Health center scores $13.2M loan

The Dalles Chronicle

John Huffman, in his new role as state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, announced Monday that the agency was investing $13.2 million to improve access to health care services for Gorge communities. The loan will be used by One Community Health, a nonprofit provider, to replace its Hood River dental and medical complex, 1220 Indian Creek Road.


Editorial: Pass Whisnant’s PERS reform bill

Bend Bulletin

Even without full-blown reform of the state’s Public Employees Retirement System pension rules, there are small changes to be made that could save the system money and make it more equitable. State Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, has found one of those changes and will introduce a bill to effect it in next year’s short legislative session. Call it the “Mike Bellotti Pension Reform Act,” if you wish.

Editorial: State hasn’t earned trust for a $700 million new tax

Bend Bulletin

Oregonians of all political parties need to make one thing clear before the short 2018 legislative session begins: We don’t trust state officials to spend wisely what could be as much as $700 million a year in new revenues. That $700 million is what the state might collect each year if lawmakers approve a new “cap and invest” carbon tax in 2018. The tax would charge some, but perhaps not all, large businesses for their carbon output.

Editorial: Money woes add up fast for Health Authority

Albany Democrat-Herald

There is one additional thing that might help Brown make the case, but it’s a step she’s resisted: She can appoint an independent investigator to delve into the workings of the Health Authority. Brown has expressed confidence in Allen, but he might welcome an additional set of eyes on the issue. And it would put a concrete action behind the governor’s promises about transparency in this matter. It might help ease the concerns of some voters. An independent investigation would be of benefit in other ways as well: It could help clarify exactly what went wrong and help the Health Authority avoid similar mistakes in the future. The governor should set aside her reservations and give the green light to an independent investigation.

Editorial: Oregonians are right to have suspicious minds

Bend Bulletin

It’s possible Garrett has a poor memory. It’s possible Garrett doesn’t have the humility or wisdom to admit when he doesn’t know or remember. But what we do know is Garrett is the man in charge of a state agency managing millions and millions of taxpayer dollars. Remember what happened in 2015? He failed for two weeks to share updated numbers with a workgroup trying to put together a transportation package. It killed the deal. And he purposefully misled legislators about problems at ODOT or he didn’t know the seriousness of the mistakes his department makes. Is it any wonder Oregonians are suspicious of state government?

Editorial: State should invest in OSU-Cascades

Bend Bulletin

Investing in the campus equals investing in the future of Oregon. It could help move more of the state from a resource-based economy to a technology and medical base. Central Oregon can be the tip of that future. But the region is underserved by higher education opportunities. It is underserved by the advanced workforce training needed.

Editorial: Where a ‘home for everyone’ collides with ‘not in my neighborhood’

The Oregonian Editorial Board

A city-commissioned report by Johnson Economics warned that the proposed cap would make building in Portland less profitable, thereby discouraging builders and resulting in fewer new units built in Portland than under current laws. Considering that Portland is in a crisis because the housing supply is already tens of thousands of units short, it makes no sense to adopt a cap that would further crimp supply.

Editorial: Filling a tech need


Oregon Tech should take a bow for seeing a serious need and devising a practical program to help meet it, as should the businesses supporting the new program.

Editorial: A homeless kid in every classroom


The state Department of Education reported on Nov. 15 that 22,541 students in Oregon schools were homeless last year, or 3.9 percent of the entire public school population. That’s nearly one child in 25. That’s one per classroom.

Editorial: Republican tax plans could hurt Oregon college students

Daily Astorian

The Republican tax plans making their way through Congress would hurt Oregon college students, especially ones who attend private, nonprofit schools.

Column: Thankful for the rich

Elizabeth Hovde, The Oregonian

Do the rich benefit from this tax plan? Yes. Tax cuts will hit people who pay the most taxes. Cutting income taxes for lower-income families, who already have no income-tax burden, isn’t possible.

Guest: The time to prepare for winter is now

Seth Crawford, Crook County Judge

It’s also critically important that every citizen keeps emergency supplies in their home. The State of Oregon recommends that every Oregonian have a minimum of two weeks of food, water, prescription medication and basic necessities on hand at all times. In addition to these supplies, it is important to have alternative cooking and heating sources.

Guest: Emissions cap boosts kids’ health

Joel Nigg, OHSU

I support strategies like the Clean Energy Jobs bill to protect our air for the next generation. Kids raised with healthy air learn better. With so many challenges to their development, it only makes sense to fix what we can. That will help them be better able to focus, and over time should reduce their problems with attention and self-regulation that are important for success in school. Healthier, more successful children are the ultimate investment. They become healthier, more successful adults, with better occupational outcomes and fewer problems with the judicial or other systems.


Oregon Politicians Divided on Issue of Net Neutrality

Associated Press

Two of Oregon’s most powerful politicians have spoken out in favor and against recent federal action to begin repealing online net neutrality regulations established during the Obama administration. Net neutrality describes open access to the internet, requiring service providers to offer free and equal access to online material. The Federal Communications Commission moved Tuesday to begin repealing the restrictions, which could enable big internet carriers to charge extra for online services such as Netflix.

Tax cuts, government shutdown on Congress’ agenda as Christmas deadline looms

The Oregonian

The crush of unfinished business facing lawmakers when they return to the Capitol would be daunting even if Washington were functioning at peak efficiency. It’s an agenda whose core items — tax cuts, a potential government shutdown, lots of leftover spending bills — could unravel just as easily as advance in factionalism, gamesmanship and a toxic political environment.





Businessman from The Dalles appointed to Oregon Legislature

The Oregonian

In a statement, Bonham said his appointment to the Legislature is “an incredible honor.” “While I know I have big shoes to fill, I believe my desire and passion for helping people in conjunction with my business background will make me an effective leader in Salem,” he said.


Commissioners pick Bonham to fill Huffman’s House seat


The Dalles businessman Daniel Bonham was appointed Monday by a vote of Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes and Wheeler county commissioners to serve out the Oregon House District 59 term of John Huffman, another The Dalles resident who recently resigned from the position. Bonham, 40, owns a stoves and spa business and and will fill the remainder of Huffman’s term in office after Huffman vacated the seat to accept a federal appointment.


Capitol Roundup: State gets new legislator as Congress debates taxes

Bend Bulletin

The Central Oregon delegation to the Legislature added a new member Monday. Republican businessman Daniel Bonham, of The Dalles, was chosen by a special panel of commissioners representing counties in the 59th House District, which includes northern Deschutes County and all of Jefferson County, as well as Wheeler and part of Wasco counties.


Oregon health agency’s money troubles double in new report

The Oregonian

Due to errors involving abortion, prison, undocumented immigrants and other factors, the state might have overpaid its contractors or owe other entities as much as $78 million, Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen disclosed in a letter to Gov. Kate Brown made public Friday. That’s on top of $74 million in overpayments The Oregonian/OregonLive reported last month.


ODOT director says problems at Motor Carrier Division have been fixed

Statesman Journal

Oregon Department of Transportation director Matt Garrett told a legislative committee last week that the agency has fixed problems at its Motor Carrier Division detailed in a recent internal audit, a 15-month, $180,000 Oregon Department of Justice investigation and a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit settlement.


Another Oregon State Senator Accuses Kruse Of Inappropriate Touching

A second lawmaker filed a formal complaint on Tuesday accusing Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, of unwanted touching, even after she asked legislative lawyers to intervene. In her complaint, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, detailed a recent conversation with Kruse in which she explained why his behavior bothers her.


Oregon Democrats Vote To Keep Party Primary Closed

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon Democratic Party won’t allow non-affiliated voters to take part in its 2018 primary. At a party meeting in Portland on Sunday, a resolution to open the Democratic primary did not get the two-thirds majority needed to pass.


Wheeler seeks 5 percent cuts in next budget

Portland Tribune

Mayor says the city needs to save money to pay for cost increases, like salary and PERS premium increases.




Portland tolling committee begins work

Portland Tribune

The 25-member committee is charged with recommending tolling options for Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in the Portland metropolitan area.


Portland Region Officials Begin Work On Congestion Pricing Tolling Plan

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The advisory committee is supposed to deliver recommendations to the transportation commission by June 2018. The next step is to seek federal approval for a congestion pricing plan by the end of next year.


What Oregon’s new “Transportation Bill” means for you: Part 1


When House Bill 2017 goes into effect January first, the average Oregon driver will pay eight cents for each mile driven in gas tax and registration. That’s about $6 to $40 each month, and nearly $77 a year in exchange, for better roads and more reliable trips. Money from HB 2017, also known as the Transportation Bill, will fund major projects within the state.


TriMet Blames “Economic Displacement” for Decline in Portland-Area Bus Riders

Willamette Week

“Ridership loss has been driven by a diverse range of factors including changing employment levels and recession era fare increases and service cuts,” write TriMet senior planner Tom Mills and TriMet data analyst Madeline Steele. “TriMet’s analysis surfaced one driver of ridership loss that stood out among the rest: the impact of the economic displacement of low-income earners from inner city neighborhoods to first ring suburbs.”




Knute Buehler talks safe opioid prescribing practices

Portland Business Journal

“This is becoming a huge political issue,” Buehler, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, told about 100 doctors assembled at the Salishan Conference Center in Gleneden Beach. “We have a full-blown public health crisis in this country. It’s becoming increasingly devastating and personal.”




Lane County unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in October, virtually unchanged from September


The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in October compared with 4.7 percent in September, according to the Employment Department.




Deer and elk disease comes to Central Oregon

Bend Bulletin

Oregon saw its first confirmed case of a fatal and easily spread disease that affects deer and elk earlier this month, thanks to a Madras hunter.




Editorial: Time for Sen. Kruse to resign

The Oregonian

So do the elected officials in the Capitol who have wasted time in recent years carefully choosing how they navigate the halls and where they sit to avoid unwanted contact. Please vacate your seat, Senator, and make room for someone who will respect their colleagues and can actually get the work done.


Editorial: Kruse should resign


If Kruse were to resign, it would not be the first time: He quit a House seat in 2004 to run for the position he now holds in the Senate. But his resignation came 125 days after he moved out of his House district — throughout that period, Kruse was in violation of the constitutional requirement that legislators live among the people they represent. Kruse appears willing to ignore the rules when it suits his purposes. The people of District 1 deserve full representation, particularly when the Legislature convenes in February. Kruse’s problems aren’t likely to be cleared up before then. He can serve his constituents best by resigning.


Editorial: Ethics panel shows it has a little bite


Kitzhaber said he was surprised by the reaction of the commissioners, and added that he’s not as worried about the level of the fine as he is in “clarifying how the Commission believes I may have violated Oregon ethics laws, having an opportunity to respond to the Commission’s allegations, and then assuming responsibility for any infractions I may have committed.” And, indeed, all of that would be good — and it has the potential to bring this matter to a more satisfying conclusion than a $1,000 fine could have supplied. But if the commission wants to reach that endpoint (and, in the process, leave a clear message for other Oregon public servants to heed), it will need to remember that it has a bite to go along with its bark.


Editorial: Oregon governor should confront climate change in ways that help economy, as well as environment

Daily Astorian

Continuing that theme, Kate Brown said that a small state such as Oregon can have a global impact by being a petri dish for innovation. We hope that she returned from COP 23 energized to confront climate change in concrete ways that help the state’s economy — especially in rural Oregon — as well as the environment.


Editorial: Don’t use speech to deny the speech of others

Bend Bulletin

Schill and the UO administration should stand their ground. Protest is a time-honored tradition on university campuses. But that doesn’t mean anyone should be able to use their speech as a weapon to deny others the right to be heard.


Guest: Gun control laws do make a difference

Paul Kemp is a gun owner and a founding member of Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership and an advisory member of the Giffords Oregon Coalition

There is no denying that gun violence is a complex problem. But as a founding board member of Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, I know there are some evidence-based steps that Oregon’s leaders can take to help the roughly 450 Oregonians who die every year from gun violence.


Guest: Gov. Brown calls cybersecurity top priority

Alex Z. Pettit is the state’s chief information officer

The people of Oregon entrust public and private institutions with their most sensitive personal and financial information. Oregonians’ expectations of privacy shouldn’t hinge on the agency or business with whom they are transacting. However, increasingly sophisticated and coordinated cyber attacks put this information at ever-greater risk. Individual and isolated interventions are no longer sufficient to defend our businesses, our communities or our people.


Editorial: Protecting elephants


If the U.S. wants to help preserve a threatened species — which happens to be the emblem of the Republican Party — and support economic growth in African countries, a better alternative is to support ecotourism. This type of tourism attracts far more visitors to an area — and more money and jobs for the local population — than trophy hunts for a small number of the financial elite.




As net neutrality heads for repeal, Oregon’s Walden and Wyden lead opposite ends of the debate

The Oregonian

The Federal Communications Commission moved Tuesday to begin repealing regulations established during the Obama administration that seek to ensure “net neutrality.” It’s a hot-button issue that has long divided two of Oregon’s most powerful politicians.



County Commissioners Select Daniel Bonham for House District 59 State Representative


Filling Vacancy Left By Departure of Rep. John Huffman

Wilsonville, OR – Meeting together at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Madras yesterday, three County Commissioners from each of Deschutes, Jefferson, Wasco, Wheeler Counties selected Daniel Bonham for House District 59 State Representative filling the vacancy left by the departure of Rep. John Huffman.

The three Republican nominees considered – small business owner Daniel Bonham, director & chair of the Redmond Patriots Bob Perry, and Jefferson Co. Commissioner Mae Huston – were chosen from a total field of five candidates by a vote of the Republican Precinct Committee Persons comprising House District 59 at a special nominating convention held by the Oregon Republican Party on Saturday, November 11th in Madras, Oregon.  In making the appointment yesterday, commissioners interviewed the three Republican nominees and cast their votes which were weighted according to the number of voters from their counties registered within the boundaries of State House District 59.


“Thank you to all three Republicans for stepping up to be considered for this appointment. I offer my best wishes to all of the candidates and my congratulations to Representative-designate Bonham,” said Bill Currier, Chair of the Oregon Republican Party.


Bonham will be officially sworn in as the House District 59 Representative by the Speaker of the House Kotek before the next Oregon Legislature session starting February 1st, 2018.  This seat is one of four vacated, Republican-held legislative seats to be filled prior to the 2018 session.


On October 30th, 2017, Republican Representative John Huffman resigned from office to take a position with the Federal Department of Agriculture leading the agencies overseeing rural development in Oregon.  Huffman’s replacement will serve for the remainder of the two-year term, which, in this case, is until January 13, 2019.


“We thank Rep. Huffman for his service to Oregon and look forward to Representative-designate Bonham carrying on the vital work of advancing Republican solutions as an alternative to the failed Democrat One-Party-State in Salem,” added Chair Currier.

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.




Daniel Bonham appointed as State Representative for House District 59


Small business owner and The Dalles resident eager to make an impact in Salem


Madras, Ore. – Daniel Bonham has been appointed by a vote of Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes and Wheeler County Commissioners to serve as the State Representative for House District 59. Bonham, 40, is a resident of The Dalles and a small business owner. He will fill the remainder of former Representative John Huffman’s term in office after Rep. Huffman vacated to seat to accept a federal appointment.


“It is truly an incredible honor to have the opportunity to represent my friends and neighbors as their state representative in Salem,” said Bonham. “I am humbled to have earned the support of Republican precinct committee persons as well as the county commissioners. While I know I have big shoes to fill, I believe my desire and passion for helping people in conjunction with my business background will make me an effective leader in Salem. I am excited to get to work on behalf of the residents of House District 59.”


Prior to his appointment, Daniel served as a member of The Dalles city budget committee as well as urban renewal budget committee. He and his wife, Lorilyn, are active volunteers in The Dalles community. In 2014, Dan and Lori rejuvenated The Dalles Booster Club, raising over $100,000 in two years to enhance the high school athletic experience for local student athletes. They are also active in their local church and have participated in recent mission trips to Guatemala and Thailand.


“Daniel’s background as a small business owner and leader in his community will make him a great addition to the Legislature,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “House Republicans are excited to welcome him to our caucus and look forward to serving alongside him.”


Daniel and Lori have lived in The Dalles for the last decade. Together, they have two children, Jennifer and Jack.


House District 59 includes the communities of Culver, Fossil, Madras, Maupin, Metolius, Mitchell, Mosier, Sisters, The Dalles, as well as unincorporated areas of Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes and Wheeler Counties.





House Republicans announce leadership team for 2018 session




Salem, Ore. – Oregon House Republicans today announced their leadership team for the 2018 legislative session. House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) will continue serving in his role as caucus leader, surrounded by a cast of veteran lawmakers who have a record achieving results in the Legislature.


“House Republicans are excited to get back to work on behalf of Oregonians in 2018,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane, who has served as caucus leaders since 2012. “We have an excellent leadership team in place headed into the February legislative session and I look forward to working alongside them and the rest of my colleagues in the Republican caucus to restore some common sense to our state government.”


2018 House Republican Leadership Team


  • Rep. Mike McLane, Republican Leader
  • Rep. Greg Barreto, Republican Deputy Leader
  • Rep. Duane Stark, Republican Whip
  • Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, Assistant Leader
  • Rep. Carl Wilson, Assistant Leader
  • Rep. Cliff Bentz, Assistant Leader


Leader McLane and Deputy Leader Barreto were re-elected and elected to their respective positions in November 2016. Whip Stark was elected to his position on Monday after the previous Republican Whip, Rep. Jodi Hack, stepped down as part of her transition out of her legislative service. Assistant Leaders are appointed by Leader McLane on a rolling basis.


The 2018 legislative session will begin February 5, 2018.




Daily Clips





Treasurer discusses OregonSaves rollout at AMEA meeting

Portland Tribune

“We are doing something no other state is doing — taking on Oregon’s retirement crisis,” Read said. “I want to help every Oregonian achieve financial security.”


Spurred by Mosier derailment fire, Oregon Legislature takes on oil trains

Statesman Journal

Oregon has the weakest oil train regulation among West Coast states. Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, has vowed to change that. He plans to introduce a bill in the 2018 session to bring the state up to par with its neighbors. “Washington is way ahead of us in the area of protecting the public and the environment, as well as first responders,” Courtney said.


Oregon Spent $260,000 For Military Backup During Eclipse

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The agency’s deputy director, Dave Stuckey, told members of the Oregon Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee that the bulk of money paid Oregon National Guard soldiers called into active duty. “We activated 155 soldiers and Air Guard personnel,” he said. The costs also included the use of military equipment. “Forty-eight Humvees, two Blackhawk helicopters, two Lakota helicopters,” Stuckey said. “We wanted to be able to respond and help just in case.”


Rep. Stark named House whip

Mail Tribune

Rep. Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass, has been elected by his peers to serve as the Republican caucus whip, according to a release from the Oregon House Republican Office. Stark said in the release that he looks forward to forging “bipartisan cooperation with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.” “There is a lot at stake in the 2018 legislative session, and I am excited to get to work,” he said.




Oregon Capitol staffer faced sexual harassment, records show

The Oregonian

A former Capitol staffer who filed what is so far Oregon’s only formal sexual harassment complaint lodged with legislative officials says she was unsatisfied with the way her complaint was handled and upset that her harasser was subsequently hired by another legislator.


Stories Of Sexual Harassment In Salem Suggest Training Isn’t Working

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon Capitol, like others, has a process in place for reporting harassment. And lawmakers receive regular training in how to avoid inappropriate behavior. But the accounts of Gelser and other women in Salem suggest the current structure isn’t working.




Economic Woes Linger In Oregon Communities Scarred By Wildfire

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“Businesses in these areas had sales drop by 30 to 60 percent in their peak time,” said Jason Lewis-Berry, the jobs and economic policy advisor to Gov. Kate Brown. Lewis-Berry cited an analysis from the Oregon Employment Department that found at least 600 seasonal jobs ended “much earlier than usual” in communities affected by wildfires.


Advocates outline fire season’s harm to Oregon economy, seek legislative aid

Statesman Journal

Shipping, lodging, major outdoor events and small businesses tied to tourism were all hurt by wildfires this year, continuing a damaging trend the state needs to address, Oregon business advocates and lawmakers said Tuesday. “This wasn’t the first season that we’ve had fires, it won’t be the last,” said Jason Lewis-Berry, director of the governor’s Regional Solutions program. “We really need to think about economic resilience in communities that could be affected by fires in the future.”


Oregon sees strong job gains

The Associated Press

Oregon employment rebounded from a sluggish late summer by adding 11,600 jobs last month.

The state Employment Department said Tuesday that October’s gain was the largest monthly increase since February.


State gains jobs as October unemployment rate holds steady

Portland Tribune

Oregon added about 11,600 jobs in October as unemployment held steady at about 4.3 percent, from 4.2 percent in September. State employment officials said October’s job gains were the largest monthly increase since 14,100 jobs were added in February. The state’s professional and business services (up 5,300 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (up 3,800 jobs), led the way.


September smoke made measurable dent in Bend tourism

Bend Bulletin

Dugan said late tax payments may still come in, but likely not enough to lift the month out of its record-ending slump. Board member Erick Trachsel, director of sales and marketing at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes hotel and convention center, said business there softened slightly even into October before picking back up.




OSU-Cascades seeking $39 million

Bend Bulletin

A coalition of politicians, educators, business people and students made the case for the 4-year campus in Bend during a hearing of the Senate Interim Committee on Education at the state Capitol. Their message: A wave of K-12 students is building in Central Oregon. They need a university. Businesses are locating and growing in the Bend area. They need qualified workers and future business partners.


Bend-La Pine says new elementary school will be in north Bend

Bend Bulletin

The new, yet-to-be named elementary school will be built on 10 to 12 acres the district still needs to purchase for about $1 million to $1.2 million, paid for with bond money approved earlier this year.




Bonham finalist for Huffman seat

The Dalles Chronicle

Daniel Bonham, owner of Maupin’s Stoves & Spas in The Dalles, is excited to be one of three finalists to replace John Huffman as the representative for House District 59. “I’ve always wanted to do this, and I think the timing is right with my family,” said Bonham, 40, about filling Huffman’s unexpired term, which ends in November 2018.


Tenant Advocates Are Determined to Bulldoze a State Senator Who Is Also a Landlord

Willamette Week

No Oregon politician has a target on his back like Monroe does. Advocates say he has been a crucial vote blocking housing reforms in the Senate. And he’s also a landlord, owning the 51 units of Red Rose Manor along Northeast Glisan Street at the eastern edge of Portland.




Metro to pursue November 2018 affordable housing measure

Portland Tribune

Metro announced Tuesday that it will start talking with local elected leaders and others about placing a regional affordable housing measure on the ballot as early as November 2018. The announcement followed the release of a poll conducted in October that found a majority of voters in the region believe more affordable housing needs to be built and are willing to support a $500 million bond measure.




Editorial: The unaffordable burden of funding every good cause

The Oregonian

Instead voters should look at the long list of commitments they have already made before jumping on the bandwagon of the latest good cause. They should sharply examine measures to see if they address a specific need or are sprawling requests designed to score popularity points. And they should weigh whether the agency seeking the measure is the right steward for such money. Funding every good cause only leaves us less able to fund the ones we absolutely need to.


Editorial: Drilling for tax cuts


Proposals to drill for the oil that may lie beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are hardy perennials in Congress. These proposals have generally been debated and defeated on their merits. But the Arctic refuge is now in danger of becoming a ricochet casualty of congressional Republicans’ drive to cut taxes, mainly for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Only through bad procedure could such a bad policy pass into law.


Guest column: Fuel reduction may not save places from wildfire

George Wuerthner is an ecologist who has published 38 books

Wildfire in your neighborhood is a bad thing that can be reduced or prevented with reasonable building codes and mandatory fire-wise regulations. Wildfire in the forest provides the dead snags and down wood critical to healthy forest ecosystems.


Daily Clips

November 12, 2017 Daily Clips


The veterans who serve in Oregon’s Legislature

Bend Bulletin

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


Whistleblowers, audits critical of ODOT division, lawmakers mostly unaware

Statesman Journal

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


Carbon bill highlight of next week’s Oregon legislative days

Statesman Journal

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


Kate Brown travels to Germany to support climate agreement

The Oregonian

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


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


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


Privatizing Oregon’s Largest Universities? Intriguing But Unlikely


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


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

The Oregonian

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




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

Willamette Week

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


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

The Oregonian

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


State senator Chuck Riley to open Hillsboro office Nov. 17

Portland Tribune

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




Medicaid repayment could have impact on Umpqua Health Alliance

Roseburg News-Review

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


Proven treatment for opioid addiction underused

Bend Bulletin

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




Conservation groups ask governor  to reopen wolf killing investigation


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




Feds accuse Northwest Trustee of illegally foreclosing on veterans

The Oregonian

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




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

Statesman Journal Editorial Board

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


Editorial: Oregon lawmakers shouldn’t promote their favorite causes

Bend Bulletin

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


Guest: Oregon keeps a promise to veterans and military families

Rep. Paul Evans

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


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

Tim Nesbitt

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




McAuliffe, top Democrats dismiss impeachment talk


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


Why politicians got away with sexual misconduct for so long

The Washington Post

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