HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
FEBRUARY 24, 2017 DAILY CLIPS
STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY
HD 18 – REPRESENTATIVE LEWIS
Silverton Mayor Rick Lewis will fill the vacant House District 18 seat, which extends into southern Clackamas County. Lewis was appointed Wednesday (Feb. 21) by commissioners from Clackamas and Marion counties, who met jointly in Mt. Angel. He took office Thursday and will complete the two-year term of Republican Vic Gilliam, who resigned Feb. 1 after winning re-election Nov. 8.
Rick Lewis was sworn in as the State Representative for House District 18 Thursday after being appointed to fill the vacant seat on Wednesday. Prior to taking oath of office, Lewis resigned his post as mayor of Silverton, a position to which he was first elected in 2014 and reelected to in 2016. Lewis was not required by law to resign his city post. “The decision to step away from my role with the city was far and away the most difficult part of this process,” Lewis said. “I was hopeful that I might be able to continue serving as mayor while also serving as a member of the legislative assembly, but it became clear that there were some outstanding constitutional questions that could expose both the city and the legislature to some risks.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
House Republican leader Mike McLane has proposed changing that in the interest of transparency. “We probably need to set aside the accusation that we’re trying to move bills without being transparent whose bills they are,” McLane testified while making his case to the House Rules Committee on Thursday. Some members of the rules committee argued not knowing who’s behind a bill allows them to make an unbiased decision. “Sometimes just knowing who introduced it will predispose you one way or another, towards it or against it,” said Democrat Barbara Smith Warner. Democrats hold the majority in the Oregon House, and would have to agree with the proposal for it to move forward.
BAN ON LATE TERM ABORTIONS
Republican lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation that would restrict access to late-term abortions in Oregon. In what would be a major reversal of current state law, House Bill 3017 would prevent doctors in Oregon from performing an abortion if the fetus is more than 20 weeks old, or about half-way through a typical pregnancy. Nineteen states already ban abortion past 20 weeks. None of those states is controlled by Democrats, whereas Democrats control the Oregon Legislature and governorship.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would give hourly employees more certainty in their work schedules. The measure would require employers to pay their employees for at least four hours if their shift is canceled or changed less than 24 hours in advance.
“Our findings were that all elements of irregular scheduling practices are prevalent here in Oregon,” King said at a Thursday news conference in support of two scheduling bills under consideration in the Oregon Legislature. Irregular scheduling “…prevents people from obtaining adequate hours at work, it prevents them from taking a second job, and it prevents them from pursuing further education and training,” King said. Senate Bill 828 and House Bill 2193 are identical.
Oregon lawmakers are considering proposals that’d give baristas, bartenders, seasonal workers and others in the state’s service industry more control of their weekly schedules and guarantees of being paid despite scheduling issues. The proposed legislation is backed largely by workers’ rights groups and unions, which teamed up with the University of Oregon and Portland State University for a study on how workers’ lives, finances and families are impacted by irregular work schedules.
MOVE OVER BILL
Oregon drivers are used to moving over or slowing down for emergency and roadside assistance vehicles. The Oregon Senate passed a bill Thursday that would expand the law to include any vehicle that is clearly stranded or disabled.
Oregon’s longtime 5-cent deposit on bottles of beer and water and cans of soda paid at checkout will increase to 10 cents on that date, after several years of lagging redemption rates.
A bill sailing through the Legislature mandates that, starting April 1, every can and bottle can be redeemed for a dime, regardless of when it was purchased or the deposit listed on the label.
The Register Guard
The Trump administration’s reversal of federal policy on transgender bathrooms in K-12 schools won’t have any effect in Oregon, where the state and local governments have established their own customized gender accommodations, officials said Thursday.
The Daily Astorian
A new proposal, first read Thursday in the Oregon House and sponsored by Bentz and Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, D-Portland, is a gesture to rural Oregon. It was in the works before the snow hit, but has taken on new significance in the wake of the storms, Kotek said.
“We’re saying to (Malheur County) that we care and we want businesses to stay in Ontario,” Kotek said.
Oregon lawmakers have condemned a White House statement suggesting the U.S. Justice Department will enforce the federal prohibition on recreational marijuana in states that have legalized it. When Oregonians legalized recreational pot in 2014, they knew there was a risk of a federal crackdown with future presidential administrations, said Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland. “The approach we’re taking is to have effective regulations and to stamp out the black market to the extent that we can,” said Burdick, who is co-chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation. “We really want to have the kind of program that will, if they do decide to enforce, put us at the bottom of their list.”
Portland Business Journal
Half of the 16 Coordinated Care Organizations, which deliver Medicaid services to about 1 million Oregonians, are nonprofit. A bill pending in the Legislature would require the other 50 percent to shift from for-profit entities to community-based nonprofits by 2023. There’s more. House Bill 2122 and its companion Senate Bill 273 encompass a host of other major changes, including requiring more transparency around the CCOs activities and meetings, and setting up a Community Escrow Fund to hold CCOs’ restricted reserves, which currently total $193 million.
“We want to move the reserves over to the state treasury and hold it in escrow and find ways for it to be used on behalf of the community,” said HB 2122 sponsor Rep. Mitch Greenlick, the Portland Democrat who chairs the House Health Care Committee.
Members of the local medical community Thursday said cuts to the federal Affordable Care Act would leave patients uninsured, increase emergency room use and harm innovative efforts to address the roots of health problems and control costs.
ELLIOTT STATE FOREST
In an interview, Read said his decision wasn’t something he was happy about, but that he had a “legal responsibility to generate revenue for the state’s school children.”
“I’m a strong supporter of public lands and I don’t like the situation we’re in,” he said. “I’ve been asking for months for another plan — a detailed plan with actual dollars attached to it. Presently, I don’t see another viable path.”
TRAVEL BAN LAWSUIT
The Register Guard
On Wednesday evening, Rosenblum filed a motion with a federal court asking to join Ferguson’s lawsuit, saying the court otherwise might craft a limited remedy that would not address the harm caused to Oregon.
Oregon’s Department of Justice has filed court papers seeking to join Washington’s lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries. “The executive order has caused — and threatens to further cause — harm to Oregon and its residents, employers, agencies, educational institutions, health care system and economy. Moreover, the executive order forces Oregon to violate its own laws against discrimination, frustrating Oregon’s sovereign interest in providing a welcoming home to people from all over the world,” according to the justice department’s motion.
OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS
An enthusiastic crowd of 2,400 greeted U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., like a soldier taking a break from battle — shaking his hand, giving him standing ovations and sending him back into the fray on multiple fronts against Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.
The Oregonian Editorial Board
Credit Rep. Margaret Doherty with showing the mettle that some of her fellow legislators won’t. Rather than mask her sponsorship of a proposal and introducing it as a “committee” bill, the Tigard Democrat is owning it – despite its having “fiasco” written all over it. It’s great that lawmakers view smaller classes – which requires hiring teachers – as a necessity. But as Chuck Bennett of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators said pointedly to legislators, “You have not funded that.” The idea behind HB2651 isn’t outlandish in and of itself. Oregon ranks among the states with the highest average class size, according to figures from the National Education Association.
The Register Guard Editorial Board
State Sen. Kim Thatcher has what she says is “a plan to help protect free speech and ensure student safety on college campuses.” It involves expelling students. Thatcher, a Keizer Republican, deserves points for originality — sort of. The qualifier is needed because one suspects that Thatcher’s main goal is to yank Democrats’ chains, given that her bill has less chance of passing the Oregon Legislature than a resolution honoring President Trump.
The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board
Oregon’s public records law has about 550 ways of saying to the public: You can’t see that. Oregon has 550 exemptions to its public records law. The federal Freedom of Information Act has only nine exemptions. Are Oregon’s 550 necessary? They should, at least, be reviewed.
State Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, has introduced House Bill 2101, which would require a legislative committee to review the exemptions and affirm they are necessary. If they are not found necessary, they would be repealed automatically. New exemptions would also be repealed after six years unless the Legislature votes they should continue. “I think there’s a strong desire for the transparency and the need to clean up,” Huffman said, according to The Oregonian. “We are unique as a state with 550 some-odd exemptions. We might find out that, darn it, we need all of them. But I kind of doubt that.”
The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board
Lawmakers, if they decide to keep the Promise program alive, should end the practice of handing out money to students whose family income is well above the state’s 2015 median household income of $54,148. Instead, money should go to students based on need as well as on grades and the like.
We have worried that Trump’s continued insistence about widespread voter fraud is an attempt to pave the way for tighter voter ID laws or other measures that could make it more difficult for certain segments of the population to cast ballots. But Oregon continues to roll in the opposite direction — this state has aggressively removed barriers to voting. It’s encouraging to see Richardson rolling in that direction as well.
Chuck Sheketoff is executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy
Common-sense options exist for raising revenue that will allow Oregon to protect and strengthen schools and key public services. Exercising those options ultimately comes to political will – and Oregonians demanding that lawmakers fix our revenue shortfall with revenue solutions.
Eric Fruits is an Oregon-based economist and adjunct professor at Portland State University.
State tax revenues are approaching all-time highs. Nevertheless, the state must face the budget reality that Oregonians do not have the resources to support ever-expanding spending programs that outpace our ability to pay for them.
Jennifer Gould is a registered nurse and a board certified lactation consultant
PERS costs do not happen in a vacuum. They need to be taken into consideration with the entire budget. When prescription drug costs are skyrocketing out of control, hospital profits are on the rise, and, as the Oregonian reported last week, Oregon corporations are paying only 80 percent of the public benefit they receive, should we be gutting retirement benefits for teachers, firefighters and nurses? It is time for Salem lawmakers to show some real leadership and balance the budget without breaking their contract with public workers.
The Bend Bulletin
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects states to be subject to “greater enforcement” of federal laws against marijuana use, a move that could undercut the growing number of jurisdictions moving to legalize the drug for recreational purposes.
Sean Spicer suggested Thursday that the Trump administration will enforce federal marijuana laws in states where recreational pot is legal. At a White House press briefing, a reporter asked the White House press secretary how the Trump administration will differ from the Obama administration when it comes to the “state/federal conflict” over recreational marijuana. “There’s two distinct issues here,” Spicer said, “medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.” Medical use, he said, is not in question. But recreational use, including in states like Oregon, faces a possible challenge.
The Associated Press
Environmental and fishing groups sued the federal government on Thursday as they seek cooler water for salmon in the Columbia River system. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Seattle against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the agency. “We need a plan to deal with climate change and rising water temperatures in the Columbia, or we may be telling our kids stories about salmon instead of teaching them to fish,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper. The lawsuit was filed by Columbia Riverkeeper, Snake River Waterkeeper, Idaho Rivers United, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources.