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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

House Republican Clips

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

MAY 24, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY

 

GROSS RECEIPTS TAX

 

Oregon Lawmakers Get 1st Look At Corporate Tax Measure

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The 111-page document leaves out some of the details — including how much corporations would actually be taxed under the plan. “I would just advise everybody to understand that this is just a shell, and that a lot of the language will be updated, replaced … or not,” said Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, who co-chairs the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Tax Reform.

 

Lawmakers ‘close’ to compromise proposal for new gross-receipts tax on businesses

Register Guard

The biggest and most influential group, the Ore­gon Business Plan Coalition, continues to oppose any gross receipts tax this session. Instead, it is calling for state government cost reductions along with a “bridge” funding package: small, short-term tax increases to patch up the state’s 2017-19 budget. Pat McCormick, a spokesman for the coalition, said the time isn’t right for a major gross receipts tax, with not enough time left in the session to work out policy details.A gross receipts tax “and other options for restructuring Oregon’s tax system are worthy of thoughtful consideration,” he said. But “major revisions to Oregon’s tax system should be studied this interim, with a joint committee convened for that purpose as soon as practical after the current session adjourns.”

 

BUDGET

 

Oregon Department of Human Services faces $595 million in budget cuts

Statesman Journal

DHS Director Clyde Saiki and top officials from the agency’s branches outlined the potential impact of proposed budget reductions unveiled by lawmakers earlier this session. That impact would create a crater touching much of the agency. Under the proposed cuts, DHS would reduce costs by $285 million in general fund money from its current service level, which means a loss of an additional $310 million in federal funds, Saiki said during the public meeting at DHS headquarters in Salem.

 

EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION

 

UO again will seek 10.6-percent tuition hike approval Thursday

Register Guard

The University of Oregon again will ask a state commission to approve a double-digit tuition increase for in-state UO students. On May 11, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission rejected the UO’s proposal to raise its 2017-18 tuition by 10.6 percent for Oregon residents. “This action has thrown UO’s budget into tremendous uncertainty that must be resolved in as swift a manner as possible,” the UO wrote Monday in a letter to the commission, requesting reconsideration of the same tuition increase proposal. UO President Michael Schill and Charles Lillis, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, signed the letter.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Most Medicaid Recipients In Oregon Are Likely To Be Found Eligible

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“We’re about 90 percent of the way through working on the cleanup of data following the CoverOregon failure,” Cowie said. “We have this remaining group to complete and we will finish by Aug. 31.”  The health authority’s review has thus far found about 72 percent of Oregon Medicaid recipients are eligible.

 

Health Authority estimates 32,000 Medicaid recipients could be ineligible

The Oregonian

If historical trends hold true, as the state processes a backlog of 115,000 Medicaid renewals, 28 percent of them could be deemed ineligible because they make too much money. But Lynne Saxton, director of the health authority, flatly rejected the idea that the lingering questions about the state’s Medicaid rolls pose a financial risk for the state.

 

Audit: Oregon’s Medicaid computer systems work well, but human errors remain

The Oregonian

Oregon’s two computer systems that determine Medicaid eligibility and send payments to health care providers are functioning correctly, according to an audit released by the Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday morning.  But human error, through employee overrides of the computer systems and manual data entry, could result in people inappropriately being issued or denied coverage, the auditors wrote. “If they do not function correctly, Medicaid clients may be inappropriately approved or denied for Medicaid benefits, and payments to providers may be in error,” auditors wrote.

 

Brown announces new Medicaid accountability measures after audit

Portland Business Journal

“Elected officials should be focused on protecting the health care of Oregonians, not playing politics with it,” Brown said in a written statement. “We’ve heard a lot about Medicaid eligibility over the last week, but we haven’t heard much about the lives that depend on it. These are Oregonians who cannot afford the health care they need in order to pursue healthy and productive lives. Some are seeking preventive care, while others are battling life-threatening conditions.”

 

Greenlick Pushes Ballot Measure to Cap Campaign Spending of Public Players

The Lund Report

House Joint Resolution 32 would send voters voters a measure limiting donations from publicly financed companies to political candidates to $500 per politician. The measure was put forward the same day that Rep. Nancy Nathanson, a leading recipient of campaign money from Medicaid providers, pulled Greenlick’s HB 2122 from the floor.

 

MARIJUANA

 

Medical Marijuana Sales In Oregon Plummeting As Recreational Sales Increase

Oregon Public Broadcasting

State officials say that since recreational marijuana became legal, the number of people with medical cards dropped from 77,000 to 67,000 — that’s equivalent to the population of Cottage Grove. And it’s not just customers who are moving to the recreational market. Of the 300 plus dispensaries in the state, more than 80 percent have applied to sell recreational cannabis.

 

SELF-SERVICE GAS

 

Bill to expand self-service gas in rural counties heads to governor’s desk

Portland Tribune

“In many of these smaller communities, people would get stuck without a full tank of gas” because no gas stations were open, said Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, who carried the bill to the floor. In Eastern Oregon, some locally owned gas stations have been at risk of closure due to the expense of hiring fueling attendants to pump customers’ gas, said chief sponsor Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario. “We are trying to preserve these stations out in the middle of nowhere so that we have fuel available,” Bentz said during a hearing on the bill in March.The proposed change affects 15 counties in Eastern Oregon: Malhuer, Union, Wasco, Hood River, Jefferson, Crook, Baker, Morrow, Lake, Grant, Harney, Wallowa, Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler.

 

PAY EQUITY

 

Women in Oregon Have a Long Way to Go to Get to Pay Equity

Willamette Week

“Pay equity doesn’t have to be a partisan issue, we’ve proven that here today,” said Representative Jodi Hack (R-Salem), said in a statement. “I am very pleased that so many lawmakers and stakeholders came together and continued to work to develop a set of amendments that addressed some of the concerns of our small businesses, while still offering one of the most comprehensive wage equity laws in the country.”

 

OTHER STORIES

 

Port Commission chooses deputy executive director to replace Bill Wyatt

Portland Tribune

Curtis Robinhold, the port’s current deputy executive director, was chosen by the seven-member commission that oversees port operations on Tuesday. He will succeed Bill Wyatt, who has directed the port since 2001 and is retiring at the end of the month. “Curtis has the leadership skills and business accumen we need going forward,” says Commission President Jim Carter.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

Multnomah County inks $10 million tentative deal to sell vacant Wapato jail

Portland Tribune

The deal isn’t final and the company will have 90 days to research the site and negotiate a final deal for approval by the board of county commissioners. While the county had earlier demanded to know how the property would be used, the local broker for the firm, Philip Zimmermann, told the Portland Tribune that information remains a secret.

 

CAMPAIGNS

 

Super PAC Seeks “Trackers” to Snag Unflattering Footage of Kate Brown’s Opponents

Willamette Week

Last week, American Bridge, a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC, posted a list of job opportunities online, saying the group is “hiring tracker/field-researchers in Oregon to hold Republican gubernatorial candidates accountable for their public statements and actions.”

 

OPINION

 

Lawmakers must focus on stabilizing Oregon’s future: Editorial agenda 2017

The Oregonian

The time has come. For some, it’s past time. School districts are waiting for solid numbers out of Salem to craft their own budgets, which typically must be released to their communities at the end of May. The end of the school year is just weeks away and like us all, we are waiting on lawmakers to do the right thing and get the work done.

 

Editorial: Put popular vote on ballot

Register Guard

Courtney is now willing to allow Oregon to join the movement to conduct such an experiment, but only with the consent of the state’s voters. He’s right — such a decision belongs in the hands of the people. A change in the operations of a small-r republican institution such as the Electoral College should be made through a small-d democratic process.

 

Editorial: Equal pay for equal work

Register Guard

Oregon isn’t going to wipe out this gap single-handedly, but HB 2005 helps balance the scales for women, people of color and other minorities. May it serve as an example for others.

 

The Big Idea: Join us tonight for a discussion of Oregon’s broken budget with Gov. Kate Brown, top lawmakers

The Oregonian

The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board will host Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and other top lawmakers and policy analysts to answer these and other questions at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the Bearcat room at Willamette University’s Putnam University Center, 900 State Street in Salem.

 

OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS

 

Wyden, Merkley, Walden question FEMA denial

Bend Bulletin

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Democrats, and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, wrote FEMA Friday with “great concern” and asked for further information about the decision. Oregon plans to appeal the denial, said Andrew Jacobs, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. “We have 30 days to restate our case,” Jacobs said Monday.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

 

Oklahoma Crisis Offers Opportunity for Hapless Democrats

The Associated Press

Beyond the cuts, the situation has also produced a political role reversal. Republicans want to ease the pain with increases in cigarette and fuel taxes. Dunnington and fellow Democrats are attacking those bills, hoping opposition offers their party a path back to relevance after many years in the wilderness. “I would rather lose fighting for what’s just than win fighting for the wrong thing,” Dunnington said.

 

Medical Research, Health Care Face Deep Cuts In Trump Budget

National Public Radio

The proposed budget unveiled Tuesday by the Trump administration doubles down on major cuts to biomedical research, fighting infectious disease outbreaks, health care for the poor, elderly and disabled, and prevention of HIV/AIDS. It restates the goals of the “skinny budget” the administration released in March, which was widely condemned by scientists and public health advocates.

 

 

 

 

 

House Republican Clips

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

MAY 23, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Democrats: Medicaid concerns haven’t derailed provider tax talks

Portland Tribune

Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, who is a co-chair of the legislative subcommittee that handles OHA’s budget, said Monday that the issues raised last week have not affected negotiations on the provider tax.”I don’t think the audit alert has affected anything,” Steiner Hayward said. She argued that while some providers could lose money, that depends on how the tax is structured; and maintained “there’s no downside” for the state when it comes to a provider tax, as it would help pay for the cost of expanding Medicaid coverage to more people, which she contends is good policy. “I really think the entire state benefits when as many Oregonians as possible have access to insurance,” Steiner Hayward said. Kotek said Monday that the Oregon Health Authority was reassessing its caseload, so the budget lawmakers pass by the end of session would not be based on old eligibility numbers.

 

FamilyCare wins legal round against state health agency

Portland Tribune

The court ruling came at a poor time for the Oregon Health Authority, the state agency being sued, shortly after news coverage of a failure to check the Medicaid eligibility of as many as 115,000 members of the Oregon Health Plan, potentially costing the state tens of millions of dollars. The nonprofit FamilyCare Inc. is one of the organizations serving Medicaid patients, and for years has been a vocal critic of OHA officials. In February the group sued the state saying that the Medicaid payments set by the state for the organization do not cover the costs of providing care.

 

Quick Look: Oregon Health Authority Policy Keeps Medicaid Members from CCOs

The Lund Report

Only 15 percent of Oregon Health Plan income-based members have seamless coverage at renewal time. Rep. Cedric Hayden wants to pull enrollment from OHA and give it to DHS, and require that lapsed members be put immediately back into the CCO that was serving them.

 

MARIJUANA

 

Legislature sends marijuana bill to governor

Bend Bulletin

SB 1057 is a reaction to the softening of the medical marijuana market, said Donald Morse, director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council. The Oregon Health Authority lists 46 marijuana dispensaries in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, with two in Deschutes County and one each in Jefferson and Crook counties. By contrast, the OLCC lists 20 recreational retailers in Bend. “At the end of the day, we’ve reacted to there being no medical dispensaries any more and making it so recreational dispensaries can meet not only the needs of recreational customers but the needs of medical patients, as well,” Morse said Monday.

 

House approves tighter tracking for medical marijuana

Portland Tribune

“The core purpose of this bill is to make sure that we eliminate the illegal market by enhancing tracking and other associated things that will prevent diversion from Oregon’s legal marijuana sector to the illegal market,” said Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, co-chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Legislators pursue changing appointment authority for ODOT director

Portland Tribune

“If you are going to have entity with fiduciary responsibility, they need the ability to appoint the CEO,” said Committee Co-Chairman Lee Beyer, D-Eugene. Under the proposal, the five-member commission would appoint the director “in consultation with the governor.” The proposal is one part of a transportation package that would raise about $8 billion over the next 10 years to pay for projects to relieve congestion and maintain roads and bridges.

 

Central Oregon bus tax would need local OK

Bend Bulletin

House Bill 2745 would give a green light to the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to seek permanent or local option levies to pay for bus service. Voters in each municipality COIC serves would decide whether to opt in or out of the plan. COIC provides bus service in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties. “We support the amendment,” said Erik Kancler, lobbyist for COIC and the city of Bend.

 

EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION

 

Tech lobbies for $42 million engineering center

Herald and News

Rep. Reschke, speaking to the potential for the college’s growth, said that “OIT is a sleeping giant.” “Phase II (for the engineering center) is at the top of my list,” he said. However, he cautioned that the Legislature’s charge is to produce a balanced budget by the July 9 adjournment, and the politics of getting funding from the session — dominated by Democrats — is “a delicate balance,” he said. Both Reschke and Linthicum are Republicans.

 

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

 

DEQ fines Oregon City’s Clackamette Cove development $118,000

Portland Tribune

DEQ has set a May 25 deadline to appeal or pay the fines for allowing toxic stormwater to run off the construction site and into Clackamette Cove and the Clackamas and Willamette rivers. Construction contractors have begun to capture runoff in tanks and transport it to a wastewater-treatment facility.

 

JOBS & THE ECONOMY

 

SolarWorld files notice of potential mass layoff or closure in Hillsboro

The Oregonian

The U.S. arm of the financially insolvent SolarWorld AG sent certified letters over the weekend warning all 800 employees in Hillsboro that there could be a mass layoff or plant closure within 60 days.

 

ANTI-DREDGING BILL

Anti-dredging bill heads toward House vote

Mail Tribune

The bill would ban suction dredging within wild salmon and steelhead spawning habitat in creeks and rivers deemed “essential salmon habitat.” That would effectively ban suction dredges in the Illinois River, the Rogue River and its tributaries below Lost Creek Lake, and the Applegate River and its tributaries below Applegate Lake. The bill also bans dredging in habitat of Pacific lamprey, which are also present in the Rogue Basin.

 

ELLIOTT FORREST

 

More Fallout from the Aborted Sale of the Elliott State Forest: Jilted Buyer Will Sue State

Willamette Week

Last week, the Roseburg News-Review reported that Roseburg-based Lone Rock has filed a tort claim notice with the state, seeking to recoup $1.3 million in expenses and $2 million in damages for the increase in value since the board, composed of Gov. Kate Brown, state Treasurer Tobias Read, and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, agreed to the sale. “Our unique coalition operated in good faith and met every criteria identified in the state’s transparent, multi-year process to sell the forest,” Toby Luther, CEO of Lone Rock, said in a statement to the News-Review. “It’s clear now, however, that the governor had no intention of accepting a proposal under the established protocol. You cannot simultaneously encourage bidders and commit to bidders publicly while privately planning a shift in policy.”

 

PAY EQUITY

 

Oregon Equal Pay Bill Likely To Become Law Next Week

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rep. Jodi Hack, R-Salem, said the bill was long past due. “I, as well as many other people, have experienced pay inequity,” she said. “But it’s not just about the pay. It’s about recognizing people for their hard work and for their efforts, and for what they bring to the table.” Hack added the bill would give employers “the opportunity to step forward and to do what is right.”

 

Oregon equal pay legislation heads to Gov. Brown

Statesman Journal

Gov. Brown plans to hold a ceremonial bill signing on the legislation next week. “I applaud the Legislature’s bipartisan efforts to pass the Pay Equity Bill and I look forward to signing House Bill 2005 into law,” Brown said in a statement. “While workforce discrimination has long been illegal, pay inequity persists. House Bill 2005 makes great strides towards a more equitable and prosperous Oregon.”

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

Oregon State Parks planning to auction off 38 acres of woodland between Eugene and Corvallis

Register Guard

Once a wayside, or rest stop, along Highway 99 West near Monroe, the woodland will go up for sale this summer, according to State Parks spokesman Chris Havel. The agency more often trades land and rarely sells it outright. “Right now, the market is such that we could really get some good out of it for the rest of the park system by putting it out for sale,” he said.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Oregon should not join popular vote movement

Bend Bulletin

The effect of the change would go beyond Oregon. Smaller states and rural states can make a difference now because of their Electoral College votes. That’s because a state gets votes in the Electoral College according to the number of members it has in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. So a state with a small population gets three. That would disappear under the popular-vote system, which would favor states with big cities dominated by a single political party. This year, Courtney has softened his position a bit. He’s willing to let the bill go if it’s amended to allow Oregonians to vote on whether to approve it or not. That’s unfortunate. Forcing Oregon’s votes should not be cast based on what happens in California, New York or Pennsylvania. The Legislature should let the bill die.

 

Guest: Oregon lawmakers shouldn’t allow nuclear power until there’s a safe solution for its waste

Barbara Roberts was Secretary of State from 1985-91 and Governor of Oregon from 1991-95; John Savage was Director of the Oregon Department of Energy from 1993-2001 and an Oregon Public Utility Commissioner from 2003-17

The NuScale/Fluor reactor system being researched in Corvallis has promising safety features, but has not yet been built anywhere in the world. Its design was submitted for review to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in January of this year and it is not expected that this review will be completed until 2020. The NuScale/Fluor reactor system is proposed for a site in Idaho, with construction to begin in 2022 and be completed in 2026.  There are currently no plans or prospects for such a plant to be financed or built in Oregon. In summary, SB 990 is premature, removes safeguards, and limits citizen approval by Oregonians. We urge a ‘no’ vote.

 

Guest: How Oregon can cut carbon — and boost its economy

Jack Harris is the co-owner of Fort George Brewery

We need look no farther than this district, which is home to more than 160 clean energy jobs, to see how local action on climate is already creating opportunity. A new E2 fact sheet for our state Senate district notes that EV charging stations and alternative fuels are growing, while Tillamook County’s Misty Meadow dairy digester is generating revenue and power while keeping at least 7,000 tons of greenhouse gases out of the air every year. Let’s expand this type of growth by putting a price on emissions and reinvesting the proceeds so we can reward businesses for innovating, clear the air and keep the clean energy jobs coming.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

 

U.K. blast called suicide bombing

The Washington Post

The bombing appeared intended to inflict the maximum possible damage on young concertgoers — many of them in their early teens. Police said the blast occurred about 10:30 p.m., minutes after pop star Ariana Grande had finished her set at Manchester Arena. “This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the Greater Manchester Police said in a statement. British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement in the early hours of Tuesday saying authorities were “working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

Dennis Richardson

Daily Clips

 

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

MAY 15, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY

 

BUDGET

 

Will Gov. Brown’s Plans For A Sale Of State Assets Reap Big Dollars For Oregon?

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Gov. Kate Brown has an ambitious plan to raise $5 billion by selling off a wide range of public assets, from surplus property to possibly even some state agencies. This kind of thing has been happening in the U.S. for a long time where the current politicians decide they need cash now and figure out how to get it,” said Robert Barone, a Reno-based economist and investment fund adviser who has written on the topic. “But then it’s mortgaging the future because the building they sold to the private sector now requires that the taxpayers through taxes pay the private sector for rents in that building.”

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Oregon took months to fix lead problems at juvenile prisons

The Oregonian

Full-scale testing of youth prisons in February and March came nearly six months after the state finished lead inspections on 40 other buildings where state employees lived or worked, including the governor’s mansion and the Oregon Capitol. A spokesman for the Oregon Youth Authority blamed unforeseen contracting problems for testing delays. “We have tried to be very conscientious and focus on the health of our youth and staff,” Benjamin Chambers said. “We didn’t want it to take this long.”

 

HELMET BILL

 

Mother’s death on a rafting trip inspires ‘helmet bill’ in Oregon

KATU

Senate Bill 643 is her answer. The bill would require any outfitter and guide to offer helmets to passengers on waters rated Class III or above. Rapids are ranked on a class scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the most challenging. Zach Collier already offers helmets to his passengers, but he says it wouldn’t make sense to force them to wear one. “Sometimes it’s unsafe. If it’s super warm, it can create heat injuries.”

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

Portland voters to decide on $790 million spending package to fix school lead

Associated Press

The $790 million spending package that would raise taxes to address the crisis has generated intense interest in an otherwise sleepy election as residents revisit lingering questions about how administrators in the 49,000-student district handled the discovery of lead levels that surpassed federal standards in the water at dozens of schools.

 

Prineville passes on resolution to welcome everyone, citizen or not

Bend Bulletin

A request that Prineville city councilors declare the city open to anyone, regardless of immigration status or gender identity, raised doubts last week about whether a majority of Prineville residents would approve. “We know our community pretty well, and we know there are some people here — I bet at least 60 percent of our citizens — who would say that if people want to come to the U.S., then they should take the route of legal entry, not illegal entry,” Roppe said. “We’re here to represent the majority of our citizens.”

 

OTHER STORIES

 

In Trump era, record numbers of Oregonians running for office

The Oregonian

“There is incredibly heightened interest among the populace in how our government functions at the federal level,” he said. That may well have spurred Oregonians to act locally, he said.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Tackling opioids

Register Guard

If the state task force Brown is forming is serious about dealing with this epidemic, there are worse places look than Lane County, where a number of physicians and health care organizations have been looking at ways to reduce opioid abuse and better treat pain. These range from alternative treatments such as weight loss, exercise and meditation on up to creation of chronic pain centers offering a multi-pronged approach for the most complex cases. The interest now being shown by state and federal officials is encouraging news. If they follow through with their commitments, the result will be better pain management, reduced drug abuse and healthier communities.

 

Guest: Simplified tax can mend broken system

Nancy Nathanson and Phil Barnhart, both Eugene Democrats, represent District 13 and District 11, respectively, in the Oregon House of Representatives.

We think there’s a different way we can approach this. Along with House Speaker Tina Kotek, we’ve presented a bold yet prudent proposal that will finally allow us to make significant, strategic investments in our schools. Under this proposal, we could fund kindergarten-through-12th-grade schools at a level that would allow school districts to finally add back school days, reduce class sizes, and add back programs that improve graduation rates. The proposal calls for $200 million in strategic initiatives, like teacher mentoring, hiring school nurses, improving graduation rates and supporting better school nutrition. We can build workforce and career training programs that prepare students to work in emerging industries.

We can make the promise of an affordable college education real again, and we can build the kind of future for our state that we all want.

 

Guest: Oregon desperately needs revenue reform

Tass Morrison serves on the North Santiam School Board and the Oregon School Boards Association Board.

Our state elected officials face no greater issue today than finding a sustainable system for paying for government services. Indeed, it is the only work that counts now.   I urge them, and anyone who cares about our children’s future, to bring the issue of revenue reform into focus – immediately. We need to couple that work with containing costs on PERS and health care, and chart a course for the foreseeable future that provides today’s generation with the same educational opportunities that we enjoyed in our youth.

 

 

ORP Daily Clips

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

MAY 10, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Transportation plan calls for $1.1B to reduce Portland-area traffic

The Oregonian

But Republicans warn that the myriad tax increases included in the plan will not be popular among voters, and say an overhaul of the low-carbon fuel standard is critical in gaining GOP support for the plan.

 

Because it includes tax hikes, the proposal will need a three-fifths approval in both chambers of the statehouse. That means Democrats will need to get at least two Republicans on their side. The last transportation package passed in 2009, funded partially by increased gas taxes. A proposal failed in 2015 when a bid to trade Oregon’s new clean fuels law for new carbon cuts fell apart at the end of session. This proposal is about 20 times larger than 2015’s.

 

TAXES

 

OPB Think Out Loud: Rep. Bentz Talks Taxes

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Democratic lawmakers have a plan to change the way businesses are taxed in Oregon. They say they need bold action to provide money for schools. Republicans say this is the return of Measure 97 —  another attempt at a sales tax. Yesterday, we got the Democratic perspective from Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton. Today, we hear a response from Republican Rep. Cliff Bentz of Ontario.

 

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Portland Advocates Prepare to Launch a Climate-Change Tax on Corporations

Willamette Week

The key debate in the Oregon Legislature this year is whether to impose a tax on businesses, months after voters rejected a similar idea at the ballot box. But WW has learned that state lawmakers aren’t the only ones who want to hike business taxes.In Portland, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly has joined forces with environmental and social-justice advocates on a potential 2018 ballot measure: a 1 percent city tax on the local gross receipts of businesses with national sales over $1 billion, if those businesses do at least $500,000 in annual sales in the city of Portland.

 

Ryan Deckert, a former Democratic lawmaker and now the president of the Oregon Business Association, expressed concern. “That just makes zero sense,” Deckert says. “This would be a total sideshow to a really important conversation that’s happening in the Capitol right now.”

 

Businesses outside Oregon would be taxed under commercial activity tax proposal

Portland Tribune

A proposed statewide tax on businesses’ sales would for the first time bring in revenue from out-of-state companies that sell goods in Oregon but have no physical address here, according to the Legislative Revenue Office. The .95 percent rate would apply to businesses with Oregon sales exceeding $5 million.

 

PRISONS & PUBLIC SAFETY

 

The Feds Persuaded Oregon to Scrap Its Exploitive Prison Phone Contract—Until the State Decided It Needed the Money

Willamette Week

The Department of Corrections budget is nearly $900 million a year, so the loss of the phone contract would be a relatively small hit. But it’s significant for the inmate welfare fund, which gets nearly 70 percent of its funding from phone commissions. The first draft of Gov. Kate Brown’s budget, released late last year, originally proposed to shift general fund dollars to replace about half the phone commissions. But Craig says that’s no longer in the works. Instead, state officials decided to extend the Telmate contract, which was set to expire June 30, 2017. Craig says her agency was preparing to put the contract out for bid in early March when responsibility for the contract shifted to the Department of Administrative Services.

 

Inmate who died in jail tried to get help 19 times over five hours

The Oregonian

For more than five hours, a Yamhill County Jail inmate writhed in pain on his mattress, clutched his side, walked 19 times to the door to press an intercom button for help and urinated blood in the toilet inside his cell, but no one came to help Jed Hawk Myers, according to jail records, video and police investigative reports.

 

ELLIOTT STATE FOREST

 

State Land Board votes 3-0 to keep Elliott State Forest publicly owned

Register Guard

Following the vote, Brown directed the ­Department of State Lands to come up with a plan for preserving public ownership of the Elliott while separating it from the school fund, either through land transfer or other options. Previously, Brown has called for spending $100 million in bonds to remove some of the forest from the school fund. She added that the plan must continue ­habitat conservation.

 

Oregon State Land Board: Elliott State Forest to stay public

The Associated Press

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, another board member, said he regretted the sale didn’t go through in February but recognized the forest would inevitably stay in public hands even if he voted against it. He apologized to Lone Rock and to Michael Rondeau, chief executive officer of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. Brown told Rondeau tribes could still have a role in managing forests. The Department of State Lands was directed to “continue working with sovereign tribal governments to explore ownership or additional forest management opportunities.”

 

It’s unanimous: Elliott State Forest will remain publicly owned

The Oregonian

Under Brown’s proposal, decisions about the rest of the land would be entrusted to what’s called a habitat conservation plan, a blueprint that would dictate where logging could occur and where habitat for threatened species like the marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl would be protected. It would need federal approval, something that federal agencies withheld the last time Oregon tried to draft such a plan for the Elliott. Liz Dent, a state department of forestry official, said the expected timber harvest under Brown’s plan would be about 20 million board feet each year – roughly half as much as the state’s aggressive 2011 plan that led to the situation today.

 

EDUCATION & HIGHER EDUCATION

 

State may hold off on spending spree for college buildings

Statesman Journal

A graph of the growing debt so impressed House Speaker Tina Kotek, she warned school officials that rapid increases can’t continue. The proposed projects are nice, she said, but “we end up paying a long-term debt that I don’t think we can afford,” she said. The lawmakers also wanted to see that the colleges and universities are taking care of the buildings they’ve got. Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, said that session after session the deferred maintenance on college campuses have mounted — and yet the state keeps adding new construction. “I know that new buildings sparkle and glitter, but, at some point, I want to make sure we’re getting control of our deferred maintenance,” he said.

 

OTHER STORIES

 

Senate takes up Deschutes bridge ban

Bend Bulletin

Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, said the bridge just south of the city limits in the Deschutes National Forest would have to be built without condemnation of private property and only after an environmental impact study is done to ensure no negative impact. A bill currently before the Senate would ban bridges in the that location. “I will support a bridge on Forest Service property,” Knopp said. “I will likely seek an amendment to the bill to do that.”

 

Oregon may allow drivers to choose nonbinary, rather than male or female, for licenses

The Oregonian

Officials will host a public hearing on the proposed change Wednesday in Portland. If approved, Oregonians could change their licenses and identification cards beginning this summer. Instead of “F” or “M,” their licenses would display “X” under sex. “Some people don’t identify as male or female,” said Amy Herzfeld-Copple, the co-executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. “We’re excited by the DMV proposal because it’s an important step in recognizing what we already know to be true. Gender is a spectrum.”

 

LOCAL/REGIONAL NEWS

 

With a Week to Go Before Election Day, Portland Public Schools Can’t Stop Hitting Itself

Willamette Week

The School Board is asking voters to trust the district’s ability to execute a risky, complex, multiyear construction program. Officials handled a previous bond effectively, but poor management decisions about personnel and policy, and a continuing aversion to transparency, threaten to undermine voters’ confidence.

 

Tunnel collapses at Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington state

Washington Post

Hundreds of workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington state had to “take cover” Tuesday morning after the collapse of 20-foot-long portion of a tunnel used to store contaminated radioactive materials. The Energy Department said it activated its emergency operations protocol after reports of a “cave-in” at the 200 East Area in Hanford, a sprawling complex about 200 miles from Seattle where the government has been working to clean up radioactive materials left over from the country’s nuclear weapons program.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: A big transportation plan

Register Guard

Taken together, the committee’s recommendations would raise an additional $1 billion a year by the time they were fully phased in, allowing a substantial increase in the $2 billion a year the state, cities and counties currently spend on transportation. According to a 2014 study by the Portland Business Alliance, a failure to relieve congestion on Oregon highways will cost the average Oregon household $788 a year by 2040 due to higher prices and lost competitiveness related to transportation delays. There will be arguments over many details of the committee’s plan. There should be little debate, however, over the need for a response on the scale the committee has proposed.

 

Editorial: Some good and bad in state transportation plan

Bend Bulletin

Perhaps the worst proposal in the package is for a new statewide payroll tax for public transportation. It would be one-tenth of 1 percent, so a person making $50,000 a year would pay about $50 a year. Not every community in Oregon has a public transit system. It’s not at all fair to tax all Oregonians to pay for something they may not have. If a local community has a system, the voters there should decide for themselves how much they want to tax themselves to pay for it.

 

Guest: Oregon’s transportation crossroads: Creating options for the future

John D. Miller of Salem is president of the Salem-based Wildwood/Mahonia family of companies.

How we power our vehicles also needs to change. Transportation is the biggest source of climate pollution in Oregon. Alternative fuels, like the biodiesel produced right here in Salem from used cooking oil and waste grease, and electric cars and buses, are key to reducing that pollution. This conversion to clean fuels also creates jobs. For example, building electric vehicle infrastructure supports local electricians and other contractors. Lawmakers have a historic opportunity before them: To fund a modern transportation system that will provide tangible benefits for today’s communities while creating an environmentally sustainable system for generations to come.

 

Guest: Reducing Oregon’s diesel emissions should be a priority

Alan Sprott is the Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Vigor, which operates shipyards and manufacturing facilities throughout Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.    

Oregon now has an opportunity to begin implementing DEQ’s strategy to reduce diesel soot. Senate Bill 1008 would create a program to phase out or retrofit older diesel engines for cleaner engines used on roads, create an inventory of off-road diesel equipment, and create a fund from public improvement projects to repower or retrofit diesel powered equipment. The program also uses money from the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement to provide grants for reducing diesel emissions. These steps hit the core of DEQ’s strategy to reduce emissions by accelerating the replacement of older engines, and providing financial support for clean diesel projects.

 

OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS

 

Wyden renews call for special prosecutor after Comey firing

Portland Tribune

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said Tuesday that it was “outrageous” for President Donald Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey in the middle of an investigation into Russian links with people close to the president. “At this point, no one in Trump’s chain of command can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation,” Wyden said in a statement, adding, “The president would do well to remember that in America, the truth always comes out.”

 

Kate Brown Tries To Rewrite History

Wilsonville, OR – After years of highly public struggles with Obamacare, failed Oregon governor Kate Brown is trying to rewrite history regarding the state’s problems with the failed healthcare law as it heads for potential repeal in Congress.

In an interview on MSNBC, Brown praised the failed law, calling it “cost-effective.” But it appears Kate Brown hasn’t paid much attention to the headlines on Obamacare in Oregon for the last few years. Last July, Oregon’s Health Exchange Co-Op, known as Cover Oregon, was forced to close due to poor finances following catastrophic technical and service failures, producing embarrassing national headlines:

The Washington Examiner reported:

“Oregon’s insurance regulator closed the co-op late Friday due to poor finances, meaning that 15 of the original 23 co-ops have collapsed. The closures have cost taxpayers more than $1.5 billion in startup and solvency loans.

Oregon’s Health CO-OP was put in receivership on Friday and regulators gave its 20,600 policyholders until the end of the month to find a new plan…

The co-op lost $18.4 million last year, mostly because of high claims from policyholders.

What also didn’t help was Obamacare’s risk-adjustment program, which transfers funds from insurers with healthy enrollees to insurers with the sickest claims.”

Oregon’s Obamacare implosion was even the subject of an investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which released a report detailing the systemic issues with Oregon’s Obamacare system:

“In letters to Attorneys General Lynch and Rosenblum, Chairman Chaffetz wrote, ‘The documents and testimony show Oregon State officials misused $305 million of federal funds and improperly coordinated with former Governor John Kitzhaber’s campaign advisers. Official decisions were made primarily for political purposes. Cover Oregon was established as an independent organization by the legislature, and was not intended to be a wholly controlled subsidiary of the Governor’s political apparatus. Evidence obtained by the Committee shows, however, close coordination between Governor Kitzhaber, his official staff, his campaign advisers, and the supposedly independent Cover Oregon. The evidence we have uncovered implicates violations of state laws that restrict political activity by public employees.’”

U.S. News reported:

“Here, in brief, is what the committee found:

State law clearly established Cover Oregon as an independent entity. The governor and his political advisers’ involvement in Cover Oregon was inconsistent with Oregon law.
Campaign funds were used to assist the governor in his official capacity while handling Cover Oregon.
Cover Oregon became closely tied with all campaign activities, from polling to meetings.
The governor’s political operatives – none had technological experience – micromanaged many of the decisions that needed to be made regarding Cover Oregon.
Junking Cover Oregon and moving to HealthCare.gov was viewed as a way to “let the steam out of so much of the attacks.
“The Cover Oregon board was told the cost of moving to HealthCare.gov was $4-6 million. A slide showing moving the Medicaid system would cost $36 million was deleted.
After the governor complained about the “free independent expenditure campaign” his political opponent was receiving because of Cover Oregon, his political advisers drafted letters asking the attorney general to sue. The letter was sent days later.
In sum, the committee says, “Cover Oregon failed for two main reasons: The state acted as their own system integrator (like HealthCare.gov), and the state tried to revamp its entire healthcare system, not just build an exchange.”

·

“Now, Kate Brown has her staff engaging in political activity while no one is working to get to the bottom of what happened to the $305 million Cover Oregon funds that were lost,” stated Chair Currier. “These funds would come in very handy right now as Brown claims to be doing everything she can to close the sizable $1.8 billion deficit.”

“As Kate Brown continues to bury her head in the sand with regards to Oregon’s disastrous results with its Obamacare experiment, Oregonians learned firsthand just how calamitous it proved for their healthcare,” noted Currier. “If Kate Brown is unwilling to accept the reality that millions of Oregonians face with the disastrous Democrat healthcare law, she has no business serving another term as governor in 2018.”

Link to Online Posting:

https://oregon.gop/oregon-dem-gov-kate-brown-rewrites-obamacare-history-2017-05-09

The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. It’s 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: [email protected]

Website: Oregon.GOP

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

Twitter: @Oregon_GOP

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

Main: (503) 595-8881

Fax: (503) 697-5555

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

ORP Daily Clips

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

MAY 7, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY

 

Happening at the Capitol this week: business taxes, marionberry pie

Statesman Journal

The Oregon Legislature is slowly getting to the meat of budget matters this week with approval of some minor agency budgets by the Joint Ways and Means Committee and a third public meeting of the Joint Tax Reform Committee — while a flurry of odds-and-ends bills move through House and Senate chambers.

 

HOUSING

 

Rent control on the table in Legislature amid housing crunch

Register Guard

Landlords around the state told lawmakers that the momentum of the new bill has made them nervous. Some of the landlords said they have held off on making new property purchases, waiting first to see if rent control becomes a reality. Neighborhood Partner­ships­, a Portland-based nonprofit organization, is among the groups fighting for legislation allowing rent control in Ore­gon. “What we are hearing from all around the state is that tenants are experiencing these unbelievably large rent increases and it is pushing them out of the homes that they live in,” Neighborhood Partnerships­ Deputy Director Alison McIntosh said. “They’re basically being economically evicted from the homes that they’ve had, and that doesn’t help us create healthy, stable communities.”

 

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

 

Clyde Saiki will step out as state human services director

Portland Tribune

Clyde Saiki says he is retiring after two tumultuous years as director of the Department of Human Services, which has the largest agency workforce, and a total of 30 years in state government. “In his three decades of service to the State of Oregon, Clyde has demonstrated exemplary leadership at every agency,” Brown said in a statement. “I would like to thank him for his contributions to DHS and for his continued leadership through the summer to ensure a smooth transition when Fariborz takes the helm on Sept. 1.”

 

DHS director Clyde Saiki will retire; governor names his replacement

The Oregonian

Oregon political leaders said Saiki, 60, has made a positive impact during his short time leading the the department. Rep. Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass, who sits on the House Human Services Committee, said he appreciates Saiki’s work to put the department back on track. “It’s far from being where it needs to be, but I’m personally sad to see him go,” Stark said. “He’ll be greatly missed.”

HEALTH CARE

 

Greenlick Fights to Defend CCO Reforms in House Rules Committee

The Lund Report

The House Health Chairman now hopes to pass a compromise arrangement brokered by House Speaker Tina Kotek that would allow the Oregon Health Authority to set the rules to protect the state’s Medicaid reserves from Wall Street poaching and make sure those tax dollars are spent on community health.

 

OTHER STORIES

 

Patti Smith’s life defined by adventure, assisting others

Mountain Outlook

While she was working, Patti continued to be heavily involved in the community. She was a member of the Columbia Grange, and served four terms in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2001 to 2009. During her eight years representing District 52, she strived to be a voice for the people and acknowledge her constituents’ and colleagues’ needs, serving as assistant Speaker of the House for part of her term. “My sister would always surprise people who called her legislative office because she’d be the one to answer the phone,” Cartisser said. “That was just the kind of person she was.”

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Brown is late, limited in budget ideas

The Oregonian

If Oregonians had hoped Gov. Kate Brown could deliver a grand plan this legislative session that would help lift the state budget out of its deep deficit and define a path toward sustained financial stability, they’re likely as disappointed as we are.Brown should translate her nuanced executive orders to share the larger visions that may stand behind them. Addressing Oregon’s unfunded liability and scrutinizing the cost of public employee pay and health care are solid steps in the right direction. Instead of walking a careful line to the 2018 gubernatorial election, the governor should help her constituents understand why it’s necessary to control what pensions are paid to future public employees. And it wouldn’t hurt to communicate why she must do a better job tracking what Oregon can afford to pay state workers in salary and health care in years to come.

 

Editorial: Tax plan more detailed than spending cuts

Mail Tribune

Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, told the Democratic leaders he wanted them to promise the new revenue wouldn’t go for teachers’ salary increases, health benefits or PERS payments. The tax plan, he said, was “laser-focused,” while the proposed spending cuts were “quite fuzzy.”

We agree. And voters will want the same guarantees.

 

Editorial: Law is not necessary

Baker City Herald

But we disagree that a law — and in particular the constitutionally shaky bill that the Oregon Senate approved this week — is likely to accomplish, in any meaningful way, this noble objective. Senate Bill 719 passed by a 17-11 vote and is now under consideration in the House.  Besides its potential conflicts with the Second Amendment, our main concern with the bill is that it focuses solely on the means by which a person might harm himself or others, but has nothing to do with the person’s motivations. And we’re not convinced that those motivations can be addressed through legislation. Not every societal problem can be fixed with a law.

 

Editorial: Marion County, Salem would benefit greatly from sobering centers

Statesman Journal

We support an effort being sponsored by Rep. Duane Stark, a Republican from Grants Pass and co-sponsored by Rep. Knute Buehler, a Republican from Bend.Stark said he knows of a few other states piloting programs. but Oregon has a chance to lead on this issue. The Senate should vote ‘yes’ when the bill comes before it. As Buehler pointed out, more innovative ideas like this are needed “that emphasize compassion and rehabilitation rather than incarceration and punishment.”

 

Opinion: It’s not Trump or Republicans; Portland has a riot problem

Bill Currier is the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party.

It’s time to face it: First and foremost, Portland has a “riot” problem, not a Trump problem or a Republican problem. The strategy of appeasing rioters at the expense of the law-abiding citizens and business owners has entirely failed, and the people have had enough of it. Violent protests aren’t protests. They are riots. It is now time for the “Riot Games” to end. Local authorities must do more than catch and release these rioters. As a start, they must charge, prosecute, convict and incarcerate them. But just putting these rioters in jail isn’t enough.

 

Opinion: Rent control won’t solve the problem

Jim St. Clair is a real estate broker in Eugene

House Bill 2004 is trying to fix the wrong problem. As noted by several state representatives, this bill won’t build any new housing units. Other bills are under consideration that are intended to encourage new housing projects, but they won’t have much of an effect when Oregon cities start wiping out the local real estate returns. Removing the ban on rent controls is a dangerous approach to the state’s housing crisis.

 

OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS

 

Wyden: Resist GOP health care overhaul

Portland Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s 818th town hall meeting was almost an hour old Saturday night before he got to Topic A before the Senate. “My view is that the House bill would slam Oregon with a tsunami of suffering that would plunge thousands of Oregonians into debt and anguish,” Wyden told hundreds cheering him on at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. “I want you to know I will do everything in my power, night and day, to derail that House bill. That’s what Oregonians have been asking me to do.”

 

Community Town Hall Meetings

News from Representative Walden
Dear Friend:

I wanted to remind you of the community town hall meetings I am holding near you next week. I need your input on the biggest issues facing our communities and our country, and hope you’ll join me at these town halls so that I can hear from you directly. The meeting locations and details are listed below, and I look forward to seeing you there.

In the U.S. House, I’m working hard — along with President Trump and his team — to roll back costly regulations created under the previous administration, relieve burdens created by government agencies in our rural communities, and create jobs in Oregon. Improving federal land management, protecting our Constitutional rights, and putting an end to mismanagement and mistreatment at the VA are also top priorities for me.

At these meetings, I’ll give an update on these issues and take your questions and comments. I regularly visit and hold meetings in each of the 20 counties in our nearly 70,000 square mile district. In fact, I held 27 town halls in 2016 alone (at least one in each county), and I’ve held 137 since 2012. While these town halls require a lot of “windshield time” in the car, I rely on the visits as one way to help me stay in close touch with local communities in Oregon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What: Baker County Town Hall Meeting
When: 9:30am – 10:30am PDT
Where: Baker High School Main Gymnasium, 2500 E Street, Baker City

What: Union County Town Hall Meeting
When: 12:15pm – 1:15pm PDT
Where: Stella Mayfield Elementary School Auditorium, 1111 Division Street, Elgin

What: Wallowa County Town Hall Meeting
When: 2:30pm – 3:30pm PDT
Where: Wallowa Elementary School Cafeteria, 315 W 1st Street, Wallowa

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thank you for considering attendance at these town hall meetings near you. You can reach my office in Oregon toll-free at (800) 533-3303 if you have any questions. I hope to see you next week. It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District


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If you would like to contact me with a follow-up question or comment, you can do so by clicking here.

“Revolving Door”

Oregon Dem Governor Kate Brown Perpetuates “Revolving Door”

Between Lawmakers And Lobbyists With New Hire

Wilsonville, OR – Oregon Republican Party released a statement today regarding “failed” Democrat Oregon governor Kate Brown’s decision to hire a former lawmaker as a lobbyist on her behalf has drawn increasing fire for perpetuating the state’s “revolving door” between lobbyists and legislators. A new editorial from the Bend Bulletin blasts the double standard that Brown used to hire her newest lobbyist while calling to fix the law that allowed her to do so:

 

“A former Oregon legislator who wants to lobby lawmakers in the statehouse must wait out one legislative session, a so-called “cooling off” period.

But if that same former legislator goes to work for the government — say, in the governor’s office — lobbying can commence right away, no cooling off needed.

 

Why the double standard? 

 

That’s the question raised by recent rulings surrounding former Rep. Peter Buckley’s new job as Gov. Kate Brown’s budget adviser. Buckley, an Ashland Democrat, left the Legislature in January. By March, he had his new part-time post, focusing on long-term approaches to the state’s budget woes…  

 

What’s so different about lobbying former colleagues to adopt the position of some government agency or office, versus lobbying them for a private company or organization? In both cases the former legislator is paid — whether by salary or contract — to try to influence lawmakers to advance one interest or position over another.

 

Ironically, after getting the opinion she expected, the governor says she doesn’t intend to have Buckley do any lobbying this session, which is now half over. But now she and other government agencies have a green light to engage in the very “revolving door” between Legislature and lobbyists that the law appeared designed to prevent.

If the law really says that’s OK, it’s time to fix the law.”

 

“Kate Brown’s decision to hire Buckley may have been cleared by an commission she herself appointed, but it only further legitimizes the revolving door between lobbying interests and Oregon’s government that she continues to use for her own gain,” stated Oregon GOP Chair Currier. “Despite coming to office with promises to bring transparency and accountability to Oregon’s government, Kate Brown continues to do the exact opposite in office.”

Gorsuch, Democrat Hypocrisy on Display

This really grates. No principles whatever, just take advantage in whatever way presents.

Setting the Record Straight – Elections and Outreach

Greg Walden and Repeal of Obamacare

Chairman Walden said:

“After years of Obamacare’s broken promises, House Republicans today took an important step. We’ve spent the last eight years listening to folks across this country, and today we’re proud to put forth a plan that reflects eight years’ worth of those conversations with families, patients, and doctors. Simply put, we have a Better Way to deliver solutions that put patients – not bureaucrats – first, and we are moving forward united in our efforts to rescue the American people from the mess Obamacare has created.

“With today’s legislation, we return power back to the states – strengthening Medicaid and prioritizing our nation’s most vulnerable. We provide the American people with what they’ve asked for: greater choice, lower cost, and flexibility to choose the plan that best suits their needs. Today is just the first step in helping families across this country obtain truly affordable health care, and we’re eager to get this rescue mission started.

The Affordable Care Act turned out to be anything but affordable, both for families in Oregon and the federal government. Health insurance markets are in a death spiral. For families, average premiums this year increased by 27% in Oregon, following a 23% increase the previous year. And annual federal spending on Medicaid and Medicare will increase by nearly $1 trillion in by 2027 unless we right the ship — not to mention Medicaid’s estimated $36.3 billion in improper payments.

That’s why I’m proud to be leading the charge to repeal and replace Obamacare with a patient-centered solution that fixes our broken health care system. Our bill, which you can read at www.readthebill.gop, makes real conservative reforms to make health care affordable for families.

Entitlement reform — This bill represents the largest entitlement reform the federal government has undertaken in the last 20 years. Medicaid is a vital program for families across Oregon, but Obamacare put Medicaid on an unsustainable path. We need to make sure this critical lifeline is available not just for patients tomorrow, but also for patients 10 years from now. That’s why our bill bends the federal cost curve and refocuses Medicaid’s limited resources to the patients most in need. By responsibly winding down the Medicaid expansion, we are significantly decreasing the federal footprint in health care and giving patients who have benefited from the expansion a tax credit to spend on their health care the way they see fit — not as dictated by bureaucrats in Washington.

$1 trillion tax cut — Obamacare’s regulations alone have already cost the American economy more than $53 billion to date. The ACA also empowered the IRS to become the police of health care coverage through the individual mandate. The only problem being that the American people did not bow down to this federal government decree: just this past year, 19.2 million people either paid the individual mandate penalty or claimed an exemption, far more than the 10.3 million individuals who are signed up for plans on Obamacare exchanges. With taxes and penalties, Obamacare tried to coerce people into signing up for federal health care, when in reality what they need is more choice and freedom to find a plan that works for them. That’s why our plan repeals $1 trillion on Obamacare taxes, and returns control over health care back to patients and their doctors.

Defunding Planned Parenthood — In addition to the other reforms we’ve put into place, our bill will defund Planned Parenthood and get the federal government out of the abortion business once and for all. This is not about denying access to women’s health services — on the contrary, we are doubling funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which provide many of the same women’s health services as Planned Parenthood, but also preserve the First Amendment rights of employers and employees alike by not having their tax dollars subsidize abortions.

Returning control of health care to states — Oregon has always been a leading state in health care innovation. The Coordinated Care Organizations have done some great work in reducing the state’s cost curve while improving access to care, but those successes have not come without difficulties. Insurers have continued to flee Oregon’s individual market, and premiums have continued to rise, leaving patients with fewer choices and higher costs. That’s why our bill returns control over health care to states, which have long been the laboratories for successful delivery of care at a sustainable cost to the government. Your doctors are in Oregon, not Washington, D.C. — shouldn’t your health care decisions be made in Oregon, too?

Our work to empower patients and put them back in control of their health care is not done, but this bill is a good first step — again you can read it at www.readthebill.gop. Please know that I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and with the Administration to save our nation’s health care and repair the damage Obamacare has done.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District


Please feel free to sign up for my E-Newsletter, like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you have not already done so.

If you would like to contact me with a follow-up question or comment, you can do so by clicking here.

Main Street Patriots, Spirit of America Rally

From the Union County Republicans,

It was decided to hold our rally on March 4th. We are asking people to save the date and gather at Max Square at noon time to hand out constitutions, wave American flags and promote patriotism. It is expected the gathering will last approximately an hour.
You can pull up Internet information on these national rallies under Main Street Patriots, Spirit of America Rallies.

Oregon

Union County

Date: Saturday March 4, 2017
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Contact: Brittany Hargrove / Mike Burton / [email protected]
Event Page: Click Here
Location: Max Square in downtown La Grande, OR 97850 (Click for Map)

 

Other Oregon Locations:

Lakeview

Date: Saturday March 4, 2017
Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Contact: Angie Albertson / [email protected]
Event Page: Click Here
Location: 513 Center St. Lakeview, OR 97630 (Click for Map)

Update from Rep. Greg Walden

News from Representative Walden

Click here to open this e-mail in its own browser window     Click here to open a plain text version of this email

Dear Jay:

My seventh in-person town hall of the year took me to Malheur County, a region that has felt the destruction of an extremely harsh winter. Unprecedented snowfall has collapsed hundreds of structures, and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and great hardship for the people who live there. During my visit to Ontario, I saw first-hand the devastating impact this year’s snowfall has had on businesses, the area’s economy, and especially the local agriculture industry. I’ve called on the President to swiftly make a disaster declaration so the local communities can get the immediate assistance they desperately need, and I am hopeful he will act soon.

Click here or on the image above to view KTVB’s coverage of my recent town hall in Ontario, and my tour through the city to see first-hand the damage from this year’s winter.

At the town hall meeting in Ontario, I provided an update on my work in Congress to grow jobs in rural communities like Malheur County, cut unnecessary federal red tape, and fix our nation’s health care system. We also discussed reining in government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, which have both burdened rural economies in Oregon with overregulation. I will continue my work in Congress to provide relief to our farming and ranching communities, who’ve felt the brunt of an overreaching federal government.

 Thanks to all who participated in the Malheur Country town hall where we engaged in a thoughtful and substantive discussion on improving the economy in rural communities, reducing burdensome regulations, and improving our nation’s health care system.

I encourage you to continue reading for more about my recent work as your representative in Congress, as well as Oregonians I met with in the past few weeks.

Meeting with Oregonians in the nation’s capital

Members of the Oregon Potato Commission updated me on federal issues affecting the agriculture industry in Oregon.

Paula Fong and Lee Juillerat of the Crater Lake Natural History Association discussed the importance of taking care of Oregon’s only National Park. I share Paula and Lee’s deep commitment to preserving and promoting the national treasure that is Crater Lake National Park.

Representatives who work hard to take care of our veterans who live in our Oregon Veterans’ Homes gave me important input regarding health care policy and funding issues they face.

Continuing the process of rebuilding our nation’s health care system

Click here or on the image above to hear my remarks on health care at a recent House Republican News Conference

The House Energy and Commerce Committee — which I chair — continues to be hard at work rebuilding our nation’s health care system. Recently, I provided a brief update on the committee’s health care work at a news conference with my fellow House Republicans. I spoke of providing Oregonians with access to affordable health insurance, and providing states like Oregon with flexibility to innovate when it comes to their individual health care systems.

I’ve heard from farmers, ranchers, and small business owners who are experiencing skyrocketing premiums, and who’ve not been able to keep their plan or doctor. After meeting with states and governors across the country, it is clear that this is not sustainable, and the federal government must allow states to innovate to solve this problem. Our state of Oregon has had quite a bit of innovation over the years, such as the Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) that have brought better health care outcomes to Oregonians at lower costs. These are the great ideas that are out there in our states, but right now they have to beg permission from federal bureaucrats to be able to do anything innovative.

We want to give states flexibility and provide all Americans with better health care. We will accomplish both goals in legislation we’ll be considering in the near future.

Protecting patients with pre-existing conditions

While we work to repair our nation’s failing health care system, patients remain the focal point of our efforts. At town hall meetings around Oregon, I’ve heard a clear message: we need to guarantee our health care system works better for all Oregonians. I am committed to protecting patients living with pre-existing conditions — period. By focusing on patient centered reforms, we will increase access to quality, affordable care and guarantee that all Oregonians are protected from unfair, higher premium costs simply due to how healthy or sick they may be.

That’s why I’ve introduced the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act. This legislation aims to reaffirm guaranteed health care access, ensure that enrollees cannot have benefits excluded from a plan due to a pre-existing condition, and that patients will not pay more based on their health care status.

This legislation is just another step toward keeping our commitment to fix the problems with our health care system and protect vulnerable patients from being treated unfairly. As I continue to work hard to rebuild our nation’s health care system, I will always aim to put what’s best for patients first.

I also appreciate the input I’ve received from people who have benefited from Oregon’s approach to providing care to those most in need. We need to give other state’s the flexibility we’ve had to innovate and work toward achieving better health outcomes.

To read more about this bill, please click here.

Modernizing Oregon’s energy infrastructure

Click here or on the image above to view my remarks at a recent hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee regarding updating our nation’s energy infrastructure

At a recent hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I spoke of the importance of updating America’s energy infrastructure. As technology continues to change the way we go about our daily lives, we also have to rethink how we deliver and consume electricity. This is especially true in central Oregon, where an outdated power grid is preventing economic growth.

Last month, I convened a meeting with city of Prineville officials, the local power utility and representatives of the Bonneville Power Administration to discuss the lack of access to enough electricity to meet the demand of a potential, major new employer.  Most of us were surprised and disappointed to learn that the electrical grid in Prineville is not sufficient to support that proposed project, and it could take three years or more before the city could get the electricity  this community needs. That is not acceptable.

We need action to modernize America’s energy infrastructure, so that communities in Oregon — like Prineville — can reach their full economic potential. We can’t keep losing out on new jobs.  The Energy and Commerce Committee will be at the forefront of tackling this challenge head on.

Boosting Oregon’s transportation priorities

Recently, I called to congratulate Elaine Chao on becoming Secretary of Transportation.  I also took the opportunity to discuss our nation’s infrastructure needs and Oregon’s transportation priorities. During our conversation, she confirmed to me that — contrary to some reports — there is no list of the Transportation Department’s priorities that excludes Oregon. Period.

Having known Elaine for years, I am confident that she will work closely with me on our district’s needs, and that Oregon’s initiatives will have the support of the Department of Transportation. I look forward to working alongside Secretary Chao as we seek to achieve Oregon’s long-term transportation goals and upgrade America’s vast infrastructure.

That’s all for this update. Remember, you can always keep in touch with me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District


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February 24, 2017 Daily Clips

 

 HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

FEBRUARY 24, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLICY

 

HD 18 – REPRESENTATIVE LEWIS

 

Silverton mayor named to Oregon House vacancy

Portland Tribune

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 takes house oath, resigns as mayor

Statesman Journal

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.”

 

COMMITTEE BILLS

 

Oregon House Debates Whether To Ban Anonymous Bills

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 introduce bill to ban late-term abortions in Oregon

The Oregonian

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.

 

PREDICTIVE SCHEDULING

 

Oregon Lawmakers Consider ‘Predictive Scheduling’ Bill

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.

 

Bills take aim at irregular scheduling, on the rise in Oregon’s service industry

Statesman Journal

“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 consider boost to service industry worker rights

Mail Tribune

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 ‘move over’ law could be expanded

Statesman Journal

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.

 

BOTTLE BILL

 

Bill would make Oregon deposit on cans, bottles worth 10 cents

Statesman Journal

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.

 

EDUCATION

 

Oregon officials: Federal reversal on K-12 transgender bathrooms will have no local effect

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 ECONOMY

 

Bill seeks to boost Malheur County economy

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.

 

MARIJUANA

 

Oregon officials react to prospect of federal pot crackdown

East Oregonian

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.”

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Legislature 2017: CCOs could be required to become nonprofit

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.

 

Providers voice opposition to health care cuts

Mail Tribune

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

 

Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read defends vote to sell Elliott State Forest

Statesman Journal

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

 

Oregon moves to join 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 joins Washington’s travel ban lawsuit, citing ‘harm’ to state, institutions

Portland Tribune

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

 

Enthusiastic crowd greets Wyden

Mail Tribune

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.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Bill to mandate class size as contract issue is wrong solution to real problem: Editorial Agenda 2017

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.

 

Editorial: ‘Protecting’ free speech

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.

 

Editorial: Let the public see public records

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.”

 

Editorial: Oregon Promise should reflect need

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.

 

Editorial: Richardson speaks up for Oregon elections

Associated Press

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.

 

Guest: Raise revenue to solve budget woes

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.

 

Guest: State can balance budget without taxes

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.

 

Guest: What PERS cuts would mean to me

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.

 

NATIONAL

 

Feds signal changes on recreational marijuana

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.

 

Trump administration takes aim at recreational marijuana

The Oregonian

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.

 

Environmental and fishing groups sue to save NW salmon

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.

Ethan Barton of Daily Caller article on Gov. Brown’s Pay-To-Play corruption

Dear Oregon Republican Party State Central Committee members,

Chairman Currier, Vice Chairman Barreto, and Rep. Post asked me to bring national conservative media attention to Gov. Brown’s pay-to-play corruption and refusal for ethics reform. I reached out to Ethan Barton of Daily Caller. This is his first article on the subject.

Brown also took a last-minute donation from the president of an Oregon company that’s received more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded state contracts, and 10 of those worth $444 million are up for renewal during the governor’s four-year term, TheDCNF previously reported.

Please post it on your FB

http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/17/oregon-governor-wins-big-during-taxpayer-funded-casino-trip/
and retweet.

https://twitter.com/SolomonYue/status/833000073009131521

twitter.com
“#Korruptkate @oregongovbrown #pay2play: taxpayers paid casino stay, 1st walked w/ $5K, get $55K 4 #orpol favor later https://t.co/zGPXAw3o6V”

Let’s elect a Republican governor in 2018!

Thank you.

Solomon Yue

Republican National Committeeman for Oregon

Vice Chairman and CEO

Republicans Overseas, Inc. and Republicans Overseas Action, Inc.

https://www.facebook.com/republicansoverseas

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/solomon-yue/8b/97b/97b

The Oregon Trail Of Political Patronage

 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown And AG Ellen Rosenblum Blaze The Oregon Trail Of Political Patronage

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2017/02/13/blazing-the-oregon-trail-of-pinstripe-patronage-gov-kate-brown-attorney-general-ellen-rosenblum/#1ade4adc2318
As the state contemplates an income tax hike, Oregon’s elites line their pockets with taxpayer money.
In 2016, as politicians across America were fleeing voter wrath, Oregon’s governor and attorney general were blazing an unlikely trail – accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from businesses with state contracts.
Since 1940, at the federal level, individuals and entities negotiating or working under federal contracts are prohibited from giving political cash to candidates, parties or committees. In Oregon, however, this political patronage is perfectly legal, at least for now.
Our analysis at American Transparency (OpenTheBooks.com) found 207 state contractors gave $805,876 in campaign cash to Governor Kate Brown ($518,203) and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum ($287,673) since 2012. These businesses hold lifetime state contracts worth at least $2.6 billion. State contractor donations to the governor and attorney general represent 57 percent of current cash on hand in their campaign committees.
We found the data by looking at a universe of companies or their affiliated employees funding Brown or Rosenblum’s campaigns since 2012. We then matched those company names with the contract database provided by the State of Oregon. It’s a trail of conflicts of interest paved with campaign cash and contractor payments.

We found 41 law firms holding state contracts with a lifetime value of nearly $50 million who gave political donations to Rosenblum ($196,093 in donations) and Brown ($89,958 in donations) since 2012. Oregon outsources legal work to these firms despite Rosenblum’s Department of Justice employing up to 1,228 staffers at an annual taxpayer cost of $74 million. Why put state employees to work when you can outsource it to potential donors? By comparison, the Attorneys General of Illinois and New York have 875 and 1,685 employees respectively.
State campaign disclosures show that firms themselves, or their affiliated partners, principals, and employees gave the following:

  • Markowitz Herbold PC – $25,084 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm received new and amended state contracts valued at $13 million from 2013-2015.
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – $16,331 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm held state contracts worth a lifetime value of $2.995 million.
  • Stoll, Stoll, Berne, Lokting & Shalchter PC – $15,617 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm held contracts worth a lifetime value of $2.71 million.
  • Tonkon Torp LLP – $6,560 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm held contracts worth a lifetime value of $2 million.
  • Ball Janik LLP – $4,600 in campaign donations to the governor and AG.  Separately, the firm held state contracts worth $1.11 million over their lifetime that were initiated, modified, or amended during 2011-2015.

Before publishing, we pressed the five law firms for confirmation, comment and context. While three responded, only Ball Janik confirmed their contracts.
We also found major U.S. corporations who reaped Oregon state contracts worth millions of dollars in lifetime value while each business, or affiliated employees, gave campaign cash to the governor or AG since 2012. Some of these businesses include Alaskan Air (contracts worth $25 million); AT&T ($32.4 million); Hewlett Packard ($38.5 million); Microsoft ($15.6 million); Pitney Bowes ($9.8 million); Verizon ($57.2 million); FedEx ($82 million); CH2M Hill ($129.9 million); and PacificSource Health ($82.4 million).

A few more examples:

  • Portland General Electric (PGE), a $1.9 billion annual revenue Fortune 1000 public utility distributing electricity to 44 percent of the Oregon population contributed $31,000 to Gov. Kate Brown and $7,000 to AG Rosenblum’s political committees since 2012. According to state disclosures, PGE held state contracts worth $254,258 in lifetime value.
  • Pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly & Co. ($11,000) and Pfizer ($15,000) gave a total of $26,000 to Brown.
  • Professional Credit Service has a state contract for debt collection with a lifetime value of $10 million. Joseph Hawes, CEO, gave $24,500 to Brown during a period when the firm’s contract was amended and extended.

Oregon is home to Native American groups who hold state contracts worth $36.7 million in lifetime value. These groups are also significant political donors with campaign donations of $140,000 since 2012. Brown received $123,000 while Rosenblum received $17,000.
Six Native American groups who contributed are Cow Creek Band of Umpqua ($85,000); Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde ($25,000); Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians ($11,500); Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation ($8,500); Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation ($6,000); and Confederated Tribes of Coquille ($4,000).

Even in Illinois, where the number one manufactured product is corruption, it is illegal for state vendors with contracts over $50,000 to give campaign donations to statewide office holders. The 2011 Illinois law barred this “pay to play” practice in which contractors give campaign donations to powerful statewide office holders.
At a time when Oregon is considering an income tax hike, elected officials should consider revamping public integrity laws to match the federal statute – or at least Illinois ethics. Voters might appreciate an effort to pioneer reform rather than blazing a trail of political patronage costing taxpayers millions.

 

 

Adam Andrzejewski (say: And-G-F-Ski) is the CEO of OpenTheBooks.com – the mission is to post ‘Every Dime, Online, In Real Time’ of all public spending at every level of Federal, State and Local government across America.

 

 

Methodology/Disclaimer:
Upper-bound contractual payment limits are not actual billings or state payments. To the extent that the information contains government errors, our report will reproduce those errors. No quid pro quo or illegal activity by any elected official, company or individual referenced in this editorial is implied or intended. All state contract information referenced was produced via the Oregon Open Records law by the State of Oregon. Kate Brown was elected Oregon Secretary of State (top auditor) in 2008 and assumed to Governor in February 2015. Ellen Rosenblum was appointed Attorney General in June 2012 and twice won reelection

House Republican Office Daily Clips

 

HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

FEBRUARY 1, 2017 DAILY CLIPS

 

STATE GOVERNMENT

 

14 things to know about the Oregon Legislature

The Oregonian

Oregon’s 79th Legislative Assembly convenes today. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s session, by the numbers.

 

Oregon Legislative Session To Kick Off Amid Budget Questions

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Republicans serve in the minority in both chambers but Democrats would need a handful of GOP votes in order to pass a tax increase. Ferrioli and most others in his party say any tax hike would need to be paired with cost-cutting measures, including to the state’s public pension system. At a preview ahead of the legislative session, a reporter asked House Republican leader Mike McLane if he could give a detailed list of cuts he’d like to make.

 

“Well sure I could,” McLane responded. “But you’d have to endure a 45 minute presentation with slides.” But McLane said there’s a general principle he’d follow if he were in charge.

“One of the ways you have to do it is to just not accept the premise that everything you did last year has to be done this year,” he said.

 

United Streetcar is About to Get Its Tax Break Cancelled. Here Are Five Other Tax Giveaways That Oregon Could Scrap.

Willamette Week

Small-business pass-through income

$120 million

In the so-called “Grand Bargain” of 2013, Democrats won Republican votes for pension cuts (which Republicans desperately wanted) by granting tax cuts to the owners of small businesses that employ at least one person. “You don’t have to do anything for the tax break,” Wiser says. “You don’t have to hire anybody. You just have to be an owner.” But Republicans who fought hard for small business say a deal’s a deal. “It’s been a little over three years since [House Speaker] Tina Kotek and [Senate President] Peter Courtney agreed to the Grand Bargain,” says Rep. Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “I would sure hope that their word has a longer shelf life than that.

 

Oregon far short of greenhouse gas emissions goals, report says

The Oregonian

Oregon is not reducing carbon dioxide emissions fast enough to meet its goals for 2020 and beyond, a new report finds. In fact, it’s not even close. Those are the findings of a biennial report the Oregon Global Warming Commission will deliver to state lawmakers this week, and they come despite ambitious legislation passed to cut emissions from the electricity and transportation sectors.

 

Oregon Promise’s future not guaranteed heading into legislative session

The Oregonian

Even such higher education advocates as state Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, and the community colleges’ lobbying organization, are unsure of the program’s future. “There’s no doubt that under the current scenario, all programs, virtually, would take a serious hit,” said Hass, who is working on a plan to raise more revenue for the state. “My hope, though, is that (the $10 million earmarked by Devlin and Nathanson) was sort of a line in the sand.”

 

Corporate Lobbyists Turned Oregon’s Iconic Bottle Bill Into a Sweet Payday For Their Clients

Willamette Week

On April 1, the deposit for returnable cans and bottles in Oregon will increase for the first time in history. Now, when you buy a bottle of Black Butte Porter or a can of LaCroix, you’ll pay a dime instead of a nickel. That’s because of a bill the Oregon Legislature passed six years ago.

 

PERS reform hearings start Oregon legislative session

The Statesman Journal

The Oregon Legislature will get right to work on what could be one of the most contentious issues of the 2017 session – trying to reduce costs associated with PERS, the Public Employees Retirement System. The Senate Committee on Workforce will hold hearings on the issue beginning Wednesday, the first day of the session.

 

Legislature told to target transportation to get Oregon on course to meet failing emissions goals

Portland Business Journal

A state commission is pointing to a potential 2017 transportation funding package in the Legislature as a key tool for getting Oregon on track to meeting its carbon emissions goals. In a draft report to the Legislature set to be issued today — the day the 2017 legislative session opens in Salem — the Oregon Global Warming Commission writes that a “key takeaway” is that “rising transportation emissions are driving increases in statewide emissions.The Commission recommends that the 2017 Legislature, in addressing Oregon’s overall transportation and transportation funding needs, use the occasion to devise and adopt measures that will bring transportation GHG emissions under control and aligned with Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals,” the report says.

 

Oregon legislators from Lane County area focus on pet projects and peeves in upcoming Salem session

The Register-Guard

In a first big batch of bills introduced before the session, Lane County lawmakers have submitted notable proposals to limit hospital costs, bolster women’s health care coverage, offer electric-vehicle incentives, install traffic cameras at red lights, and increase state taxes on timber.

 

Shell company legislation awaits Oregon lawmakers

KGW

Oregon lawmakers could hear as many as four bills related to anonymous company abuse during the legislative session that starts Wednesday. Former Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins pre-session filed three of the bills and credited the Business Journal’s reporting last year when announcing her intent to develop legislation. The bills would address the problems illustrated in an October 2015 Business Journal investigation that connected an Aloha house to a California “corporation mill” and a global web of fraud.

 

Grants Pass State Representative Speaks at Statewide Launch of Every Child Program

KAJO

Representative Stark said he was proud to see Every Child and DHS find a way to inspire community support that’s working. He said they have found a new way to tap into the hearts of community members to remind them of their love and duty to care for children and they’re doing it at success rate never seen before.

 

Oregon governor creates Trump resistance team

The Oregonian

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is trying to amass a group of volunteers to resist the Trump administration while promoting her. In an email her campaign sent to supporters Tuesday, Brown said Donald Trump’s first actions as president “have attacked our values as Americans and as Oregonians.” “Now, more than ever, we must bring communities together to resist in a divided nation,” the message continues.

 

State Representative Sal Esquivel is proposing a sales tax to replace property tax

KOBI Medford

Oregonians have said it time and time again that they don’t want a sales tax. Voters have turned down various versions 9 times in the last 90 years. But Representative Sal Esquivel is hoping Oregon voters will change their minds. Esquivel wants to impose a 4.5% sales tax on non-essential items to replace property taxes on the first $500,000 dollars of owner-occupied homes.

 

Gov. Brown names new economic policy advisor

The Oregonian

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced the latest addition to her office: Jason Lewis-Berry, a former official at the U.S. Department of State, will advise the governor on economic and jobs policy.

 

OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS

 

Oregon’s Greg Walden, with new White House clout, meets with Trump, Pence to tackle prescription drug costs

The Oregonian

Trump declared “in no uncertain terms” that the government must find a way to reduce drug prices, Walden said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive. But Trump also praised the drug company executives in attendance for providing important medications to U.S. consumers, Walden said. Walden said the meeting was a “very positive discussion” and that Trump was “pretty emphatic” that pharmaceutical companies must reduce the price of their drugs and work to keep their domestic labor force.  “We have to get prices down,” Walden said. “That should be news to consumers’ ears.”

 

Oregon’s Greg Walden supports Trump ban on refugee immigration, but criticizes its rollout

The Oregonian

Greg Walden, Oregon’s lone Republican congressman, approves of the motive behind president Donald J. Trump’s executive order curtailing immigration and refugee programs, but criticized its rollout as less than stellar. In an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive, Walden said he supports protecting the nation from foreign threats, including immigrants or refugees who would seek to do harm.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

EPA cutbacks and Oregon’s environment: What we know

KGW

As the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality works to rebound from a tumultuous 2016, the agency now faces an uncertain future in light of the Trump administration’s planned cutbacks at the federal Environmental Protection Agency. DEQ officials say questions surround the agency’s access to research, communications and budget, impacting its ability to monitor environmental health hazards in Oregon.

 

HOUSING

 

Landlords warns of unintended consequences of required renter relocation assistance

Portland Tribune

Landlord lobbyist John DiLorenzo says there will be unintended consequences of the City Council requires landlord to pay the relocation costs of tenants subject to no-caused evictions.

 

Proposed tenant protections could draw lawsuit, limit affordable housing supply

The Oregonian

If the rule takes effect, Portland landlords will have to go through the just-cause eviction process if they want a tenant out and don’t want to help pay moving costs. Eudaly’s policy will require landlords to pay that money for all no-cause evictions, said her policy director, Jamey Duhamel.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: It’s time for the Legislature to get to work

Democrat Herald Editorial Board

The first half of the session will be dominated by what legislators sometimes call “dogs and cats” — hundreds of bills that might address an important issue, but don’t necessarily fit into the Legislature’s major storylines. So we can expect discussions on topics as disparate as affordable housing, gun control, marijuana legalization, a carbon cap-and-invest program to combat greenhouse gas emissions, requirements for some businesses to enact so-called “predictive scheduling” for their employees and many others. Judging by some of the partisan tussling that already has occurred, this session might also include an unusual amount of feuding between Democrats and Republicans.

 

Editorial: Renters relocation assistance measure is short-sighted

The Oregonian Editorial Board

The measure is big-hearted in that it seeks to offset an economic cruelty. Tenants of the 18-unit Normandy Apartments in Northeast Portland, for example, this year face rent increases of 100 percent, Eudaly told The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board, and some 40 children are among the residents. Yet provisions of the measure are honed to ensure landlords can continue to charge whatever they want. Only in those instances in which a rent hike hits 10 percent or more will a tenant choosing to move out be paid relocation expenses indexed to apartment size: $2,900 for the studio tenant, $3,300 for one-bedroom dwellers, $4,200 for two-bedroom occupants, $4,500 for those leasing a three-bedroom unit. If several families were to move from the Normandy in the coming months, under the terms of Eudaly’s measure they would, as a group, be paid a hefty sum.

 

Editorial: Will we pay the price of sanctuary?

Democrat Herald Editorial Board

How much federal money might be at risk locally if the Trump administration follows through? It’s hard to say: It’s not clear which grants might be affected. There is no clear definition of what is meant by a “sanctuary city” or “sanctuary state.” It’s not clear whether the president needs congressional approval. It’s not even clear whether the action is legal, although it seems to be a sure bet that litigation awaits.

 

Editorial: Sen. Jeff Merkley becomes Sen. Filibuster

The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board

When his party controlled the Senate, Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley was a leading opponent of the filibuster, which Republicans, then in the minority, were using to block various presidential nominations. Now that Republicans control both the presidency and the Senate, however, Merkley has refashioned himself as Sen. Filibuster. He says he will use the tool to block any Donald Trump nominee to the Supreme Court who is not Merrick Garland. Turnabout, it seems, is fair play.

 

Guest: Oregon’s decision compromises salmon and integrity

Washington State Representative Liz Pike, (R-18)

With broken promises from our sister state to the south, it will be difficult to embrace any future bi-state co-management strategies with Oregon. We are now faced with immediate enforcement challenges for both Washington and Oregon as they navigate an imaginary line between our two states on the Columbia River. Perhaps the silver lining will be more Washington fishing licenses sold to Oregon recreational anglers.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

 

Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

The New York Times

President Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, elevating a conservative in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia to succeed the late jurist and touching off a brutal, partisan showdown at the start of his presidency over the ideological bent of the nation’s highest court.

 

Senate Dems Ramp Up Opposition to Trump Nominees

RealClearPolitics

Congressional Democrats have launched into full hardball mode. Fueled by a newly energized liberal base, lawmakers are ratcheting up their opposition to President Trump and embracing obstructionist tactics they once decried by delaying votes on remaining Cabinet nominees, boycotting committee votes, and debating a filibuster for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court.

 

Amid Political Rancor, ACA Sign-Up Deadline Arrives

The Wall Street Journal

Democrats’ move to stall—at least temporarily—Mr. Price’s confirmation to head that agency also throws a wrench into efforts by Republicans to speed along the ACA repeal. Mr. Trump has signaled through an executive order signed on Inauguration Day that as health secretary, Mr. Price could play a significant role in striking the law on his own if Congress failed to act.

 

Ryan calls immigration order rollout ‘regrettable,’ defends Trump

Fox News

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that the “confusion” surrounding the rollout of President Trump’s immigration executive order was “regrettable,” though he defended the national security goals of the sweeping measure signed late last week.

 

Rep. Walden live telephone town hall

Dear Friend:

I’d like to invite you to join me in a live, telephone town hall discussion I will be holding on Monday, February 6, at 10:45am. During the meeting, you’ll get an update on my work to grow the economy and solve the issues confronting Oregonians, and you’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions. I look forward to hearing what issues are on your mind, and have gotten very positive feedback from people who enjoy the substantive discussions, and listening to what others from around our enormous district have to say. Some people prefer this way to communicate because it’s too difficult for them to attend the town halls in person. For others the travel distance is simply too far, or they just aren’t comfortable in that setting.

To register for the meeting, please click here to sign up to be called Monday morning. If you cannot make this meeting, but would like to register for future telephone town halls, please contact my office by clicking here or by calling 800-533-3303. This is my first telephone town hall of 2017, and you can be sure that I will hold more throughout the year. I also recently held my first in-person town hall of the year in Lake County, which marked my 130th since 2012. These events are effective ways to hear from Oregonians, along with Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, mail and email.

Again, to register for the telephone town hall meeting, please click here.

I’d also encourage you to sign up for my free, weekly E-Newsletter, like my page on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter for updates on the latest news from Oregon and Washington, D.C.

Thank you, and I look forward to you joining the telephone town hall on Monday! It’s an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District


Please feel free to sign up for my E-Newsletter, like me on Facebook, and follow me onTwitter and Instagram if you have not already done so.

If you would like to contact me with a follow-up question or comment, you can do so by clicking here. Click here if you would like to Unsubscribe.

Quote Of The Day

There is no way Trump could be a credible combatant in the culture war as it existed for the last 40 years. But he has reoriented the main lines of battle away from issues related to religion and sexual morality and onto the ground of populism and nationalism. Trump’s culture war is fundamentally the people versus the elite, national sovereignty versus cosmopolitanism and patriotism versus multiculturalism. … He wants to topple a corrupt establishment that he believes has put both its selfish interests and a misbegotten, fuzzy-headed altruism above the well-being of the American people.

See How Trump is remaking the ‘culture war’