One of the problems with the media, is that in addition to holding the means of communication (they get to say what they want, when they want to, in the way they want to), but they also hold the rule book for what constitutes responsible journalism. When confronted with accusations of bias, they flip open the rule book and push back with rules made up on the fly to justify their agenda-driven behavior at any given moment. Don't believe me? Just step over here to the website for the Grey Lady, the New York Times, where you will find the handbook for ethical journalism.
I'm glad that such a handbook exists, but it has no place being owned, managed and warehoused on the website of the New York Times. It should inspire the same outrage that people have when incumbent elected officials enact weak ethical rules for themselves. Or when union teachers sit in rubber rooms -- collecting a paycheck -- because the organization that represents them doesn't want them touched.
Bias in the media matters. Watch this clip. It's only 43 seconds long.
Pretty outrageous stuff. Can you see anyone in the current legacy media asking such a similar softball question of President Trump? Press interactions with President Trump look more like this kind of badgering, that's more directed as cutting into his credibility than getting at facts:
I could multiply examples. They're easy to find. Information is important. We're not getting it from the legacy media.
Effective May 1, elective and non-urgent procedures are allowed.
Amidst mounting pressure that she open the State of Oregon to economic activity, Governor Brown has issued an executive order permitting elective and non-urgent medical procedures, starting May 1.The order reads "On or after May 1, 2020, elective and non-urgent procedures across all care settings that utilize PPE are allowed, but only to the extent they comply with guidance or administrative rules issued by the Oregon Health Authority."
In the same executive order, the Governor extended her guidelines for visitors to medical facilities, saying "I continue my delegation of authority to the Oregon Health Authority to provide guidance, which may be revised from time to time, regarding limitations and screening requirements for visitors to hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, based on best practices, to ensure the safety of patients and health care workers, and to slow the spread of COVID-19."
The Governor has claimed the authority to regulate this activity under the Oregon law that describes public health emergencies, claiming that her order "is a public health law, as defined in ORS 431A.005, and may be enforced as permitted under ORS 431A.010. Additionally, any person found to be in violation of this Executive Order is subject to the penalties described in ORS 401.990."
You can read the text of this law here.
State Senator Shemia Fagan has been receiving lots and lots of cash from government unions
Government employee unions have been giving quite a bit of cash lately to Secretary of State candidate and current State Senator, Shemia Fagan (D-Portland). She's received a donation of $32,000 from the Oregon Education Association, the largest teachers' union in the state on April 17, as well as a donation of the exact same amount ($32,000? Maybe they have a matching gift program) from Citizens Action for Political Education, a political arm of SEIU, one of the largest public employee unions in the state.
Fagan has raised over $175,000.00 so far and has about $100,000.00 on hand.
Fagan entered the race after former House Majority Leader and State Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) left the race amid a cloud of allegations that she used campaign funds for lavish travel. Her political future is uncertain.
One reason political experts are so interested in the Secretary of State's race this cycle is that whomever is elected will create the district maps in the redistricting process, if the Legislature fails to complete the redistricting process.
He replaces Senator Herman Baertschiger, who is stepping down.
State Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) was elected to be the next Senate Minority Leader in the Oregon Legislature, replacing Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass) who has stepped down from that role to run for Josephine County Commissioner. Baertschiger will be best known for his leadership during the legislative walk-out over Cap and Tax and other controversial pieces of legislation being pushed by the Democrats.
Oregon House Minority Leader, Christine Drazan said, "I have enjoyed working together on issues our constituents care deeply about. Senator Girod brings his years of experience in the Oregon Legislature to his new role as Senate Republican Leader and I look forward to partnering with him for the benefit of all Oregonians."
Senate Majority Leader, Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) Congratulated Senator Girod on his new role, saying "I have served with Senator Girod in the Senate for 12 years and I appreciate his good humor and commitment to public service. I know he will be a great leader for the Senate Republican caucus. I look forward to working with him in this new capacity."
Senate Republicans look to make gains in the November elections. They are currently in a super-minority holding 12 seats out of 30.
Even before the state was hit with COVID-19, the Medicaid burden had become unsustainable
Historically, Medicaid was funded almost exclusively by the federal government. Now, with the Medicaid expansion and the extension of benefits to illegal aliens, Medicaid is on the verge of becoming unsustainable both in terms of costs and the demands that it puts on resources and personnel, and these costs are being increasingly borne by the state. Medicaid programs deliver health care services to over one million people in Oregon -- about a quarter of the population -- primarily through the Oregon Health Plan, which supports comprehensive health care coverage for low-income adults and
children eligible for Medicaid, children eligible under the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and
children who would be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP except for their immigration status.
Oregon's Medicaid programs have experienced significant changes in the last several years. In the 2011-13
biennium, Oregon transformed the way it provides and pays for medical assistance through a new Medicaid
health care delivery system managed by coordinated care organizations (CCOs). A CCO is a network of all types of
health care providers who agree to work together in local communities to serve OHP members. CCOs focus on
prevention; chronic disease management; early intervention; integration of physical, behavioral, and oral health;
and the reduction of waste and inefficiency in the health system.
The jury is still out on the effectiveness of CCOs to meet this mission.
The chart at the right shows the considerable spike in caseload when Medicaid was expanded. It should be noted that the estimates that the chart was based on were made before the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Upset with the lingering "don't go out unless ncecessary" order, people are beginning to question the legal authority that Governor Brown is relying on to justify her order. It's clear that she has some authority.
Governor Kate Brown has used a statutory process, ORS 401.165, to declare a state of emergency. When the
Governor declares a state of emergency under ORS 401.165, the Governor has the following powers, among
The right to exercise all police powers vested in the state by the Oregon Constitution. ORS 401.168 (1). The right to suspend state agency orders and rules. ORS 401.168 (2).
The right to direct state agencies to use personnel, equipment and facilities to prevent or alleviate damage caused by the emergency. ORS 401.168 (3).
The right to assume control over all emergency operations, and police and law enforcement activities. ORS
401.175 (1) and (2)
The right to require the aid and assistance of any state agency or other public or quasi-public agency in the performance of duties and work related to the emergency. ORS 401.175 (5).
The right to control, restrict and regulate by rationing, freezing, prohibiting or other means, the use, sale or distribution of food, feed, fuel, clothing, or other commodities, materials, goods or services. ORS 401.188 (1).
The right to prescribe and direct activities in connection with the use, conservation, salvage and prevention of waste of materials, services and facilities, including but not limited to, production, transportation, power and communication facilities, training and supply of labor, utilization of industrial plants, health and medical care, nutrition, housing, rehabilitation, education, welfare, child care, recreation, consumer protection and other essential civil needs. ORS 401.188 (2).
The right to take any other action necessary for the management of resources following the emergency. ORS 401.188 (3).
What's not clear is how she can justify intervening in the private economy when it doesn't concern the "management of resources". Since the courts are closed now, it's perhaps not possible for litigation, but as things return to normal, there may be opportunities for some to take action against the State of Oregon and Governor Brown.
State Rep. Paul Evans voted for a carbon tax that won
Everyone -- well almost everyone -- still remembers the Republican walk out from the 2020 short session to quash the carbon tax and a host of other controversial legislation, but not many remember that the carbon tax passed the House in 2019, only to fail in the Senate. Many have forgotten that Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) is one that voted for this regressive tax.
Economic experts say that this legislation has grave economic consequences and that it may ultimately lead to a recession in Oregon. Early estimates of costs just to state agencies are estimated by legislative fiscal office to be upward of $22 million during the first year. These costs "are primarily associated with the initial implementation of the bill in the 2019-21 biennium. Subsequent biennia costs may be significantly higher due to the roll-up of position costs, standard inflation, or undefined factors such as information technology application implementation."
No matter what Oregon does with computer systems some how things get screwed up. Remember the deal with Oracle and Obama care? The next problem is going to be with Oregon implementing Real ID, seems DMV computer capability is going to have a very rough go of it. Have you ever wondered "where is the legislative oversight?"
The long hold times at the Oregon Employment Department are only an example of how Oregon's ruling party has proven incompetent in resolving most of the real issues that affect formerly working, taxpaying, private sector Oregonians. Instead, they have focused on expanding their power to control through excessive taxation, draconian legislation, and denial of the constitutional prerogative reserved for voters to decide on issues by declaring fake emergencies-to prevent dissension. Then, when an economic crisis does present itself, they accept no responsibility for their disastrous failures and misguided agenda. It seems the only disaster planning contingencies the Democrats know is how to cause them.
The questions I would like to ask candidates and elected officials are: So who is responsible for this mess? Why has no one been held accountable? What is your plan to fix this? Why should we vote for you? How are you going to be any different when it comes to tackling the real issues that affect formerly working Oregonians?
Why should I trust you to do any better at anything than they-the enlightened-who have promised nirvana and delivered a dung pile?
My objective is to encourage you to inform voters what you think and how you will address issues that are impacting them now and in the future.
A group of citizens is proposing that the commissioners meet some criteria for appointment.
The Department of Environmental Quality is a state agency and, like many larger state agencies, gets policy direction from a commission, appointed by the Governor. In the case of the DEQ, there is a five-member Environmental Quality Commission, appointed by the Governor, without any required qualifications or criteria.
A group of citizens has proposed an initiative that would require the Governor to consider the following criteria when making an appointment:
(a) No two members shall reside in the same Congressional district.
(b) At least one member shall be from the mining community
(c) At least one member shall be from the agricultural community
(d) At least one member shall be from the manufacturing community
(e) At least one member shall be from the timber community
Registered Oregon voters who are interested in signing the petition can download the signature sheet here. It must be printed, signed and snail mailed to one of the addresses on the back. It cannot be electronically submitted.
The DEQ budget is comprised of five major program units: Air Quality, Water Quality, Land Quality, Agency Management, and Pollution Control Bonds.
• Air Quality – This program area is responsible for compliance with federal and state air quality standards. The program monitors air quality to protect public health through the development and implementation of pollution reduction strategies. The primary sources of air pollution in Oregon are motor vehicles, forest slash burning, woodstoves, industrial facilities, field burning, and area sources. The federally delegated air quality program includes statewide air quality monitoring and emissions inventory, strategic planning for pollution reduction, and a permit system.
• Water Quality – This program area’s primary functions are setting and monitoring water quality standards and assessments, controlling wastewater through permits and certifications, providing financial and technical assistance, implementing the Oregon Plan for the restoration of salmon populations and watersheds, and implementing portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Water Quality program also operates the nonpoint source pollution program in Oregon. Nonpoint source pollution is not attributable to a specific source point. Examples of nonpoint source pollution include storm water and agricultural runoff.
• Land Quality – This program area focuses on preventing and reducing waste generation, assuring that waste generated is properly managed, responding to emergency spills, and cleaning up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and uncontrolled releases of toxic chemicals. Land Quality operates the federally approved solid waste landfill compliance program and the federally delegated hazardous waste program.
• Agency Management – This program provides leadership, coordination, and support for DEQ and staff assistance for the Environmental Quality Commission.
• Pollution Control Bonds – The sale of pollution control bonds is used by the Department to finance the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the Sewer Assessment Deferral Loan program, and the Orphan Site program. Bond proceeds are used to finance municipal waste water facility construction and other water pollution reduction projects.
How they differ from your average policy committee
There are (basically) two kinds of committees in the Legislature: Policy Committees and Ways & Means Committees. On Policy committees, it's Democrat vs. Republican and the Republicans always lose, unless it really doesn't matter, or unless someone sells their soul.
Ways & Means SubCommittees are different.
First of all, even though all budgets, as well as any bills that have a significant fiscal impact, go through them, they are not really budget committees. The budgets are made up by the Co-Chairs (or Tri-Chairs) of Ways & Means, and the SubCommittees don't really have that much input as to how much money goes to agencies and for what purpose.
This is why:
Let's say we have a family and we make $50,000 a year. I am the Car Committee for the family and I want to get a $72,000 Porsche. I can get a 5 year loan and the payments will be about $20,000 per year, including interest. What's the problem? The problem is that it only leaves $30,000 for all the other needs for the family (housing, food, utilities, etc). Why should I take that into account? It's a really nice car and it would be cool to have. That's why the Ways & Means SubCommittees don't get to fix budgets -- because every budget expenditure impacts the ability of every other budget expenditure and only those who have the really big picture can do the give and take necessary to craft a complete budget.
So, what do Ways & Means SubCommittees do, if they are not helping to craft the budget? The best use of Ways & Means SubCommittees and the scheduled committee meetings is as oversight for State Agencies. Each of the 120 or so State Agencies will have to appear before one of the SubCommittees and talk about what they are doing and justify their additional asks. It's a perfect time to hold them to account for performance, etc.
There are 6 Ways & Means SubCommittees (all of them are joint committees, consisting of both Senators and Representatives)
Transportation and Economic Development
Additionally, there is the Capitol Construction SubCommittee which does make important decisions about State owned infrastructure, but doesn't oversee any agencies. Further, there is a Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology, which oversees technology projects for the State.
If a Legislator is on policy committees, they will have all the drama and excitement of the debate over the latest restrictions on firearms, or housing, or the newest carve-out for illegal immigrants, or, well, sadly, there are no more debates about abortion anymore because they are all always available at any time and if you can pay for it the state will make your insurance pay for it, and if you don't have insurance, then the state will pay for it. So, if a Legislator wants to "participate" in those debates, they can, but they lost way back in November, when the citizens of Oregon elected a Democratic majority in both chambers, as well as the Governor. So, they're not really "participating" in any debate, because the Party in Power is going to run the table on them.
Or, they can get on a Ways & Means SubCommittee and face down the agency director of -- fill in the blank -- Oregon Health Authority, Energy Dept., DHS, Revenue, Employment, ODOT, whatever. The directors have to sit there and answer their questions, with the cameras rolling and the public watching and they can hold them accountable. It's the greatest power the minority party has in the Legislature.
One Legislator is fond of telling activists this:
While you were on the way to the Judiciary Committee hearing, where you were going to testify against the latest bill to infringe on your firearm rights, you walked past Hearing Room E. You were on your way to be the 318th person to testify about how this bill is unconstitutional and that it should not pass. You didn't really care that they don't have to listen to you and that they're going to pass the bill right through because they have an iron-clad majority in every branch of government, as you walked right past Hearing Room E. The hearing in Hearing Room E, was a budget hearing for the Department of Consumer and Business Services -- pretty boring stuff, especially compared to your gun rights being taken away -- and they were asking for 6 more people to help processing complaints against insurance companies, so that they could better serve the public, so they say.
That's what was going on in Hearing Room E, that you walked right by. And those 6 new employees, each will pay an average of $1,000 per year, or $2,000 per election cycle or $12,000 for the six of them in public employee union dues, which will go straight in the pocket of some Democrat, who, next November, will beat some incumbent Republican and further strengthen the iron-clad majority held by the Democratic Left, and they will be further emboldened to take more of your gun rights -- eventually just your gun.