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Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 8:00 am
Legislative Committee hearings
Oregon Capitol



Protect Parental Rights during Legislative Days
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

Show up to protect parental rights.
Tour the House and Senate offices.
Arm yourself with educational materials to share with legislators and others.
Attend legislative committee meetings.
Contact your legislators now tp meet with them while you're at the Capitol -- we can accompany you.
Meet at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street NE at 11:00 and 1:00



Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 8:00 am
Legislative Committee hearings
Oregon Capitol



"Protect Parental Rights" during ALL the Legislative Days
Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 11:00 am
Show up to protect parental rights. Tour the House and Senate offices. Arm yourself with educational materials to share with legislators and others. Attend legislative committee meetings. Contact your legislators now tp meet with them while you're at the Capitol -- we can accompany you.
Meet at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street NE at 11:00 and 1:00



Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Friday, December 9, 2022 at 8:00 am
Legislative Committee hearings
Oregon Capitol



Protect Parental Rights during Legislative Days
Friday, December 9, 2022 at 11:00 am
Show up to protect parental rights. Tour the House and Senate offices. Arm yourself with educational materials to share with legislators and others. Attend legislative committee meetings. Contact your legislators now tp meet with them while you're at the Capitol -- we can accompany you.
Meet at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street NE at 11:00 and 1:00



82nd Session of the Oregon Legislature Begins
Monday, January 9, 2023 at 8:00 am
The 2023 Session of the Oregon Legislature begins. Legislators are sworn in and bills are introduced.
Oregon Capitol, Salem


View All Calendar Events


A Fed Up Oregonian on Guns
“This is a God given right that should never be up for debate.”

Editor's note: this is the second in a multi-part series which is a reprint of a letter from a desperate gun owner and her thoughts on the current proposals in the legislature.

I heard during the testimony on Monday that tax payers are paying approximately 81 Billion dollars to local government, that's incredible. Is it not more prudent that tax payers, and NOT public officials and special interests groups, be the ones making the decisions for the people? We the people should be making the decisions and you should be there to uphold them. Laws are only followed by those who choose to follow them, you are attempting to restrict and subsequently disarm responsible gun owners who chose to protect themselves and those around them. Throughout the testimony you could hear the "Us vs. Them" typical rhetoric coming from proponents of SB 554 while those in opposition clearly wanted to be heard, understood, and allowed their freedoms and constitutional rights.

The disconnect and divide in our country is becoming a weapon itself. One woman in support of the bill stated that "our laws communicate our values", but this bill does not communicate the values of Oregonians, this bill and others like it impede our rights and disregard our values of family, freedom, liberty, safety and bodily sovereignty. Another woman in favor of SB 554 made a statement that "Our Democracy does not work at gun point", and she is right -- but not in the way I believe she intended. This country was founded on the basic God given rights of our citizens, and that includes the ability to bear arms and protect ourselves and our families from violence and tyranny- at any time and in any place. No one knows when or where they may need to utilize this right but thank God we have it. Unfortunately, we are watching as one political party is holding the other at political gun point in an attempt to prove their moral superiority over the other and slowly erode our constitutional rights in the name of "safety". It seems as though proponents of SB 554 think they deserve their own definition of safety. If the Capitol buildings and schools mentioned so frequently in the proponents arguments, are as dangerous places as they would have us believe, isn't that even more reason to allow citizens their second amendment right in these places? Criminals do not abide by, they are not deterred by, and they do not care about laws, recidivism rates explain that very clearly. This bill will not do anything but cause undue burden and subsequent harm on law abiding owners of firearms.

While listening to the testimony on Monday I was upset to hear more of the biased rhetoric used as an excuse to systematically legislate away our second amendment rights. I am a small statured woman and I do NOT feel safe knowing that anyone or any agency believes they have the authority to tell me when or where I can defend myself. I am also extremely insulted when I hear proponents of this bill insinuate that CHL holders are inexperienced or part of some extremist group, where does this false claim come from? I won't even glorify it by calling it "information". We are law abiding Oregonians who are not fooled by what this bill really is, another attempt to slowly erode away our second amendment rights. The proponents of this bill did nothing more than slander millions of American citizens in an attempt to intimidate, bully and restrict our second amendment rights.

This is not any politicians or special interest groups right to take away. My right to defend myself in any space at any time is not someone else's to make. I heard one proponent mention there are "non-lethal" ways of self defense, and though that may be true, at 5ft tall and 100lbs -- my use of force when it comes to an attacker larger than me is going to be much higher than someone of a larger stature. I do not want to get close to an attacker or go hands on in any way, that puts me at risk for being grabbed, attacked or worse. I believe this bill also restricts the use of pepper spray and tasers, why do you want a defenseless population and yet advocate to grant more rights to criminals? As one of the other brave opponents of this outrageous bill mentioned, her daughters ability to draw her firearm when faced with a stalker possibly saved her life and could have also prevented a separate attack the mother experienced if she would have had her firearm.

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A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Others gave testimony and mentioned how simply drawing their firearm deterred an attacker. If more individuals were armed in more places, violent crimes would go down and not up, most crimes are crimes of opportunity, and I DO believe criminals would have less opportunity and think twice before committing crimes in areas -or against individuals who are visibly carrying or may be carrying a firearm. Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran gave testimony and stated that she feels vulnerable because of "Anti-democratic extremism" and stated that public officials are the ones who should be making decisions about controlling what happens in public buildings, implying that they should have the right to deny citizens the option of expressing their second amendment rights in those places. To me this is another nod to just how out of touch and self serving Oregon politicians have become. Another gentleman named "Wessinger" I believe, stated that "armed protesters attacked a "journalist" and "counter protesters", he and other proponents of SB 554 would have you believe that conservative CHL carriers are the aggressors. "Wessinger" made no mention of the actual attacks being committed by members of Antifa and BLM that were carried out on anyone who did not comply with their fascist dictates, dared to film them or opposed their violence and destruction, including attacking police. Just ask Ted Wheeler. Portland and other cities have been under siege by far left extremist groups who are emboldened by individuals like this and yet they claim SB 554 is needed to ensure our safety. Wake up Oregon.

A self described member of "Antifa" lay in wait this summer and murdered a man in the streets of Portland because he was recognized as a conservative while other members of "Antifa" celebrated the death of the murdered man in the streets (yes this disgusting act is on video). "Antifa", members of BLM and the mainstream media push the false narrative that the murdered man was a "white supremacist", a "Racist" and "white nationalist" due to his conservative values, somehow I suppose it allowed them to look at this loss of life as justifiable, or somehow less tragic. I have watched endless live streams of the unspeakable violence taking place in our streets, I listen as members "Antifa" and members of BLM tell officers and citizens to go "Kill Yourself", they make awful threats against them and their families and follow through on unspeakable mob violence. If the tables were turned I can't help but think of how Oregon politicians would address these actions. I should remind you that we have not seen near the level of violence from conservatives as we have from these far left extremist groups, and the racist rhetoric coming from the far left is far more damaging to our democracy than allowing law abiding citizens into "safe zones" with firearms.

The outright terrorism that took place and is taking place in the streets of Portland and across our country in 2020 and into this year has been largely ignored, while law abiding citizens have fallen victim to the violence in our streets and the slanderous violent rhetoric spewing from the mouths of politicians. The bias is becoming clear and appears to be the motive for this anti-second amendment legislation. It seems as though politicians are asking for protection from the citizens, not protection for the citizens. Giving local governments the discretion to restrict our rights clearly opens them up to the pressure and bullying from radical groups seeking to dissolve our second amendment rights all together. We have already started to see the dissolution of our first amendment under the rise of cancel culture, this is a very slippery slope and it must not be allowed to go any further.

Randy Tucker, the Legislative affairs manager for METRO, where my uncle worked under Tri-Met's authority for many years and I volunteered as a park naturalist, made a statement during his testimony regarding how METRO would like to increase their authority when it comes to enforcing anti-gun legislation, and that METRO is opposed to any laws that takes away their rights to enforce those laws against tax paying Oregonians. I believe that if someone would have been on the MAX on May 26th, 2017 with a CHL the fatal stabbing that took the lives of two men and severely impacted another could have been prevented. Portland has become a dangerous place, and with legislation like this politicians are attempting to make it more dangerous for law abiding citizens. Guns and knives do not kill people, criminals with the intent to to do great harm kill people and we deserve the means to protect ourselves from such unspeakable violence.

Politicians and special interests groups want to make laws that give them more control over Oregonians constitutional rights, and they clearly do not want to leave these decisions up to the people whom the laws actually impact. We are not being heard and instead are forced out of the peoples Capitol and into virtual meetings that are ran through as quickly as possibly and handled without care. As I listened on Monday I heard brave citizens get "accidentally" muted by those hosting the meeting, interrupted by others, and heard many that seemed confused as to when it was their turn to speak, names were rattled though quickly, and many who signed up were not heard all all. Yet the second hearing for testimony was canceled and hundreds who waited to speak were told to send in written testimony that may not even be read. Are you reading this? Have you even made it this far?

This is not a system set up for the people and by the people, this is a system set up to pursue political agendas. While HUNDREDS of brave Oregonians spoke out against this bill on a Monday morning I only heard a handful of special interest groups and local agencies support this bill, all spewing the same bias and illogical rhetoric. I made the statement before, people fear what they don't know and it's clear that the majority of those involved in supporting this unconstitutional legislation do not have experience with firearms. It's also clear they have a political bias against the very large community of Oregonians and Americans who value their second amendment right. This is not a partisan issue, no matter how desperately some may try to turn it into one. This is a God given right that should never be up for debate.

To be continued...


--A Fed Up Oregonian

Post Date: 2021-02-27 07:39:09Last Update: 2021-02-28 11:13:35



Analysis: Democrats Calling the Kettle Black
It's hard not to cringe

In a press release, Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) chided Oregon Senate Republicans and Senator Brian Boquist (I-Dallas), saying that they have "walked out on their responsibility to serve their constituents when they refused to show up to work for [the] floor session." Senator Wagner himself has been a no-show, when the Lake Oswego School Board -- which he chaired at the time -- failed to take action against students who racially attacked a student of color.

Senator Wagner continued, “Senate Republicans continue to sabotage Oregon’s democracy and undermine the will of voters. They have abdicated the oaths of office many of them took just weeks ago. They continue to accept pay, benefits and daily expenses from Oregon taxpayers all while completely obstructing the business before the Legislature -- the people’s work.

It's hard not to cringe at the sound of Democrats trying to call out Republicans for using procedure to stop policy when much of the Democrat agenda has been passed with emergency clauses so as to prevent the people from exercising their constitutional right to do a referendum, tax bills that have been declared by Legislative Counsel to not be taxes, so as to avoid the three-fifths super-majority requirement, and chamber rules that allow anonymous bills.

Senate Republicans -- and Senator Boquist -- are just using Article IV, Section 12 of the Oregon Constitution as a perfectly legal procedural tactic to defend their agenda. Just like the Democrats.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-02-26 18:53:50



Eloisa Miller Named Corporation Division Director
Her career emphasis has been on equity related issues

Oregon’s Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has named Eloisa Miller the Corporation Division director.

Miller joins the Secretary of State’s office after four years as Governor Kate Brown’s economic and business equity manager, advising on and implementing statewide contracting policies and practices to expand access and opportunities for small businesses.

“It is an honor to join the Secretary of State’s office and lead the talented group of individuals within the Corporation Division who are helping support Oregon businesses and build economic prosperity in every corner of our state,” Miller said. “I look forward to continue building a division that is providing business owners equitable access to critical resources to start, sustain, and thrive.”

Miller’s professional background includes policy making, leading statewide initiatives, local and rural community engagement, economic development, and advocacy for Oregon businesses. She has served on the Governor’s Racial Justice Council, as co-chair of the council’s Economic Opportunity Committee, and Governor’s Minority Contractors Taskforce.

“We are so pleased to have Eloisa joining the team within the Secretary of State’s office,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “She brings years of incredible experience and I know will be able to hit the ground running.”

Miller takes over the division from Ruth Miles, who left the agency in early February.

The Corporation Division within the Secretary of State’s office oversees business registration, UCC filings, notaries, as well as the Office of Small Business Assistance.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-26 16:35:38Last Update: 2021-02-26 20:14:21



Senate Republicans Roll Out Education Reform Agenda
As students struggle with school closures, bills would return educational opportunity

While schools across Oregon struggle to teach our students effectively, Senate Republicans have introduced school reform measures aimed at better serving students and families. These reforms would return educational opportunities to Oregon families. The package would assist in the recovery from failed distance learning and give more options for students to reach their full academic potential.

The bills range from giving families financial assistance for summer tutoring, increasing supporting families who chose alternative schooling and giving public schools consistent funding.

“No child should be trapped in schools that don’t meet their needs,” Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “There is no reason that our schools should still be closed. The science is clear: it is safe. We cannot wait any longer. Both the Biden Administration and the Center for Disease Control say it is safe for schools to reopen. The Governor has failed to act, now it is up to the legislature to act boldly for our students.”

“More and more families are realizing that they don’t have as much control over their education as they thought they did,” said Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), Vice-Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “School closures have them looking for viable alternatives. That’s what Senate Republicans are here to give them.”

“A zip code or school boundary should never determine a kid’s future,” Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) said. “We must give students and families the educational freedom they deserve. These reforms will unlock our kids' full potential.”

The failures of Oregon’s school system are well documented: The impacts of school closures have also been well documented: “Too many families are feeling hopeless about schools being closed and the destructive impacts it has had on their kids’ futures,” Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) added. “Our students are the next generation of leaders, innovators, business owners, and change-makers. We are doing them a disservice by not giving them real control over their education.”

“Our K-12 students are counting on us,” Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) added. “We must also bring down the cost of college and ensure that old regulations and a poor-performing public education system don’t hold back our students.”

“Our kids must be our top priority. The Legislature has sent more money to our public schools than ever, but we’ve not seen evidence that standards are being met to educate our kids well,” Senator Lynn Findley, Assistant Republican Leader (R-Vale) said. “It’s time for real reforms and real school choice. These measures will provide the opportunities and skills our kids need for their future.”

Bills in the education package include:

SB 462 (Girod) would establish a tax credit for college students trying to pay off their student loans.
SB 506 (Thatcher) reforms archaic licensing regulations that make it more difficult for Oregonians to get into good-paying trade jobs without a high school diploma.
SB 445 (Knopp) would establish a consistent and sufficient investment formula for public schools.
SB 504 (Thatcher) gives tuition and fee relief to the natural children of foster parents for service to our foster system.
SB 513 (Girod, Findley) would lay the groundwork for healthy democratic participation by requiring schools to proficiently teach civics.
SB 516 (Girod, Findley, Knopp, Thatcher) gives students and families control over their education by establishing a school voucher program.
SB 657 (Linthicum) increases the percentage of students who may enroll in virtual public schools.
SB 658 (Linthicum) establishes an education savings account program to give families tools to invest in their children's futures.
SB 659 (Linthicum) would codify the principle that a ZIP code should not determine a child's future by allowing them to attend any public school in the state.
SB 693 (Thatcher), known as the Education Equity Emergency Act, would create the Oregon Empowerment Scholarship Program to give students financial assistance and choices in their education.
SB 788 (Girod) establishes financial assistance for families who chose to home school.
Senator Chuck Thomsen (Hood River) has introduced the ‘Education Equity Act,’ which will give low-income and middle-class families financial aid in paying for summer tutoring to make up for lost learning due to ongoing school closures.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-26 16:24:16



Senator Thomsen Introduces Education Equity Act
Bill will help struggling and low-income students catch up from school closures

Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee, is introducing legislation that would assist families and students who have been suffering under school closures. “The science is clear that school reopenings are safe,” Senator Thomsen said. “Unfortunately, politics have kept too many of our students locked out of the classroom, forcing them into a second-rate education.”

Under the legislation, the Restorative Equity Education Fund would be created and dedicate $3 million to give low-income students access to financial assistance to pay for summer tutoring. To make up for lost learning, families could qualify for up to $2,000 to pay for tutoring. Hours spent in tutoring would count towards graduation for high school students. Others may qualify for a tax credit to put the cost of tutoring within reach for middle-class families.

“Oregon students have sacrificed a lot in the last year, but no student, regardless of zip code, race, income, or background should be denied access to quality education,” Senator Thomsen continued. “This bill will help families take back their education and make up for lost learning. Just because someone happens to live in a school district that, contrary to the science, refuses to reopen, does not mean they should have to bear the long-term consequences of a failed distance learning experiment.”

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A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania concluded that the consequences of school closures have devastating effects on the futures of students. It estimates that kids grades 1 through 12 lose $12,000 to $15,000 of lifetime wages for every month schools are closed. Other reports have documented the devastating consequences on math and language learning. These stats don’t include the intangible consequences of suicide, deteriorating mental health, and stunted social skills.

“The pandemic has taught us a very difficult, but important lesson,” Thomsen added. “Parents and kids deserve control over their education. This session, the Legislature has an opportunity to commit ourselves to Oregonians' recovery. That is going to require creativity and real longer-term reforms to get our kids caught up and back on track, but this bill is a good start.”

The legislation is currently being drafted with Legislative Counsel and has not yet been assigned a bill number.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-26 16:16:33Last Update: 2021-02-26 16:24:16



Political Bullying
If this were child’s play, we’d outlaw it as bullying.

Representatives Marty Wilde (D-Eugene), Paul Evans (D-Monmouth), and Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) want to remove your free speech by introducing HB 2225. There is a lot of talk about the “underserved” in the legislature, but when it comes to rural Oregonians, they change their tune. HB 2225 will prohibit rural areas from supporting their causes and deny them from their representation, their only means to be heard in dire situations when livelihood and their economy is at stake. It attempts to silence the “underserved.”

HB 2225 prohibits legislators who are absent and unexcused when Legislative Assembly is in session from receiving salary, per diem or expense reimbursement, and imposes a fine of $500 per day for unexcused absence. It also prohibits political contributions from being used to pay fines or legal fees, replace salary or defray expenses.

When government establishes controls over the functions of how the citizens are represented, it no longer is a representation of the people. It becomes a controlled voice for the government’s agenda. The Majority leadership in their forecast statements voiced disparaging facts of the “underserved” among the minorities calling for more equality. But when it comes to rural Oregon and minority representation in the legislature, they change their tune.

If this were child’s play, we’d outlaw it as bullying. Bullying at the political level is no less egregious. To compound their bullying efforts SB 261 and SB 262 have been introduced, which also prohibits contributions to pay fines for unexcused absence, and SJR 3 prohibits re-election if not attending at least 10 floor sessions. SJR 4 would clinch the bullying control by changing the two-thirds needed for a quorum to a simple majority.

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Democrats have super-majorities in both chambers. Apparently, this isn't enough for them to get their work done. The majority party and news media try and portray a walk-out as not showing up for work. Do we teach our students to put up their dukes and fight with bullies, or walk away? Do you walk into a burning building or save people that are being trapped?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-02-26 09:53:00Last Update: 2021-02-25 17:02:37



Criminalization of Firearm Possession Bill Moves Forward
Creates a plethora of “gun-free” zones

The Senate Committee on Judiciary voted to send SB 554, which allows local jurisdictions to decide whether to ban otherwise legally carried guns in public buildings, to the floor of the Oregon Senate for a vote.

“In light of increasing violence and threats of harm by extremists, we cannot wait any longer to pass Senate Bill 554. The growing number of firearm purchases and applications for Concealed Handgun Licenses is concerning,” said Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) who introduced Senate Bill 554. “This bill will allow local entities to determine if they should allow or disallow loaded firearms in their buildings or on their property. That way, the decision is made at the local level, and local leaders can choose what’s best for their own community.”

As was pointed out in an earlier article on HB 3268 which would ban guns in the Capitol the claim of "extremists" is starting to become a little threadbare as an excuse for banning guns and boarding up the Capitol building while the Legislature is in session. This is especially true in light of the fact that there are few incidents and even fewer arrests. This is no small deal either. The legislation proposes five years in prison and $125,000 in fines.

Under current Oregon law, concealed handgun license holders have an affirmative defense for the crime of possessing a firearm in airports and public buildings – including schools. SB 554 allows school districts and local governments to criminalize the possession of firearms on their premises.

Many have noted that those who are citing safety as a reason to take away citizens' right to bear arms, were the same lawmakers who looked the other way -- or even supported -- at Portland riots. Many have also voted for legislation in special session last summer which put restrictions on police and their ability to enforce safety. SB 554 would create a spate of "gun-free" zones, which are the very places that shooters seem to prefer, knowing that they will have prolonged access to unarmed targets.

The measure passed out of committee on a party line vote, and now moves to the Senate Floor for consideration.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-26 09:25:48Last Update: 2021-02-25 17:50:14



Alcohol, Taxes and Addictions
Would generate $746 million in new revenue per biennium

During the past year of Governor Brown’s endless Executive Orders and constant rule changes by State Agencies, unintended consequences may have occurred. As the Governor shut down bars and restaurants, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission began allowing liquor stores to do curbside pickup, and distillers to take remote orders and deliver. The agency also expedited the regulatory process for takeout and delivery of wine, beer and cider. Delivery was already legal, but many restaurants and bars weren't licensed to do it. In a June 17, 2020 article in the Portland Business Journal, OLCC said “835 businesses added the off-premises license to their operations”. Oregon’s public alcohol consumption went behind closed doors.

The Governor’s stay at home orders placed citizens under a significant amount of stress, added to that a rapid increase in adults telecommuting with little to no oversight, many more adults unemployed altogether, and it was a cocktail for disaster. However, Representatives Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland) and Rachel Prusak (D-West Linn) think they have a solution and in true Oregon fashion, the solution is to tax our way out of alcohol use and addiction. They have introduced the “Addiction Crisis Recovery Act”, HB 3296.

HB 3296 increases the tax imposed on manufacturer or importer of malt beverages, wine or cider. The tax is not a new tax. What it is, however, is a major hike in the rate. The tax on beer and cider would rise from $2.60 to $72.60 per 31-gallon container (Keg) and for wine it would go from $0.65 to $10.65 per gallon. The tax would trickle down to the customer with an estimated increase of $2 per bottle of wine, and $0.28 per pint of beer and cider.

Almost immediately, representatives from the beer and wine industry spoke out against the pending legislation. The Oregon Beverage Alliance told Fox News that “Oregon's large beer and wine industry, is an essential part of the state's economy and is already struggling due to the pandemic. If this legislation passes, Oregon would have the highest beer, wine and spirits taxes in the nation”.

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In an interview with KVAL13, Deschutes Brewery President & CEO, Michael LaLonde echoed those concerns saying, "It's pretty shocking that somebody would propose, particularly at this time, an increase of that amount of money when we're already struggling to pay our bills”.

The sponsors of the bill, however, are hoping that the additional revenue generated by the tax increase will generate revenues for the Oregon Health Authority for the purpose of funding behavioral health and substance use programs. The bill would require revenue from the increased taxes to be set aside in a fund used at the direction of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission for prevention and substance use treatment. All told, the bill would generate $746 million in new revenue per biennium. It would fund 1,010 more resident treatment beds and 1,240 detox beds, in addition to thousands of outpatient openings and new jobs.

Jana McKamey, Executive Director of the Wine Growers Association told KVAL13, "Only three-and-a-half percent of exiting beer, wine and spirits revenues are dedicated to addiction recovery. So, before raising taxes on Oregon's wineries, breweries, and cideries, lawmakers really need to examine the current system and why existing dollars are not being spent on these programs."

HB3296 is at the House Speakers desk awaiting assignment to committee as of press time.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-02-26 09:08:26Last Update: 2021-02-25 21:16:33



Restaurants Fined, But Are There Any Cases?
Are we still following science, or are we just winging it?

As restaurants struggling to stay open and make ends meet, they have been met with fines in the tens of thousands of dollars from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Governor Brown has been using both Oregon OSHA and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as enforcement agents for establishments that step out of line with her COVID-19 restrictions, though they are referred to as guidelines.

One would think that if there were several cases of COVID-19 arising from the operation of these restaurants -- either in the worker population or in the public -- that the executive branch would have made this public, so as to justify their heavy-handed actions, to discourage other restaurants and bars from also trying to open, as well as to keep the public away. However they have not, which seems to indicate that there have not been cases arising from restaurants and bars. The Oregon Health Authority has a wealth of data on age, gender, ethnicity and race statistics for COVID-19 cases, but very little data shown for how cases are contracted, such as from a restaurant.

When asked by the Northwest Observer if any illnesses were traced back to the Firehouse Restaurant, Aaron Corvin, public information officer for the Department of Consumer and Business Services, which is the home of the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration said, "Our penalties are not based on the actual outcomes but on the risks represented by the underlying violation. In that way, for example, a machine guarding violation would carry the same penalty after all the appropriate factors were considered – whether or not it resulted in an employee injury in that particular situation.”

Oregon OSHA's motto is "Improving workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers" which means that they do not have explicit jurisdiction over general public safety.

As an additional point, it would not be ethical to, say, have some restaurants and bars open up in order to test whether or not COVID-19 would spread due to their activity. Yet, because some establishments have skirted the guidelines, we have just such data available. It would seem that the lack of cases is strong evidence that they are not spreaders.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-26 07:52:40Last Update: 2021-02-25 15:21:37



A Fed Up Oregonian on Guns
“Why is this Bill being considered and why is there an emergency clause?”

Editor's note: this is the first in a multi-part series which is a reprint of a letter from a desperate gun owner and her thoughts on the current proposals in the legislature.

I’m terrified to write this. I know this is long but I hope you take the time to read this, as I took the time to write it after a long day at work.

I never thought I would be afraid of being doxed or singled out by my own local government "officials" or neighbors, but I am afraid, and I know that I am not alone in this. The slander and violent retaliation against individuals, their families, and their livelihoods is what keeps many other Oregonians and American citizens from reaching out or sharing their concerns with local politicians. Even through that fear over 300 Oregonians came together today to testify against SB 554 and hundreds more have expressed their opposition to this irresponsible and unconstitutional bill. I am confident many more would have come forward if they would have known about this hearing, I myself learned about it last minute.

It is not lost on me that just two days after the hearing for SB 554 where Democrat's and special interest groups spent the day attempting to further restrict the rights of tax paying Oregonians through SB 554 -- just two days later they are attempting to pass SB 571 which grants additional rights to convicted felons and incarcerated individuals by allowing them the right to vote. This is clearly not about public safety, and has nothing to do with what's in the best interest of Oregonians. This is not the will of the people and appears to be nothing more than a desperate attempt by Democrats to further restrict the free will of the people while operating under the guise of "pubic safety", in an attempt to obtain as many votes as they can.

If this were about the people, why are politicians making it so hard for the people to be heard? Why was an emergency clause put on this bill? The same supporters of this bill are the same ones supporting reduced sentences for criminals and additional rights. We the people do not need or require permission to protect ourselves, but are humbly asking that you hear our pleas and put an end to the slow creep of anti second amendment legislation that is slowly eroding away at our liberties. Rushing Oregonians through testimony in an attempt to further restrict our rights, hardly seems legitimate or in the best interest of tax paying Oregonians. Many Oregonians are now contemplating moving away from our beautiful state and taking their tax funds with them.

More citizens are in opposition to this bill than proponents of it as you can tell from the testimony on Monday. It is clear to me that we would have heard even more opposition had the original hearing times been kept or extended. It is my belief and clearly the belief of a large majority of fellow Oregonians that politicians, local governments and special interest groups do not have the authority to dictate when and where we exercise our chosen self protective measures. Those who are the most unfamiliar with firearms seem to be those most opposed to them. You fear what you don't understand or know.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

I would encourage those individuals advocating for this bill to get familiar with a firearm so that they understand the true nature of this self defense tool. I also urge you to get to know just a few of the millions of Americans who carry this tool with them daily, you will understand just how out of line the anti second amendment bias truly is. The Purpose of adding the emergency clause to this bill seems like another intentional attempt to silence the voice of the people. The entire testimony process was confusing and made it difficult for individuals to effectively testify. Calling out multiple names at once was clearly confusing for those providing testimony, some of whom were testifying for the very first time.

Where does this end? This patchwork law will impact Oregonians where they live, work, recreate, do business, seek healthcare, go to school and volunteer. This Bill and others like it open the door for even more restrictive legislation until our second amendment rights have been eroded away- so much so that you simply will not be able to carry your firearms anywhere in the state of Oregon. Your firearm cannot protect you from your vehicle, this tool can only be utilized when it is on your person, that is the entire purpose of carrying a firearm. To have protection on your person at all times, in all situations.

You need to separate gun violence from responsible gun ownership, those who are apt to commit gun violence will not be those who are going to follow these radical laws if enacted. The false narrative that the only individuals that care about their second amendment rights are somehow just a bunch of right wing, conservative, racist, neo-fascist, red neck white males is absolutely absurd and embarrassing to those who push such ridiculousness. These agencies do not have the right to take away our first amendment rights in "special zones" and they should not have the ability to do so to our second amendment rights. Why is this Bill really being considered and why is there an emergency clause? This is more than just creating a "Safe Zone" -- we cannot "Safe Zone" ourselves out of reality and into further ignorance of what actually constitutes dangerous behavior. The real danger is in the passing of ill thought bills like SB 554.

To be continued...


--A Fed Up Oregonian

Post Date: 2021-02-26 07:49:31Last Update: 2021-02-25 19:10:15



Kicker Might Kick
If projected revenues are up, why do we need new taxes?

Editor's note: This is the second in a multipart series exploring tax measures before the Oregon Legislature during the 2021 session

As the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis presented their revenue forecast they said that the "Oregon March forecast puts kicker credit back in play," which is interesting because we're supposed to be in a recession and like planes lining up to land as a major airport, the revenue bills have been queuing up in the Oregon House Revenue Committee, chaired by Representative Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene), where all bills for raising revenue must originate.

They did hedge. Saying, "kicker credit is far from a sure thing since the tax season has yet to get under way," but they are cautiously projecting a personal kicker of $571 million and a corporate kicker of $420 million, though this money doesn't kick back to corporations. It goes to K-12 education, which frees up general fund money for the Legislature to spend as they wish.

Bills for raising revenue also require a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber to pass. Because of this, as Democrats barely have the numbers in both chambers to win a tax vote, it's easier for them if they can find a way to pass a revenue increase that doesn't require the super-majority. They can do this in many ways, including changing the eligibility requirements for qualifying for a tax.

Oregon's kicker law is a part of the Oregon Constitution and can be found in Article IX, Section 14:

Section 14.
(1) As soon as is practicable after adjournment sine die of an odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly, the Governor shall cause an estimate to be prepared of revenues that will be received by the General Fund for the biennium beginning July 1. The estimated revenues from corporate income and excise taxes shall be separately stated from the estimated revenues from other General Fund sources.

(2) As soon as is practicable after the end of the biennium, the Governor shall cause actual collections of revenues received by the General Fund for that biennium to be determined. The revenues received from corporate income and excise taxes shall be determined separately from the revenues received from other General Fund sources.

(3) If the revenues received by the General Fund from corporate income and excise taxes during the biennium exceed the amount estimated to be received from corporate income and excise taxes for the biennium, by two percent or more, the total amount of the excess shall be retained in the General Fund and used to provide additional funding for public education, kindergarten through twelfth grade.

(4) If the revenues received from General Fund revenue sources, exclusive of those described in subsection (3) of this section, during the biennium exceed the amount estimated to be received from such sources for the biennium, by two percent or more, the total amount of the excess shall be returned to personal income taxpayers.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-25 16:04:28Last Update: 2021-02-25 16:02:16



Oregon Senate Republicans Walk and Demand Solutions
“This session ought to be helping Oregonians”

In a press release, the Senate Republican Caucus has demanded that Democrat leaders bring an increased sense of urgency and focus to the biggest issues facing Oregonians. They appear to have denied quorum to hold floor sessions for the time being.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Legislature has abdicated too much responsibility to the Governor. We cannot sit by and watch the Governor fail to deliver on the biggest issues facing Oregonians today. It's time to take some of the responsibility and get to work on the issues that matter most to Oregonians. We are demanding legislation aimed at school re-openings, vaccine distribution, economic recovery, and government accountability be moved to the top of the priority list,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons).

According to Senate Leadership, students are suffering from school closures. Seniors, as well as rural Oregonians, are being failed by an abysmal vaccine rollout. Working families are struggling to make ends meet.

For these reasons, Senate Republicans say they are standing in solidarity with them by staging a protest and invoking First Amendment rights. This is their statement:

REOPEN SCHOOLS NOW

EIGHTY PERCENT of Oregon’s students last week remained out of the classroom. This flies in the face of increasing evidence. The CDC has recognized that school reopenings are safe, even if teachers aren’t vaccinated. According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, the Governor received hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government for resources schools need to reopen. President Biden’s COVID bill would give K-12 schools another $1.2 billion, yet classrooms remain empty.

“The Governor has completely failed Oregon families and students,” Sen. Girod said. “She first promised that schools would reopen on February 15. She failed to put our kids first. Now she is moving the goalposts to the spring. Parents and kids no longer have any trust in her empty promises. We need tuly bold action. Gov. Brown is the Superintendent of Public Instruction. She needs to start acting like it and demand teachers unions immediately send their members back into the classroom.”

Senate Republicans have an education package to give parents and kids control over their education and use budget authority to reopen schools.

EQUITABLE VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

Oregon is the 3rd worst in the country in vaccinating seniors, who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. To make matters worse, vaccines have been siphoned from rural counties and redirected to Portland, despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the state.

This vaccine is a matter of life and death,” Girod continued. “The Governor doubled down deprioritizing seniors in the vaccine line, even when evidence suggested teachers didn’t need to be vaccinated to reopen schools. That decision almost certainly cost lives, and she tried to get away with covering up those deaths, when OHA decided they didn’t want to release the data. Its time for the Legislature to step in and hold the Governor accountable for these failures. We must use vaccines to save the most number of lives. That means seniors need to be prioritized and rural Oregon needs their fair share.”

HELPING STRUGGLING OREGONIANS RECOVER

Oregon’s economic recovery lags behind the rest of the country. While the United States has recovered 56% of jobs lost during the pandemic, Oregon has only recovered 37%. Our unemployment rate is well above the national median. Thousand struggle to pay rent, tens of thousands are without jobs, and women are dropping out of the workforce at an alarming rate.

Despite these facts, Governor Brown extended her emergency declaration, further tightening her grip on small businesses and working Oregonians.

“Our main concern this session ought to be helping Oregonians recovery from the pandemic and its economic devastation,” Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod said. “Yet Democrats are intent on taxing COVID relief money and increasing the cost of living for Oregonians. I urge Legislative leaders to pass Senate Republican bills aimed at giving working Oregonians relief and getting them back to work.

“Yesterday’s Revenue Forecast indicated that the state has brought $800 million is extra tax dollars. President Biden’s bailout plan will add billions of more dollars. There is no need for new taxes!”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-25 13:50:46Last Update: 2021-02-25 13:52:40



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