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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


Marc Thielman Targeted By Media
Does Oregon media have an agenda?

Mid-Valley Media has trouble keeping their political bias out of their news articles.

They have run a series of articles against gubernatorial candidate Marc Thielman, taking readers down a path of innuendos and suggestions that aren’t factual, and made sure readers know Oregon is a very-blue Democrat state.

They paint Marc Thielman, former Alsea School District Superintendent as ruthless, accusing him of playing theatrics by keeping Alsea school district open allowing students to legally unmask using CDC guidelines and the Oregon and U.S. Constitution.

Mid-Valley Media states Thielman’s resignation was justice for his unmasking stance and suggests it put the district at risk despite his district having no COVID cases traced back to the school as a source. This was an eye-opener to parents and other districts followed his lead.

Thielman’s decision to resign as Superintendent of Alsea was based on not being able to give 100 percent to being superintendent while in the midst of a gubernatorial campaign. He has always had support from the school board and staff in the 11 years he has been Alsea superintendent. The school board’s decision to keep schools open while others were closing didn’t sit well with a few employees who felt threatened by not enforcing the mandates. One employee had health issues and chose a severance package to honor her many years of service, but has now changed her mind with her complaint. Meanwhile, Alsea was able to keep their whole staff because Thielman accepted religious and medical exemptions in support of personal medical freedom.

Thielman had one focus in mind when he kept his schools open during the 2020-2021 school year, and that was to educate kids. The penalty for ignoring mandates was withholding of $275,000 of ESSR III federal funds to deal with COVID shortages and closure. They were not state school funds. His district grew 500 percent during this time, which brought in more sustainable tax revenue than the ESSR III funds. Unused amounts of ESSR funds will expire.

Alsea has two online high school programs. One is credit recovery and the online graduation rates are lower than inhouse. Last year’s inhouse graduation rate was 90 percent, above the state rate of 80.6 percent. Oregon Department of Education doesn’t allow Alsea to separate it's data by the two programs, so it lists a lower rate, where larger districts will create an alternative school to push their failing students into so they can report an inflated rate.

The editorials on Thielman typifies the media’s war on families and personal liberties that Marc Thielman and others are fighting against. Thielman was criticized for showing parents how to apply for a medical exemption, but they didn’t say it was for 504 and IEP qualified disabled students.

He was on national news discussing how his own disabled daughter struggled with masking.

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Mid-Valley Media dug up an Elvis impersonation video over 12 years ago when Yoncalla raised a complaint from a disgruntled employee who had been fired for mismanagement of school funds. Another administrator was to be the Elvis figure for a school assembly, but he got sick, and Thielman being who he is as a servant leader, stepped in and wore the Elvis outfit that was too small for him. Two entities investigated and found the complaint didn’t have merit.

Parents want a governor that will put education back under local control and fight for their constitutional rights. It will take a strong person to sort through the quagmire left from the pandemic.

Parents, guardians, and the public have come to realize there has been an erosion of parental rights, graduation standards, and educational options within the public sector.

Thielman is only the first target of the media. The question is, how much will we allow the media to influence our choice.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-02-28 12:50:32Last Update: 2022-02-28 13:54:02



Angela Plowhead Endorsed by River Church Pastor
“She stands up for liberty and freedom”

Oregon congressional candidate Dr. Angela Plowhead has been endorsed by Pastor Lew Wootan from the River Church, of Salem, Oregon. Dr. Plowhead is a constitutional conservative running for Oregon's new congressional district 6 (CD6).

"My wife and I are endorsing Angela Plowhead," said Pastor Lew Wootan. "Yeah, we're endorsing her. She believes in what we're doing, we believe in what she's doing, and not only that, the reason that I'm endorsing her is for a couple reasons. First, she stands up for Liberty and Freedom. And secondly, she wants to correct things that are wrong."

Pastor Lew continued, "Beyond that - the biggest reason I support her is because she's teachable. She's been a friend, she has stood up with us when other people were criticizing us. She stood up and has been there with us."

Dr. Plowhead responded to the endorsement, "Every American has the right to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. The constitution is very clear that there can be no law established against these things. I will stand for and with anyone whose rights are being impeded. That is why I’m am standing with Pastors Lew and Lorri Wootan, who have stood for the constitutional freedom of their congregation from the beginning. At the age of 19, I vowed to defend the constitution, that vow did not end when I left military services. It is integral to who I am. Standing up for what is right should not be a choice but an obligation we demand of every politician who represents this nation."

Pastor Lew believes that Angela is principled but willing to listen to other views. He says, “You can't be so rigid that you end up full of pride and surrounded by people who are butt-kissers. That will end up hurting you. And hurting who you represent. And you have to have people that when you correct them and you speak to them in a way that can be corrected - that they'll listen, and they'll take it to council, and they'll do something different if it needs to be done. And that's been Angela. She's been a friend, she has stood up with us when other people were criticizing us. She stood up and has been there with us."

The River Church is outspoken on civics issues, particularly the role of government in American lives.

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They have a code of conduct which states the church's stance on such issues as how all Americans have God-given rights as described in the Bill of Rights of our State and US Constitutions, and as a Constitutional Republic we have elected governments to protect those rights.

They also do not support violence, especially against individuals and government officials, and they do not support or approve racism or extremism. They believe that American rights of freedom of speech and press, as recognized by our State and US Constitutions, protect every American’s ability to share truth about the violations of our rights and learn how to preserve our God-given rights and restore liberty.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-27 11:44:58Last Update: 2022-02-27 21:14:39



Democrats Say No on Reducing Cost on Prescriptions
Oregonians will continue to pay more for basics

Amid runaway inflation, Oregon Democrats are bringing multiple spending packages out of Ways and Means, and the Senate Republicans voted to cut taxes on prescription drugs and items necessary for Oregon families.

Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) made a motion to withdraw SB 1507 from the Finance & Revenue Committee, where the bill has been blocked by majority Democrats this session.

The bill would exempt prescription drugs, diapers, baby formula, and feminine hygiene products from the corporate activities tax. Democrats don't seem to want that to happen.

The effort was blocked by Democrats along a party-line vote, 8-16. Senator Rachel Armitage​ (D-Scappoose), Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland), Senator Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis), Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Portland), Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), Senator Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Senator Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton), Senator James I. Manning Jr. (D-Eugene), Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), Representative Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro), Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland), Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), and Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) all voted no to this exemption that would lead to lower prices for Oregonians. Observers say that the Democrats may want to retain this revenue in order to fund pet projects.

They instead are moving forward a more narrow provision in SB 1524 that would reaffirm taxes on most Oregonians’ prescription drugs, by only exempting those with nine or fewer locations.

“Most Oregonians don’t realize we have a sales tax here in Oregon,” Senator Findley said. “They don’t think they are paying a sales tax when they buy their prescriptions, diapers, or baby formula. Make no mistake, the hidden sales tax of 2019 is costing Oregonians more and putting pharmacies out of business.

“Some will pat themselves on the back for voting for SB 1524 which picked only select pharmacies to exempt from these taxes. It doesn’t go far enough and reaffirms taxes on the majority of Oregonians' prescription drugs. I don’t want anyone paying taxes on these items. We need to make health care more affordable and accessible, and SB 1507 would have been a more comprehensive approach to accomplish that goal.”

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Provisions within SB 1524 would not have saved Bi-Mart pharmacies from closing. Nor will it reduce the cost of prescriptions purchased at Walgreens, Walmart, or another main supplier.

Without the passage of SB 1507, Oregonians will continue to pay more for basic necessities.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-02-27 09:24:35Last Update: 2022-02-27 15:19:25



Senate Republicans Vote to Cut Sales Tax on Necessary Items
“I don’t want anyone paying taxes on these items.”

Amid runaway inflation, Senate Republicans have voted to cut taxes on prescription drugs and items necessary for Oregon families. Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) made a motion to withdraw SB 1507 from the Finance & Revenue Committee, where the bill has been blocked by majority Democrats this session. The bill would exempt prescription drugs, diapers, baby formula, and feminine hygiene products from the corporate activities tax.

The effort was blocked by Democrats along a party-line vote, 8-16. They instead are moving forward a more narrow provision in SB 1524 that would reaffirm taxes on most Oregonians’ prescription drugs.

“Most Oregonians don’t realize we have a sales tax here in Oregon,” Senator Findley said. “They don’t think they are paying a sales tax when they buy their prescriptions, diapers, or baby formula. Make no mistake, the hidden sales tax of 2019 is costing Oregonians more and putting pharmacies out of business.

“Some will pat themselves on the back for voting for SB 1524 which picked only select pharmacies to exempt from these taxes. It doesn’t go far enough and reaffirms taxes on the majority of Oregonians' prescription drugs. I don’t want anyone paying taxes on these items. We need to make health care more affordable and accessible, and SB 1507 would have been a more comprehensive approach to accomplish that goal.”

Provisions within SB 1524 would not have saved Bi-Mart pharmacies from closing. Without the passage of SB 1507, Oregonians will continue to pay more for basic necessities.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-26 06:08:07Last Update: 2022-02-25 16:56:58



Heard Excluded from Senate Chambers
“This is no longer about health”

Senator Heard Comments on Todays Proceedings Oregon Senate Democrats have voted to exclude Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) from the chamber floor and State Capitol building for respectfully refusing to wear a mask. In a motion brought forward by the Super Majority Democrats, they silenced over 140,000 Oregonians with a simple majority vote. All Senate Republicans opposed the motion and supported Senator Heard. He released the following statement:

“In a time when virtually no legislative bodies, both foreign and domestic, are requiring masks during speech and debate, Oregon Democrats have seen fit to not only continue to expel the people of Oregon from their House and Senate chambers, but to also silence the voice of opposition through the tyranny of mob rule over the rights of the individual.

“Governor Brown stated the metrics for ‘reopening’ the state would be that 70% of the adults be vaccinated. As of Tuesday, according to OHA’s data over 75% have been vaccinated fully, and over 80% have received at least one dose.

“She had stated that she would remove indoor mask mandates by the end of March or once we reached less than 400 hospitalizations. She has now moved that up to March 19th. For the week of February 13th which is the most recent data from OHA, Oregon was down to 390 hospitalizations. Since then our daily case number has trended down which means we might be well under the 400-person threshold already. Even the CDC is slated to relax their masking recommendations as soon as tomorrow. With moving targets and delayed metrics, who is to say that mask mandates shouldn’t be removed even by the Democrats' own rules.

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“This goes to show that this is no longer about health. This has never been about protecting citizens. This is a clear demonstration of tyrannical power and it shows how eager the Democrats are to wield it. The people of Senate District 1 will not submit to this government overreach.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-25 21:19:36Last Update: 2022-02-24 21:25:30



CRC May Become Casualty of Transportation Wars
“If the majority party thought we would turn a blind eye they are mistaken”

Several Oregon Republicans are prepared to abandon a bi-state committee currently negotiating the Interstate Bridge Replacement between Oregon and Washington if the Washington Legislature passes a 6-cent tax on Oregonians’ fuel.

“Republicans will not stand by and let Washington raise the cost-of-living for our residents without a fight,” said Senator Lynn P. Findley (R-Vale), a member of the Bi-state committee.

“If the majority party in Washington thought we would turn a blind eye when they force us to pay for their roads, they are mistaken,” added Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), who also serves on the committee. “If this unconstitutional tax passes, then Washington should pay the entire cost of the Interstate Bridge Replacement themselves.”

According to a 2019 audit of the Columbia River Crossing project done by the Oregon Secretary of State, "The Columbia River Crossing, otherwise known as the CRC, was a bi-state megaproject to build a bridge between the cities of Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. The new bridge would have replaced and modernized the existing stretch of Interstate 5 (I-5) that currently connects the two cities across the Columbia River. The two states’ Departments of Transportation formed a joint CRC project team in 2004 to manage this effort.

"The intent of the project was to improve safety, reduce congestion, and increase mobility of motorists, freight traffic, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians in a notoriously congested section of I-5. To finance the effort, the CRC team developed a plan that relied on federal, state, and toll funding. However, after Oregon passed legislation in 2013 to authorize its $450 million share, Washington failed to follow suit. As a result, after nine years of planning and millions of dollars spent, the CRC project was terminated in 2014 without any construction."

Some insiders see the Washington tax proposal as retaliation for Oregon's proposal to toll parts of interstates 5 and 205.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-25 06:17:07Last Update: 2022-02-24 21:19:09



$400 Million Package to Respond to Homelessness Passes
It comes to over $27,000 per homeless person

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, "as of January 2020, Oregon had an estimated 14,655 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of that Total, 825 were family households, 1,329 were Veterans, 1,314 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24), and 4,339 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness."

The Oregon Legislature has passed a $400 million package to address immediate needs around homelessness, build on current spending to increase the supply of affordable housing, keep people in affordable homes and prevent displacement. If that money were divided among the 14,655 homeless in Oregon, it would come to over $27,000 per homeless person, in addition to what is already being spent.

“We have heard from Oregonians that they want to see action to address homelessness and housing affordability and solutions that work,” said House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene/Junction City), who also serves as Chair of the House Committee on Housing. “This funding plan will invest in effective state, local and community-based efforts that will prioritize getting unhoused people on the path out of homelessness.”

“I’m proud of what we accomplished through this package,” said Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing. “These resources are key to supporting people experiencing houselessness and keeping folks off the street to prevent homelessness, so we can continue to make progress around housing stabilization.”

“I would like to express our deep gratitude to the Legislature for their leadership support in understanding cities’ immediate needs and responding to our request for assistance by bringing forth a comprehensive housing and homeless investment package,” said Mayor Lucy Vinis of Eugene. “We recognize this challenge is multi-faceted, and demands a partnership between cities, counties, service providers, businesses, and community members.”

“Salem is facing a homeless crisis like communities across the state. It is our duty to address this crisis with urgency,” said Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth). “Success will depend on coordination between state and local governments, and the flexibility for local communities like Salem to execute a distinct, regional solution. I’m proud to support this multifaceted approach.”

“These pilot programs will create a more equitable, accessible and responsive system by helping our local governments and community partners provide high-level coordination, centralizing communication, and strategic planning and implementation,” said Representative Jason Kropf (D-Bend), chief sponsor of the bill.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-25 06:14:46Last Update: 2022-02-24 21:30:23



Governor Brown Lifts Emergency
Or does she?

Many are confused on when the pandemic can be put in the history file and burned. Oregon headlines has an excitement in the air. Indoor mask mandate will be dropped on March 19, but Governor Kate Brown announced that she will be lifting Oregon’s COVID-19 state of emergency on April 1. Why the difference?

Most of the Governor’s executive orders regarding COVID-19 were rescinded on June 30, 2021. In responding to the subsequent Delta and Omicron surges of COVID-19, the Governor for the most part did not use her executive authority to issue new emergency orders. She did take other steps, such as activating the Oregon National Guard to help support hospital workers, and coordinating with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to bring skilled healthcare workers to Oregon to support hospital and long-term care facility staff. Let’s not forget OHA’s temporary masking rules turned permanent just three weeks ago for no good reason except to have that option available for instant access to use against citizens.

Since June 30, 2021, the state of emergency was shifted to an emergency declaration that provided the Governor with flexibility and resources for COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, including allowing for the use of SERV-OR volunteer medical providers in hospitals, providing flexibility around professional health licensing, and ensuring Oregon could access all available federal disaster relief funds available, such as enhanced SNAP benefits. To codify that flexibility, SB 1529 is being rushed through by Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem), chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care.

SB 1529 redefines ‘Health care emergency’ to allow the Public Health Director (OHA) to declare if there exists a disease outbreak, epidemic or other condition of public health importance statewide or in a specified geographic area of this state.

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The Governor made sure to exonerate herself and let us know more restrictions are on the horizon without her declaring a state of emergency. Safety requirements in place today regarding masks, vaccinations for K-12 educators and staff, and vaccinations for healthcare workers do not rely on the state of emergency declaration––instead, they are covered by state or federal agency administrative rules issued under existing non-emergency state or federal authority.

SB 1529 is headed to the House floor for its final vote.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-24 17:39:43Last Update: 2022-02-24 18:14:46



Kate Brown Announces End to COVID Emergency
Will happen on April Fools’ day

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will be lifting Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, effective April 1.

She says that COVID-19 hospitalizations and case numbers continue to drop rapidly across Oregon as the Omicron variant recedes.

“Over the past six months, as Oregon weathered our worst surges of the pandemic, I’m proud of the way Oregonians have worked together to keep each other safe,” said Governor Brown. “Lifting Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency declaration today does not mean that the pandemic is over, or that COVID-19 is no longer a significant concern. But, as we have shown through the Delta and Omicron surges, as we learn to live with this virus, and with so many Oregonians protected by safe and effective vaccines, we can now protect ourselves, our friends, and our families without invoking the extraordinary emergency authorities that were necessary at the beginning of the pandemic."

“COVID-19 is still present in Oregon, and we must remain vigilant. We must continue to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks when necessary, and stay home when sick. That is the only way we can achieve our shared goals of saving lives and keeping our schools, businesses, and communities open.”

Some of the Governor’s executive orders regarding COVID-19 were rescinded on June 30, 2021. But excessive restrictions continued.

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Kate Brown says she wanted to ensure Oregon could access all available federal disaster relief funds available, such as enhanced SNAP benefits.

According to Governor Brown, requirements in place currently regarding controversial masks and vaccine mandates for educators, staff and healthcare workers do not rely on the state of emergency declaration––instead, they are covered by state or federal agency administrative rules issued under existing non-emergency state or federal authority.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-24 13:51:39Last Update: 2022-02-24 14:07:53



Mark Johnson Announces Run for Clackamas Commissioner
Longtime resident of Clackamas County

Mark Johnson has announced he is running for Clackamas County Commissioner. He has deep roots in Clackamas County and has lived there most of his life.

Mark was active in Future Farmers of America and student leadership before going on to study agriculture, business and accounting. He is a known chinchilla farmer in the area.

"We need more local control of our forests," said Johnson, commenting on excessive wildfires recently experienced in Oregon. "Active management will keep our county from burning."

Mark says he would be an independent leader, not beholden to any political parties or special interest groups

"I will govern with a sense of principled consistency," said Johnson.

His family has owned multiple local businesses throughout the years, and Mark has helped run them. Those include metal fabrication shops, vineyards and sheep and cattle ranching operations.

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Mark says he is running for commissioner to bring principled and consistent leadership back to Clackamas County. He intends to work with the other commissioners to find solutions to the difficult issues faced by county residents, including transportation and housing.

"I will work to make the county development codes more flexible for anyone wanting to build housing," Johnson said. "We can allow more growth in rural areas without turning them into suburbs."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-24 11:17:11Last Update: 2022-02-21 18:05:11



Proposed Alternative Solution to Ag Overtime
Republicans seek compromise

Oregon Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) is submitting an agriculture overtime proposal from agriculture communities to find a unique solution to meet the needs of Oregon’s farm employees and preserves the state’s agricultural sectors.

This plan would offer state money to essential farm employees with a $50 million dollar grant and protects their health and safety.

With this proposal employees would have new overtime earning opportunities while providing farmers and ranchers with flexibility for crop harvests dictated by time and weather.

As Oregonians committed to an Oregon solution, the plan proposes overtime pay at 48 hours and with overtime at 55 hours during a limited period when harvesting is busiest.

Salaried workers, many who need flexibility to care for livestock, could make a base salary exceeding $36,000 in rural counties while earning overtime pay when they work more than 55 hours a week.

“We will continue to ask our colleagues to come to the table for an Oregon solution to overtime,” said Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), a third-generation farmer. “This plan incorporates feedback from the agriculture community and recognizes two critical needs we all value: the health, safety and economic opportunity for our farm workforce; and the fickle nature of our diverse agricultural and rural economies that are heavily dependent on seasons and weather.”

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“A true Oregon solution to agriculture overtime will fulfill our obligation of putting the health and future opportunities of our workforce first,” said Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles), Vice-Chair of the House Business and Labor Committee. “We look forward to working with labor advocates and the farming community to gain support for an approach that puts money directly into the hands of our important workforce, while protecting their jobs and our family-owned farms and ranches.”

“Our farmers and ranchers aren’t looking for a hand-out, we just want to keep farming,” added Rep. Boshart Davis. “Our farmworkers and our farms are facing a myriad of headwinds, from skyrocketing inflation to shipping costs to decreasing commodity prices due to competition from other states and countries. We’re proud to answer the call to find an Oregon solution.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-23 16:39:42Last Update: 2022-02-23 16:56:56



Is the Oregon Legislature Fighting Inflation?
Cost of Living Relief for a Select Group

A recent press release from the House Speaker and Senate President is titled, “Cost of Living Relief Package Will Target Childcare Affordability and Support Working Families.” They say as the cost-of-living spikes across the country, the Oregon Legislature is working on a relief package to put money back in Oregonians’ pockets and drive down the cost of everyday necessities like childcare.

There are a couple things wrong with this statement. Putting money back into a priority population is government picking winners and losers. It isn’t constitutional equality; it is Democrat equity.

What package? It is something the Ways and Means does in a full session to establish the biennium budget. A short session was intended to adjust things that weren’t quit on target in the biennium budget. When they say they are working on a relief package, they do mean it is more than an adjustment to the budget. It’s more like a redistribution of how you spend your income.

Unless you follow every legislative hearing, you’d have no idea what is coming in this package, and since they don’t mention the bill numbers, it’s still hard to tell. The press release wasn’t aimed at hardworking Oregonians. The relief is specifically aimed at priority populations, otherwise known as underserved minorities.

Recently Representative Wilde debilitated his Democrat party in a letter to the Oregonian, on how the Democrat House Caucus was hiding things from the public and decision made behind closed doors. Including lack of transparency and engagement, Wilde says they have “stopped supporting laws that returned power to the people we represent. Instead, we let our partisan desire to maintain power override our duty to the people… Over time, we even stopped debating the issues, as caucuses became a forum for leadership to give orders to ensure the Democratic agenda prevailed over the Republicans’ agenda, regardless of whether it was in the public interest… The House Democratic leaders even stopped telling the caucus members about their discussions. In effect, the content and direction of legislation for all of Oregon was decided by a group of 10 or fewer people picked by their ability to raise money, in secret.”

If the press release is an effort in transparency, it is only a crumb. Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem) states, “We need to make targeted investments to drive down the costs that are burdening hardworking folks in my district and around the state. That means building up programs that can help Oregon families protect their pocketbook – investments in childcare and early learning are central to this effort.” The package consists of three areas: affordable childcare, low-income worker payments, and earned-income tax credit outreach.

Affordable childcare is to address the shortage of affordable childcare across the state. The funding package will support providers who accept Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) subsidies, leading to more equitable rates and giving more options to parents who utilize ERDC. This support includes recruitment and retention payments to childcare workers; recruiting and training of new childcare providers; direct grants to expand existing childcare facilities; and other investments to make our public childcare system more equitable for parents. What this means is that eligible ERDC families that for a family of three doesn’t have a gross income of more than $3,660 monthly income will have more options for child care.

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The second package item is low-income worker payments providing a one-time payment of $600 first failed funded by a sales tax. When that didn’t fly, they pushed a bill funded by the Oregon Worker Relief Fund to pay 240,000 low-income workers costing $144 million. Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), chair of the Senate Committee on Labor and Business, said, “It has become more difficult for low-wage workers to afford basic necessities, like rent, food, and childcare, as the cost of living continues to rise. We have an urgent opportunity to support the equitable recovery of our workforce by sending relief to low-wage individuals and working families with the greatest need.” It’s undetermined where this authorization comes from, but they neglect to mention HB 4122 sponsored by Representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham) and others, which pays $695 to DACA qualified to cover the costs of DACA renewal costing taxpayers $7 million.

To complete their package is an earned-income tax credit (EITC) outreach that strengthens the resources available to help navigate the tax system and access the credit. Representative Ruiz said. “This will support Oregon’s economic recovery and lift up communities across the state by providing individuals and working families with support to receive the benefits of the earned-income tax credit.” To summarize, the “Cost of Living Relief Package” isn’t intended for everyone, but everyone will pay for it.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-02-23 15:45:18Last Update: 2022-02-23 20:17:07



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