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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


Appointment to Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement
Kate Brown names Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie as Director

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has now appointed Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie (Tawk Sawn-o-lay Gilespee) as director of the newly established Governor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement.

In June 2021, the Legislature passed SB 778, which approved the creation of the new office for statewide immigrant and refugee programs and organizations.

Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie’s appointment is effective March 7.

“In Oregon, we have a long tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants from around the world into our communities,” said Governor Brown. “The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement, with Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie as director, will help Oregon continue to be an inclusive place for all who call our state home – including and especially our immigrant and refugee communities. Toc’s long history of social justice advocacy work and refugee resettlement combined with her lived experience as a refugee will serve Oregonians very well. I also would like to thank Senator Kayse Jama for his continued advocacy of refugee and immigrant families, and working tirelessly across the aisle to pass Senate Bill 778."

Soneoulay-Gillespie claims to be a social justice advocate.

She was a refugee from Laos who resettled to the United States with her parents.

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Soneoulay-Gillespie currently serves as the Director of Community Health for Health Share of Oregon.

She was a council member on the Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council from 2019-2021 and is currently a Commissioner on the Oregon Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs. Prior to this, she worked as a social services manager for CareOregon.

From 2013 to 2017, Soneoulay-Gillespie worked as the Director of Refugee Resettlement for Catholic Charities. Prior to that, she was the Program Manager of Youth and Family Services for Impact NW. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology/sociology from Eastern Oregon University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Alaska Anchorage.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-03-05 12:33:17Last Update: 2022-03-05 13:09:48



Overtime Pay for Ag Workers May Not Be Increased Income
Mandating maximum hours for farm-workers

Oregon House Democrats passed HB 4002 establishing maximum hours for farm-workers before overtime must be paid. The bill specifies 55 hours per workweek for years 2023 and 2024, reduced to 48 hours in years 2025 and 2026, and 40 hours thereafter.

The Business and Labor committee, made up of four Republicans and six Democrats, which were from Metro and Eugene without any agriculture interest in their districts, passed the bill on party lines.

Republicans have been negotiating for a year and proposing several compromises and two amendments, but was not able or willing to find a compromise.

Representative Anna Scharf (R-Amity) defended farmers posting, “We wanted an Oregon solution that recognizes Oregon’s unique agriculture industry. The Democrats refused to negotiate and rammed a bill through that will result in lost jobs for farm workers the loss of family farms to out of state capitol investment firms coming in to buy them out.”

In a vote explanation Scharf says, “This bill will only harm the workers that the supporters of the bill said it was designed to help. Farms cannot afford the overtime costs associated with this bill and will cut workers hours, cut positions, and automate additional processes eliminating jobs permanently.”

Representative Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro) feels the need to defend her yes vote saying, “The current range-worker exemption provides those who work with livestock the flexibility they need to care for animals around the clock and avoids the complexity of tracking their hours. This was a necessary addition to the bill and its inclusion is one of the reasons I voted yes.” McLain goes on to say, “After implementation, we will need to carefully follow several of the tax provisions to ensure that the tax credits provide adequate and timely assistance to the farm and ranch families who need it most, and to ensure that future Legislators are allocating sufficient tax dollars to meet demand.”

Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) thinks the bill is imperfect with best intentions, but still voted yes because it helps correct an 80 year wrong when “a decision was made to build the original sin of racism into the economic ecosystem of American Agriculture.”

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Evans also suspects that, “It will not fulfill the hopes of the advocates. It will not likely translate into significantly increased incomes for most agricultural workers – employers, especially the good ones, will find other ways to survive – as they must.”

That logic says one thing, the agriculture businesses will depend on Oregon taxpayers to pick up overtime pay for employers that have the means to wait for tax credits and it will increase as regular work hours decrease. What of small farmers struggling? Is this bill a death sentence? What about small farms owned by the underprivileged?

Both California and Washington implemented overtime requirements without tax credits. Asking taxpayers to front $120 million over six years to one segment of Oregon’s economy will only open the idea of a tax credit to other businesses to further redistribute wealth, essentially destroying the American dream.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-03-05 06:50:31Last Update: 2022-03-04 11:48:35



Parents Denied Easy Access to Curriculum
16 Democrats voted no

Oregon Senate Republicans voted to advance a measure that would modernize Oregon’s curriculum transparency laws.

SB 1575 would require district school boards to post course titles, textbooks, instructional materials, syllabus and applicable state academic content standards on the school district's website.

School board meetings all over the state are seeing an increase in parent participation over critical race theory (CRT) and sexual identity course content. Parents feel they have been blindsided by content of what their children are being taught in school.

The law allows the district school board to establish supplemental courses that are not inconsistent with the prescribed courses. They may adopt courses of study in lieu of state courses of study upon approval by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. SB 1575 would make the information available but it doesn't ensure prior notice be given parents before adoption.

ORS 336.465 outlines the rights of parents to examine “instructional materials to be used in any class, course, assembly or school-sponsored activity.” Despite this promise of transparency, parents often have no practical way of exercising this right.

Outdated procedures often require parents to travel to district facilities or school buildings during limited hours (typically during working hours). This is a barrier for many parents.

“It’s time to bring Oregon’s value of transparency into the 21st century,” said Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), author of the bill. “Current law already gives parents the right to see what materials are being used to teach their kids. For decades, we have recognized parents’ right to know. This bill would create a streamlined process for parents to exercise that right.”

Thatcher continued, “The internet gives parents and students access to near unlimited information at their fingertips. Students use computers to complete assignments and even to participate in the classroom. Our transparency laws need to be updated.”

According to a recent national survey, 85% of voters agree that parents should be allowed to see all curriculum, books, and other materials in classes their children are taking. Seventy-one percent believe parents should have a ‘significant’ role in their children’s’ curriculum development process.

The motion to withdraw from committee on Education to debate SB 1575 on the Senate floor failed along party lines, 9-16, with all Democrats voting no. The bill will remain dead in the Senate Education Committee.

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Senators that voted against supporting parents’ right to have access and review curriculum materials are: Rachel Armitage (D-Scappoose), Peter Courtney (D-Salem), Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Lew Frederick (D-Portland), Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis), Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), Chris Gorsek (D-Portland), Kayse Jama (D-Portland), Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton), James Manning Jr (D-Eugene), Deb Patterson (D-Salem), Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro), Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland), Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), and Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego).

These same Senators voted for SB 1521 reducing the value of parents’ voices at school board meetings giving the school district superintendent unfettered power over the school board.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-03-05 06:47:36Last Update: 2022-03-04 14:03:35



Road Usage Fee Group to Meet
Imposes mandatory per-mile road usage fee for passenger vehicles

In 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2342 -- introduced by Representative John Lively (D-Springfield) -- which imposes mandatory per-mile road usage fee for registered owners and lessees of passenger vehicles of model year 2027 or later that have rating of 30 miles per gallon or greater, beginning July 1, 2026. Now, the newly-created Road User Fee Task Force is set to meet to implement this. The first meeting is March 15th by video conference only.

Julie Brown, Oregon Transportation Commissioner chairs the task force comprised of two sitting state representatives, two elected local officials, a tribe representative and two from vehicular NGO’s.

The Task Force being newly created, the agenda will be mostly introductory. A review of HB 2342 will be followed by an overview of recent and ongoing projects. 10 minutes are allotted for public comment in the RUFTF two hour meeting comprised mainly of ODOT staff presentations. HB 2342 passed out of committee 7 to 5 on a straight party line vote for referral to Ways and Means in 2021.

In 2017 the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2017 was passed -- among other things -- to implement tolls on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland Metro region to help manage traffic congestion. Variable rates are contemplated with higher rates in effect during hours of heaviest use. Variable rates also goes by the names "congestions pricing," "value pricing," "variable pricing", "variable rate tolling", "peak-period pricing" or "market-based pricing". Drivers may alter their hours of use or routes taken to mitigate high toll rates. Tolls are collected electronically so toll booths and long lines aren’t an issue. Equity pricing will aid low income users.

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Goals and Objectives will be presented by Travis Brouwer Assistant Director of Revenue, Finance and Compliance for ODOT. Brouwer is a very busy guy these days “getting out his grant writing pen and spending a lot of time trying to bring additional money back to Oregon” according to his interview with Bike Oregon. Oregon will be aiming to get a share of the $100 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, IIJA, money expected from the Federal Government. The money is for discretionary grant opportunities involving roads, rails, ports, airports, transit and other modes to be awarded by USDOT.

Tolls could start as early as 2024 on the I-205 corridor, near the Abernathy and Tualatin River bridges in Clackamas County. ODOT asks, “will this management tool work well? Has past management of our highway systems been successful”? further down their posting ODOT answers its own question stating “unfortunately, our transportation system isn’t keeping up”. The state is awash in tax revenues yet priorities have ODOT facing a $510 million annual shortfall just to maintain existing roads. The quest to force people out of their automobiles continues.

Questions can be submitted to the ODOT project team at oregontolling@odot.state.or.us


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-03-05 06:34:23Last Update: 2022-03-04 11:18:48



Low-Income Relief Bill Passes
It will give funds to people who do not possess a Social Security Number

The Oregon Senate has passed a bill which directs the Department of Revenue to establish and administer a program to provide one-time assistance payments to low-income households to address negative economic impacts of COVID-19 public health emergency. In addition to the relief, the Senate voted to spend $479,713 from the general fund to administer $147,000,000 as the maximum limit for payment of expenses for the administration of the relief.

The $147 million is from funding from the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund moneys.

As a committee bill HB 4157 has no sponsors, but it is listed as “at the request of Representative Andrea Valderrama” (D-Portland). It concludes “This 2022 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2022 Act takes effect on its passage,” even though these recipients needed some help in 2020, when the emergency actually did exist.

One person testified, “I suppose my biggest issue with this bill is that it is nearly worthless to the people who lost work in 2020. What happened during the pandemic is completely the fault and responsibility of the Federal and State governments in this country. COVID did not harm enough of the workforce with sheer numbers to have really any impact on the economy, but it was less than two months before myself and hundreds of others were laid off. The Oregon State government (specifically the governor) reacted with ridiculous measures to a pandemic that turned out to be rather mild. The Oregon State government was responsible for nearly all the hardship that low income workers in Oregon have experienced in the last two years.”

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“As I understand it, anyone who claimed the EITC on state taxes will qualify for this handout. That is going to be a great many people as the threshold for the EITC is quite high, and is not truly "low income.

“An article I read on OPB mentions that the justification for this bill is partially that there is a higher cost of living. This is largely also the fault of the government because low income housing, rent caps, and the recent rent-free COVID measures have made it so that anyone who doesn't qualify for government handouts cannot afford to live in the city. That said, the rural areas that would benefit the most have some of the lowest cost of living in the state. Why would a one time $600 payment make a difference anyway? I suggest a bill to reduce tax liability of all Oregonians by $600 annually as an alternative. Now THAT would be a bipartisan bill that would tackle the subject of this bill, reduce unnecessary government spending, and would be rather easy to argue because even "low income" workers are responsible for paying thousands to the state government every year. A single $600 payment is nothing in comparison.

“Another concern I have for this bill is that it will give funds to people who do not possess a Social Security Number” a clear reference to illegal aliens. “I think that as it is currently described, this bill would allow for certain illegal immigrants or other non resident workers in Oregon to also receive this $600 payment.


--Virginia R. Hall

Post Date: 2022-03-04 10:16:03Last Update: 2022-03-04 10:34:23



Trevor Loudon Speaks to Take Back America
Loudon names several steps to save America

Trevor Loudon spoke to about 50 members and guests of Take Back America the evening of March 2nd in a barn near Damascus, OR. Elected officials and candidates for office attending included two for Clackamas County Commissioner positions, John for CD5, Dan for HD 40, Angela Plowhead for CD6, Jo Rae Perkins for US Senate and sitting State Senator Dennis Linthicum and his wife. ORP co-chair on election integrity Don Bowers was one of several hosts.

Trevor has been what some would call a freedom fighter for almost 30 years. Even though he hails from New Zealand, he is a household name among Oregon conservatives having crisscrossed the state dozens of times in the last decade. His focus on this particular lecture was the depth of Chinese infiltration into U.S. business and institutions. China has 5000 active agents working to influence diverse areas of American life.

John Conyers, deceased representative from Michigan was chair of the House Judiciary Committee for decades. He has been replaced by Jerry Nadler (D-New York). Both being card carrying member of Democratic Socialists of America and heavily financed by Chinese interests. Corruption in our Department of Justice and our FBI was lain bare for all to see during the Trump presidency. Trevor gave us the historical perspective to understand why. He drove home the point that once a department is corrupted it becomes impossible for a member of congress to challenge that condition without facing severe and often illegal punishment from those they challenge. The same fear guides the media in their coverage of the news and it doesn’t stop with the Department of Justice.

Loudon makes statements few dare make and some dare not trust. He calculates that 25% of both the US Senate and US House of Representative are compromised. Some, like Eric Swalwell (D-California) have been caught literally sleeping with the enemy. Swalwell had a long affair with a Chinese agent and suffered no consequences from it. He still serves on sensitive committees with access to our most classified information. Unfortunately, he is just one of over a hundred that meet that description.

Senator Feinstein (D-California) brought Communists to Stanford University 30 years ago. Biden Administration advisor and CPUSA member Judith LeBlanc successfully promoted former Representative Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) to Interior Secretary. Her tenure has seen a rapid decrease of mining, extraction, harvesting and grazing from BLM lands that comprise 20% of the U.S. The result has been rapid inflation for consumers and shortages that threaten national defense.

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Trevor recites a little more history telling us The Council for a Livable World was started by Al Gore Sr. Armand Hammer, son of Julius, a co-founder of CPUSA in 1921 was a member while being a Russian agent. They financed and elected hundreds to high office cementing footholds for collectivists going back several decades. Trump deregulations and tax cuts gave us the best economy we’ve ever seen and showed the world this country’s unlimited potential. His sanctions and new posture toward China were in no small part contributing factors. Trevor is sure the COVID pandemic was economic retaliation by China. We saw how Fauci facilitated the devastating shutdowns and now know of Fauci ties to China. We saw Australia enforce house arrest on it’s citizens and Kiwi Loudon understands China’s economic control over his former neighbor which he describes as that small island just NW of New Zealand.

The Chinese Progressive Association controls San Francisco politics which includes Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsome. They influence and aid Silicon Valley tech giants. Chinese networks targeted battleground states in the last election with fraud, disenfranchisement of GOP voters, minority and felon registration. The truth about illicit activity tipping those election results is coming out at an agonizingly slow rate.

Loudon ends on an optimistic note by naming several steps to save America. They include: 1. Only let GOP voters vote in GOP primaries. Beware of Dems that register GOP to affect primaries. 2. Individual should act independently of the GOP party machine. Don’t let RINO’s control you. 3.Don’t do businesses with Democrats. Do business with local GOP members and conservatives. 4. Call out Wall St. for things like putting military pensions into financing Chinese business. 5. Advocate for the 10th amendment. Understand states are wrongly controlled by Federal grants. 6. Abolish the Department of Education, The Bureau of Land Management, etc.

He had other ideas not recorded here. Trevor has been a USA watcher long enough to predict that freedom will win. The effort will be by multitudes of small groups comprised of persons possessing free will and positive spirit. History says we can expect miracles from our best and maximum effort.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-03-04 06:57:52Last Update: 2022-03-03 13:15:16



Bunn Enters CD6 Race
“I believe that the 6th district is absolutely winnable"

Former Congressman Jim Bunn is entering the crowded race for Oregon’s new 6th congressional district. Bunn, is the last Republican since 1988 to win election from a Willamette Valley district. He served in Congress from 95-97 after serving in the State Senate.

Bunn sites his work in law enforcement -- he’s a retired Deputy Sheriff -- and years on the family farm as important background for the job.

According to Bunn, riots in Portland, attacks on personal freedom and inflation fueled by excessive government spending contributed to his decision to run. “I’m a pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, pro-freedom Republican”.

Democrats currently hold 4 of Oregon’s 5’congressional seats. The 2020 census allowed Oregon a 6th seat, its first gain in 40 years. Many accused the Democrat controlled legislature of gerrymandering to allow them to win 5 of 6. Oregon's 6th Congressional District is Yamhill, Polk and the western part of Marion County, as well as a part of the Portland Metro Area.

Bunn is not deterred by the way the lines are drawn. “I believe that the 6th district is absolutely winnable," he said. The filing deadline is March 8th for the May 17th Primary Election.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-03-04 06:29:12Last Update: 2022-03-03 13:16:03



Legislature Seeks Counsel for Illegal Immigrants
Appropriates $10.5 million to a Universal Representation Fund

A bill which would guarantee legal counsel to undocumented immigrants facing deportation passed the Oregon Senate on Feb. 28th on a straight party line vote of 17 to 8. This bill would appropriate $10.5 million from the general fund to a Universal Representation Fund and $4.5 million for the Oregon State Bar’s Legal Services Program. Chief sponsor of the bill is State Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland). Other sponsors include former SEIU lobbyist Representative Andrea Salinas D-Lake Oswego a leading candidate for the newly created 6th Congressional District -- a district she helped create. Other BIPOC Caucus members are sponsors as well.

Jama’s press release states SB 1543 will create pathways to work authorization and economic participation for immigrants and refugees, allow for families to remain unified, and utilize partnerships with three Oregon law schools to incentive legal talent to stay within the state. SB 1543 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senator Jama represents Senate District 24, officially described as East Portland and North Clackamas. Senator Jama’s letterhead describes his District as ‘Native land of Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes that made their homes along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers’.

Senator Jama serves as the chair of the Senate Committee On Housing and Development, and the Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus. He was the first former refugee, Muslim, and Somali-American to serve in the Oregon State Senate. Before his appointment, Senator Jama was a prominent community organizer and Executive Director of Unite Oregon.

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Just who benefits from illegal immigration besides the illegal immigrants themselves? A review of those testifying in favor of this bill brings some perspective to this question. Eugene based Centro Latino Americano is one. They facilitate services to illegal immigrants. Their website lists the many sources of support for their cliental. They include: The Oregon Department of Revenue with assistance offered in Spanish at 503-378-4988, Bureau of Labor and Industries Civil Rights Division, University of Oregon Labor Research Center, U of O MECHA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Azlan), Oregon Hispanic Bar, Oregon Association of Bilingual Education Latino Administrators and Lane Community College Latino Student Union.

Public unions SEIU 503 and Oregon AFL-CIO were among those testifying in favor of SB 1543 as was Inez Pena, recently resigned member of the Newberg School Board. Banning Critical Race Theory from the classrooms in Newberg was recently upheld when Recalls failed on two board members who were backed by parent rights advocates. They were challenged with recalls for removing politics from the classroom including C.R.T. which teaches that there are only oppressors and oppressed in society.

Newberg resident David Wall offered a rare testimony opposing SB 1543. Mr. Wall feels any one in this country illegally should be deported without hesitation. He finds it repugnant that taxpayer dollars might be used for an end-run around the Public Records Act.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-03-03 12:11:57Last Update: 2022-03-03 12:57:52



Salem Police Foundation Holds Fundraiser
Breakfast with the Chief raised over $100k

The Salem Police Foundation held its eleventh annual Breakfast with the Chief fundraiser on Thursday, February 17, 2022, at 8:00am. This year the program was back to an in-person event, held at Salem Convention Center. During this annual event, participants get to hear a Year in Review recap to learn about what the Foundation has made possible for the community and in support of our Officers.

Withnell Motor Company was the 2022 Title Sponsor, and in conjunction with 35 other Salem businesses and non-profits the Foundation brought in over $60,000 in corporate sponsorships even before the event began. The Salem Police Foundation is grateful for its friends at Cherry City Metals, Grove Mueller & Swank, Pioneer Trust Bank, Walery’s Premium Pizza, Bark Boys Inc, Magoo’s Sports Bar, McGinty Belcher & Hamilton, Northside Electric, 911 Supply, Rich Duncan Construction Inc, Salem Health, and over 20 more local organizations. These donations made it possible for 100% of the donations to the 2022 event to go directly towards the Foundation’s fundraising purposes. Overall, the event raised over $100k.

Chief Trevor Womack discussed the efforts that have recently gone into the roll out of Salem Police Department’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan, which focuses on Safety, Legitimacy, and Excellence. Chief Womack came to Salem from Stockton, California. He is a second-generation police officer with 30+ years of service.

Over the last decade, generous citizens have helped the SPF purchase critical safety and crime investigatory tools such as the city’s Mobile Command Center, crime cameras, K-9 officer dogs, a fingerprint fuming chamber, an all-terrain utility vehicle, and a Forensics Fingerprint Recovery System. This past year there were two notable additions provided by the Foundation: 1) Brigid the Comfort K-9 and 2) the opening of the Jerry Moore Scholarship program. The Foundation is still accepting donations toward its work at www.SalemPoliceFoundation.org.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-03-03 11:46:26



OHA Report on COVID Sought
The final report would answer whether the state’s response to the virus was effective

A bill directing OHA to select a private consultant to evaluate Oregon’s public health response to the COVID-19 epidemic is moving. SB 1554 passed the Oregon Senate 17 to 9 on a straight party-line vote Feb. 28th. Four Senators were excused from voting, three Republicans and one Democrat. Senators Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland) and Dennis Linthicum R-Klamath Falls took views as divergent as the urban/rural divide they represent concerning SB 1554. Senator Steiner Hayward’s views are expressed in the After Action Report she co-authored.

The After Action Report would investigate the COVID-19 response across several levels of engagement to identify areas for improvement, make recommendations, and capture key lessons learned. Critics are concerned that the report may be used to justify controls on the freedom of citizens in future declared emergencies. SB 1554 includes a General Fund appropriation of $899,573. The final report is to be submitted no later than September 1, 2023.

Oregon has the least popular Governor in the nation for many reasons. Among those are the arbitrary closing of many businesses plus severe mask and vaccination mandates implemented by OHA under her direction in response to the COVID pandemic. A consultant selected by OHA under the Governor’s direction could interpret history in technical terms favorable to the Governor. This is an election year and Democrats fear the worst based on early polling. A report on the Kate Brown administration’s response would be too late technically to affect the November 2022 general election, but it would be a convenient way to deflect criticism of shutdowns and mandates during campaign season.

Steiner Hayward reasons we need this study to know how we could save lives in future emergencies. Her focus is on evaluating how the various agencies made use of their funds, coordination between various government departments, equity in outcomes and public-private partnership effectiveness.

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) thinks a study could be useful but sees this bill as one seeking answers to the wrong questions. He questions the value in quantifying government’s role without qualifying the impact it had on those tens of thousands hurt by shutdowns and mandates that adversely affected businesses and schools.

The survey would require input from state and local agencies, hospitals and medical providers, businesses, schools and individuals. Concerns arise over the objectivity in reports from individuals and organizations dependent on public funding for their livelihoods.

The final report would seek to answer whether or not the state’s response to the virus was effective. OHA reports nearly 700,000 people contracted the disease, more than 27,000 were hospitalized and 6,582 died, reportedly all due to COVID-19 and not underlying conditions.

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Defenders of the OHA response point out that Oregon fared better Than Oklahoma and Kentucky, two states of similar size. Compared to those states, Oregon’s number of cases and deaths are nearly half. How Oregon compared to those states in mental health outcomes is not mentioned.

The post-pandemic era is upon us. A study of the wide variety of actions and outcomes taken by many different countries on six continents could be a useful tool in directing future responses to virus outbreaks. Sweden allowed citizens the freedom to act responsibly without controls. Australia mandated citizens stay in their homes and followed up with strict enforcement. Poor nations didn’t vaccinated because of cost and many achieved enviable results using affordable therapies banned in many developed countries including the U.S. Deaths and injuries to all age groups brought about by vaccines gets sparse attention by the legacy media. The actions of the FDA and CDC were questioned in Congressional hearings. Agency transparency remain a major concern by many in Congress.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-03-02 11:45:57Last Update: 2022-03-02 12:03:24



Economic Equity Not Equality
Spending on disadvantaged individuals, families, businesses and communities

The Oregon Senate passed SB 1579 on a vote of 17 to 9, along party lines.

This legislation directs Business Oregon to implement an Economic Equity Investment Program to award grants to qualified organizations that provide culturally responsive services to disadvantaged individuals, families, businesses and communities.

The Joint Committee on Ways and Means appropriated $15 million General Funds for the Economic Equity Investment Fund for biennium ending June 30, 2023.

That is considerably less than the $50 million requested in the original bill. Perhaps they wanted to recoup most of the funds held in litigation?

Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) made the Ways and Means committee aware that the Emergency Board appropriated $60 million last year with similar goals, which resulted in several law suits, some of which are ongoing. The Legislative Council opinion suggests it is possible that part of this bill will be ruled unconstitutional, which will expose the state to more lawsuits.

The debate of constitutionality was argued with Senator Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton) defending the bill drafting to avoid lawsuits, but Senator Bill Hansen (R-Athena) also alerted the committee against potential lawsuits and the added expense to the state. Chair Representative Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland) referred to the LC opinion stating someone had to experience a loss before a suit could be brought. Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) took the discussion on the legality as a personal attack. It was unnecessary since the committee is loaded 14-8 for her party.

A lot of the discussion was aimed at the disparity of Blacks. The US Department of Labor, average wages broken down based on $1.00 earned by a White worker, a Black person is 1.99% of the work force and earns $0.92. Oregon is the fifth highest paying Black wages next to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Hawaii. Hispanic/Latino at 13.34% and Native Americans as 0.89% earns $0.67, Oregon is 42 compared to other states. Asian-Pacific Islanders are 5.31% of the work force earning $1.10 ranked 13th compared to other states.

This bill directs Oregon Business Development Department to develop and implement an Economic Equity Investment Program to award grants to organizations that provide culturally responsive services to support economic stability, self-sufficiency, wealth building and economic equity among disadvantaged individuals, families, businesses and communities whose future is at risk.

At risk is two or more economic equity risk factors defined as: Business Oregon's Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 notes that persistent economic disparities exist among people of color and other represented communities, despite growth rates higher than the state's overall population. Household income and wages are lowest for Oregon's African American, Native American, and Hispanic communities. The Strategic Plan states that these groups are also disadvantaged in their access to capital and are underrepresented in employment within the professional and technical services sectors.

Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Chief Sponsor of SB 1579, said, “This measure is necessary to help communities from our rural center to our urban core become self-sufficient, attract private investment and become resilient in the face of economic shocks.”

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Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), Co-Chief Sponsor, said, “We are in an immense moment of social reckoning in this country. I have spent nearly every one of 20 years in community advocacy focused on police and criminal justice reform. I am a Co-Chief Sponsor of SB 1579 because I know creating economic opportunities for all is fundamental to creating a fairer future for Oregonians who have been left behind."

Organizations providing culturally responsive services pick and choose winners and losers instead of a constitutional equality. It remains to be seen what the courts say about fairness.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-03-02 10:28:43Last Update: 2022-03-02 17:39:57



Republicans Vote to Empower Parents
Current law already gives parents the right to see what materials are being used

Senate Republicans have voted to advance a measure that would modernize Oregon’s curriculum transparency laws. SB 1575 would increase access for parents looking to get involved with their student’s education.

“It’s time to bring Oregon’s value of transparency into the 21st century,” said Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), author of the bill. “Current law already gives parents the right to see what materials are being used to teach their kids. For decades, we have recognized parents’ right to know. This bill would create a streamlined process for parents to exercise that right.”

ORS 336.465 outlines the rights of parents to examine “instructional materials to be used in any class, course, assembly or school-sponsored activity.” Despite this promise of transparency, parents often have no practical way of exercising this right. Outdated procedures often require parents to travel to district facilities or school buildings during limited hours (typically during working hours). This is a barrier for many parents.

SB 1575 would allow parents to access curriculum materials via an online website.

“The internet gives parents and students access to near unlimited information at their fingertips,” Thatcher continued. “Students use computers to complete assignments and even to participate in the classroom. Our transparency laws need to be updated.”

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According to a recent national survey, 85% of voters agree that parents should be allowed to see all curriculum, books, and other materials in classes their children are taking. Seventy-one percent believe parents should have a ‘significant’ role in their childrens’ curriculum development process.

The motion to debate SB 1575 failed along party lines, 9-16, with all Democrats voting no. The bill will remain dead in the Senate Education committee.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-03-02 10:28:18Last Update: 2022-03-02 10:36:21



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