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Sheriffs Balk at Enforcing Governor’s Orders
“We are working hard to respond to priority calls”

In an email obtained from Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett, several Oregon Sheriffs have indicated that they will not be stepping up enforcement of Governor Brown's recent lockdown orders. The email, dated November 18 recounts communications between the Undersheriff of Clackamas County, speaking for Sheriff Craig Roberts, which says that they "will not be changing how we have been doing business since the beginning of the pandemic."

That same email conversation contained a quote from Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson, who said,

"Locally, I equate this to be similar to July 4th. Everyone [sic] launches off illegal fireworks and we no way to handle all the calls and have to send resources in other priority areas. We have discretion to not enforce those laws and use education and warnings as primary action.

We will be doing the same thing with this."

While the Governor does have jurisdiction over the State Police, she ordinarily has no power over the operations of local county Sheriffs, though her powers during a declared emergency are not clear. Despite her strong rhetoric, Governor Brown has not ingratiated herself to law enforcement by signing all of the "police reform" bills which contained a tribute to Black Lives Matter during the first special session of 2020.

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon issued a joint statement with Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny that said in part, "The Linn County Sheriff’s Office decided back in April that we would not do criminal enforcement on COVID-19 measures. Our role in the community is not to count how many people are at a residence or how an individual business conducts its affairs."

The Klamath County Board of Commissioners issued a strong statement in response to the lockdown.

“This statewide approach does not fit Klamath County. We have a robust health care system, and we are confident the relationships in this community would ensure our health care professionals, and public health, would work together to decide what our community needs without the state’s interference. We do not need a top down approach from the State; we believe we can navigate this challenging issue locally.” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris.

Joe Kast, the Marion County Sheriff issued a weaker statement.

People should know that
most police jurisdictions will not be enforcing these edicts. If law enforcement does come to your door and you don't require their services, you're under no obligation to answer the door.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-20 16:03:58Last Update: 2020-11-20 16:11:09



Portland Announces Latino Advisory Council
Comprised of Latino social justice activists

The Portland Police Bureau has announced the establishment of the Latino Advisory Council (LAC). In May 2020, several Latino community leaders began meeting with the Chief's Office to identify meaningful avenues for partnership and mutual support. These efforts resulted in the creation of the Council in June 2020. Since then, a group of diverse Latino community leaders, social justice activists, and faith-based leaders have been holding monthly meetings developing a strategic roadmap for engaging the Latino community.

The LAC sent a letter introducing themselves to the Mayor last month. This excerpt illustrates their commitment and vision to working with the PPB:

"We are excited to announce the launch of the Latino Advisory Council within the Portland Police Bureau. LAC has members of the Latino community who wish to partner with the PPB and continue the dialogue on justice-related police reform. Within the context of this dialogue, we want to advocate for the unmet needs of the Latinos who face systemic barriers to justice and who have unique needs when engaging with the Portland Police.

Our aims are guided by mutual trust, a sense of nurture, unwavering accountability, and shared human values. Although our primary goal is to represent Latinos, we pledge to collaborate with police officers and provide them with cultural and language assistance to find comprehensive solutions."

Please take a moment to listen to a "human message" shared by Marta Guembes and Marvin Pena, the LAC chairs.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-20 15:50:43Last Update: 2020-11-20 16:14:01



OHA Data Not Readily Available
Where is the open and transparent government we were promised?

An unnecessary catastrophic disaster is looming, and it is reasonable to assume that the government agency who is responsible for creating guidance and implementing eight months of lockdowns should be transparent about it. It is true they publish a lot of data such as zip codes, partial info on hospitalizations, and case counts. In fact, the COVID-19 dashboard is overwhelming in the minutiae but yet neglects the full truth. They have had eight months to get this right.

Nevertheless, they do not publish a daily death graph the way they report daily cases which results in a misleading picture of Oregon’s real condition. Instead, they announce deaths in a daily fear inducing report more in line with Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of truth, “It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened.”

The deaths reported are often from two months ago, but it's doubtful that the majority of the public pay attention to the details.

Most importantly they do not publish the rate of false positives. When isolation and lockdowns are implemented over positive PCR and antigen tests which have been reported numerous times as being unreliable as we have seen, it’s a fraudulent way to base policy decisions. When testing capacity numbers aren’t reported accurately, and Oregon Health Authority keeps the most important numbers secret, we all lose.

The Oregon Health Authority says that the law does not allow for this information being released:

“…the specific information you have requested is information obtained by Oregon Health Authority or a local public health administrator in the course of a disease outbreak investigation and is confidential under state law, and not subject to disclosure under the Oregon Public Records Act. See ORS 433.008(1). There is no exception under ORS 433.008(2) that would permit Oregon Health Authority, in its discretion, to provide you with the information you are seeking. Therefore, pursuant to ORS 192.355(9)(a) (public records or information the disclosure of which is prohibited or restricted or otherwise made confidential or privileged under Oregon law), your request for this data is denied. If you so choose, you may seek review of this determination pursuant to ORS 192.401, 192.411, 192.415, 192.418, 192.422, 192.427 and 192.431.”

OHA is culpable for the downward trajectory of academics and mental health due to closing schools eight months ago. Suicides have resulted in middle schoolers. OHA isolated grandparents from their families. OHA made themselves the Commerce Czar when they helped the state choose winners and losers by creating guidance and shutting down small businesses and strict phase guidance where restaurants and churches could not open at full capacity. They have played the biggest part in long term issues in children by forcing draconian face covering guidance on children five years and up. They aren’t allowed to breathe properly at gymnastics and karate, without a mask. The same bloated agency that closed parks and playgrounds outside for months is the same the agency that came up with strict cleaning sanitation and social distancing protocols for schools to adopt only to cancel in-person school last minute despite a mountain of evidence showing children are not at high risk of illness. Have they been stringing families along with the hope that school would soon be in session only to admit yesterday in the House Interim Revenue Committee, that schools would not return to in-person school until Fall 2021?

This four page letter by the Oregon Department of Justice explains to an Oregonian reporter on the basis ORS 433 allows a denial of information that OHA simply does not choose to make public.

The Oregon Healthy Authority should divulge false positives, fix testing number reporting, publish a daily death graph and stop using positives solely as a means to isolate and quarantine as was just decided in a Portugal court.


--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-19 17:05:09Last Update: 2020-11-20 16:58:03



Archbishop Sample Defends Faith Communities
“I am expressing my frustration at the Governor’s latest restrictions”

In a statement on the Governor's Latest Restrictions, Portland Catholic Archbishop Alexander Sample has called out Oregon Governor Kate Brown on her restrictions on churches.

I am speaking out publicly to express my great disappointment and frustration at the Governor’s latest restrictions on faith communities in Oregon. I understand the need to address the spike in COVID-19 cases, but we know that spread of the virus is not happening at faith gatherings. Our churches have been carefully following the masking, distancing, and sanitizing protocols. They work. Why are we limited to 25 people in a church that can seat 1000 while certain businesses are allowed to operate on a percentage of capacity? I would like to know the Governor’s rationale for tighter restrictions on churches. It is not data driven. It does not make sense. Our neighbors to the north in Washington are facing greater spread and tighter restrictions, yet their Governor’s formula for restrictions on faith communities is much more reasonable (25% occupancy or 200 maximum). It follows the science. A similar policy makes sense for Oregon.

The Catholic Church and other faith communities have bent over backwards to observe Governor Brown’s directives and implement strict protocols to keep people safe since the pandemic began. We operate in a controlled environment where we can keep everyone who enters our doors from having “close contact.” We are asking the Governor, following the two week “freeze,” to reconsider her gathering restrictions for faith communities. We ask her to remember that the Christmas holiday is a little over a month away, and it is a season when people of many faiths turn to their churches. We need a policy that matches our current situation, keeps people safe, and meets the spiritual needs of people of faith in Oregon. It is unfortunate that a person’s ability to worship does not seem to be considered an essential activity. I can assure you that the Catholic faithful under my pastoral care consider Sunday worship vital, especially when facing the challenges of the pandemic.

The Catholic community continues to pray for the Governor and her staff while she does the very challenging work of navigating the state of Oregon through this terrible pandemic.

Civil libertarians in Oregon have shown surprise at the level of restrictions that have been placed on faith communities. Several lawsuits against Governor Kate Brown and the State of Oregon are pending.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-19 16:39:06Last Update: 2020-11-19 16:56:03



Portland Stops Data Collection Report for 2020
Searches of Black/African Americans not at a disparate rate

The Stops Data Collection Report is an annual assessment of traffic stops for drivers and pedestrians in Portland by the Portland Police Bureau.

The Portland Police Bureau is taking necessary steps to identify areas of improvement in the way officers make traffic stops. Beginning January 1, 2021, the Portland Police Bureau will begin collecting new data points to help identify improvements that can be made to the way traffic stops are conducted.

In a commitment to change and improve, the Portland Police Bureau needs to collect this new information and implement new accountability measures related to searches. PPB claims they continue to make improvements to increase understanding of the data and to identify opportunities to reduce disproportionate outcomes. Some next steps include:

"This data provides PPB with an opportunity to improve and seek out additional tools and resources," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "Stops data helps us realize over-representation in the criminal justice system still exists. We understand this creates fear and distrust within the community. It's important to continue to enhance the data collection process to give us a better understanding of the context of stops, searches and arrests. We will continue to incorporate these system changes, policy changes and training, including how to better capture consent searches."

The report indicates several key findings: A supplemental report relating to the former Gun Violence Reduction Team's (GVRT) stop data is also available. The GVRT utilized traffic stops as a tool to help investigate and prevent gun violence in the City. The supplemental report focuses on the following:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-19 16:15:34Last Update: 2020-11-19 17:00:55



Analysis: Libertarians Play Spoilers
May have cost Republican two legislative seats

As Republicans try to climb their way out of super-minority status in the legislature, it's not just Democrats that are holding them back. The outcome of at least two races may have been impacted by Libertarian candidates, each of which polled more votes than the margin of victory.

Democrats have had their sights set on Senate District 10 which includes the eastern part of Polk County and South Salem, since Denyc Boles was appointed to the seat to replace the venerable Jackie Winters after her passing. Democrats hold a razor-thin voter registration advantage as of the eve of the election with 31,740 Democrats and 30,440 Republicans -- a gap of 1,300 votes. Boles beat the spread, losing to newcomer Deb Patterson by a mere 600 votes -- though that number could change slightly. A larger number is the count of votes polled by Taylor Rickey, the Libertarian candidate, who spent nothing, yet took 2,775 votes -- more than four times the margin of victory for Patterson.

No one will ever be able to tell how those Libertarians voted, but if one makes the assumption that voters tend to not split their party votes, in a Senate District that contains exactly two House Districts, Republicans tallied 39,671 votes to 37,826 in those two races, winning by a combined 1,845 -- less than the Libertarian take.

East of Portland in the Gorge, House District 52 is home to the liberal city of Hood River, but its population of about 8,000 isn't big enough to dominate the rural areas around the city as well as the far eastern X-urbs of Portland. Republican Jeff Helfrich, who lost the seat in 2018 to Democrat Anna Williams, set up a rematch.

This was the closest match in Oregon for 2020, split by a mere 90 votes in favor of the now incumbent Williams in the face of Libertarian Stephen Alder's 1,058 votes -- well above the margin needed to prevail. Again, no one knows how those thousand votes would have gone had the libertarian not run. There's only 386 Libertarians registered to vote in the district.

Asked if he thought he cost Jeff Helfrich the election, Stephen Alder, the Libertarian candidate from House District 52 said, "I cant speak for Mrs. Williams' nor Mr. Helfrich's voters' choice. What I can say is that by my running against the two of them did not cause either to lose votes, the people chose the candidate that they felt was best. It was in the realm of possibility that I could change [the outcome] however, my candidacy was for changing the legislature and keeping people accountable for what they do." He added, "Libertarians don't take votes. We present ourselves as a viable alternative to the same old 'lesser of two evils'. Voting should not be a 'Sofie's choice'. You vote as your civic duty and vote your conscience."

Alder summarized by saying, "We are the American people not a red people or blue people, but rather a prism of thought and ideas." These races could have made a difference in how the 2021 session goes. It's worth remembering and coming back to. This facebook post by Rickey indicates that he could well make a difference again in 2022. Stay tuned.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-19 08:40:56Last Update: 2020-11-19 08:55:38



Is Your Private Information at Risk?
Oregon has an ethical responsibility to safeguard the privacy of its citizens’ data

Is Your Private Information at Risk? How many times have we heard about the state’s outdated technology? Unemployment benefits were held up for months and more recently we learned that the voting system is run on outdated systems. How does this affect the security of information? The growth in information technology has made it easier to collect personally identifiable information, which puts that information at increased risk of being compromised.

Privacy is such an important topic that some states have explicit privacy protections written into their constitutions. Oregon is not one of them. Reviewing 17 sectors shows the public sector takes the second longest to detect and contain a data breach. That longer response time results in increased exposure of compromised data.

According to an audit released by the Secretary of State, Oregon lacks a senior official responsible for managing data privacy, which increases the risk that private, personally identifiable information is not appropriately safeguarded. The findings are outlined in the report entitled: “The State Does Not Have A Privacy Program to Manage Enterprise Privacy Risk.”

State agencies collect and store personally identifiable information from virtually all Oregonians. This data includes health information, driving records, education data, and more. However, auditors found there is no statewide official charged with assessing the risks associated with processing that information and ensuring appropriate response strategies are in place.

As a result, the state has not established a privacy program to assess and respond to risk. The state has also not established guidance on incident response roles when security incidents arise that involve personally identifiable information.

“Oregon has an ethical responsibility to safeguard the privacy of its citizens’ data,” said Secretary of State Bev Clarno. “It is important that a senior official is charged with ensuring risks to data privacy are understood and addressed throughout the state.” Indeed, Clarno's Elections Director left his job just a few weeks ago, citing lack of spending on information technology infrastructure.

Even though a data privacy manager won’t cure the outdated technology issues, it could provide some transparency to the vulnerability of private information.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 19:55:31



Is Hospital Capacity an Issue?
It doesnt seem that way

Experts would have you believe that the same threats of COVID-19 patients inundating hospitals from nine months ago still exist today. The message has been that our hospitals would have been overwhelmed if not for draconian lockdowns instituted by Kate Brown’s overreaching orders. Was it all for naught?

They can’t have it both ways. Either our draconian mitigation worked and voila, hospitals are fine or it did not work at all. And you cannot say that of the 30 grocery store patrons at Safeway, one single unmasked person set us all back. That line of thinking lacks logic and besides, there is zero evidence to that claim. According to Oregon Health Authority, Grocery stores are not on the list of major causes of outbreaks.

None of these questions posed negate the fact that the virus is real but how we are dealing with the facts deserves a broader discussion. After all, we are not being asked. We are being told to lockdown again.

What is compelling is to look at previous hospital capacity versus now. As of November 17, OHSU is reporting a total of 43 COVID patients for their three main hospitals. There are 12 patients already in hospital for other conditions and listed as previous in-house patients. It is hospital protocol to test every patient is regardless of symptoms in spite of accuracy problems plaguing asymptomatics. Better safe than sorry, right?

As an example, the OHA chart below is from June and shows 42 COVID-19 patients reported in hospital, which is only ONE more than today. What is the reason for the Big Freeze?

Between the Weekly Report published by OHA and this article on July 1, show there were more COVID hospitalizations reported months ago but the messaging then was that things were under control and survival rates had improved significantly.

A report showing a general lack of hospital beds in Oregon is underscored by Dr. Renee Edwards, “Without a significant slowing of COVID-19, Oregon will not be able to serve the hospital needs of Oregonians without creating more beds.”

“Under an agreement announced Monday, the Portland area’s four hospital systems -- Legacy Health, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health & Services and OHSU, which includes Adventist Health Portland and Tuality Healthcare -- are working with the Oregon Health Authority in an unprecedented joint effort to coordinate beds, add capacity and share resources. Data specialists at OHSU and the Oregon Health Authority expect coronavirus cases to double every 6.2 days. By April 11, Oregon will need 1,000 hospital beds and 400 intensive care beds to serve those patients.” As we know these dire predictions did not materialize. We are not far from a normal year scenario for capacity which is 65-70%, according to data from AHA from previous three years and HHS, Oregon is at 70.4% for bed utilization. For a more in depth look, read more from Data Expert, Justin Hart with Rational Ground as he details other states' hospitalization scenarios.

In the long months that have passed, did Oregon’s metro hospitals not prepare for the threatened Fall wave? It is difficult to trust the same experts who gave us modeling projections that never materialized and know what the true impact of a 5% increase in bed utilization is.

Whatever happened to those unused field hospital beds? With CARES ACT funds still available as well as our own state revenue in the $2Bn range, could we not do something other than lockdown churches? You may recall the furloughs in Oregon's hospitals, have they neglected to restaff?

Or perhaps a more surreptitious explanation exists and that is Kate Brown refuses to relinquish her control on a highly politicized situation. Her collaboration with California and Washington, her digs at the current administration and demands for more federal stimulus funds support this theory.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.com


--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-18 13:53:33Last Update: 2020-11-18 14:20:56



Democrats Choose Kotek for Speaker of the House
Will be her fifth term as Speaker

House Democrats on Monday night designated Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland) to be their nominee for another term as the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Speaker Kotek issued the following statement this morning:

“I’m honored to have the supportof my caucus to continue serving Oregon and the chamber as House Speaker,” Kotek said. “Like every business and family in Oregon, the legislature has been moving from crisis to crisis since February. As we head into the 2021 session, we are facing a global pandemic, high unemployment, a billion-dollar budget hole, an expensive wildfire recovery, a severe housing shortage, and the everydayharmof systemic racism. All of these crises require urgent action and experienced leadership. I remain committed to continue working with every member to help all parts of the state to solve these immense challenges. Every legislator will need to bring all their compassion and empathy to the table. Together, we can build a better and more just Oregon."

Kotek, who was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2006, is the longest-serving House Speaker in Oregon history and became the first openly lesbian speaker of any state house in 2013. She will be officially nominated to serve her fifth term as House Speaker on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the first day of the 81stOregon Legislative Assembly, when the full House of Representatives will elect the Speaker.

There were rumors of a challenge to the speakership by Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Portland) as well as internal discontent among many members, especially those of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) sub-caucus. The Democrat leadership is all white.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-18 10:42:30Last Update: 2020-11-19 08:24:54



December Revenue Forecast Sparks Comment
Including a call for a special session

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has released it's December revenue forecast. They are predicting a speedy recovery, dependent on the course of the COVID-19 virus, prompting responses from several legislative leaders.

House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) used the forecast to call for a special session. “The COVID-19 pandemic is raging like never before in Oregon. Our economic recovery is fully dependent on getting this virus under control. As the state’s budget situation has stabilized and since Congress is unlikely to pass another relief package this year, I urge the Governor to declare a catastrophic disaster so the legislature can convene a remote special session in December.”

She also seems to be calling for the state to spend it's reserves to fund a temporary government housing program:

“We need to utilize some portion of the state’s reserves as soon as possible to help struggling Oregonians and small businesses through the winter months. I am particularly interested in seeing the state spend $100 million to keep Oregonians housed and stabilize the rental market as the pandemic continues into 2021.”

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) had a different take, emphasizing that schools need to re-open. “Economists project the average income has dropped for households across Oregon. We would get a better outcome if we protected seniors and the vulnerable and opened the state, so the average family is able to thrive. For example, if schools reopen for all children, parents can re-enter the workforce, which boosts the economy.”

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) added, “Today’s forecast shows that our state economy is stable, but this is not a reflection of reality for most Oregonians who have been impacted by these shutdowns. The most recent “freeze” will hurt Oregonians and business owners, and make an already tenuous recovery even harder for families. Now more than ever we must protect jobs, support business growth, manage our reserves and control spending to ensure a long-term recovery for all of Oregon.”

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) stressed equity and a hope for federal assistance, saying, “We cannot deny the disparate impact COVID-19 and the corresponding recession has had on low income Oregonians and marginalized populations. We must prioritize their needs as we work toward recovery and do everything possible to retain vital services and equitable delivery of those services. Congress needs to put the needs of the American people at the top of their to do list immediately. With federal assistance, we can adequately respond to this public health emergency and deliver financial lifelines for Oregonians in every corner of our state.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 09:58:11Last Update: 2020-11-18 11:34:55



More Lawmakers Sound Off on COVID Policies
Disproportionally impacts women, single-parent homes, rural communities and small businesses.

In a letter addressed to Governor Brown several elected officials have requested that the Governor reconsider policies relating to COVID-19 restrictions.

The letter points out that "COVID-19 cases will ebb and flow over the next several months just as they have over the last several weeks. This metric is not a reliable indicator of the situation." Several experts have pointed out that increases in cases may be linked to testing quantity and quality, and not indicative of an increase in the severity of the outbreak.

It is time to re-evaluate the metrics and the ever-changing goal posts related to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our rural, semi-rural, eastern and frontier communities. We have shut down for months, we have met the metrics required, we have followed the goal posts as they’ve moved, we have adhered to the rules, we have slowed the spread—and yet, our counties, communities, small businesses, K-12 schools, childcare and colleges, health departments and more, sit in a stale and stagnant state without forward progress. We have done and continue to do all that is within our capacity to slow the spread of COVID-19, and now, some of our border counties are being directly affected by decisions and actions from outside our state over which we have no control.

This is not a sustainable position for our communities.

The letter notes that current COVID-19 policies "disproportionally impact women, single-parent homes, rural communities and small businesses... students are struggling in their education as well as their mental and emotional fitness, families have been stressed to the maximum, and decade-old businesses that are the lifeblood of our Oregon communities have closed for good." Focusing on the impacts to various facets of society, the elected officials propose four areas for change:

1.Restaurants and bars: Our hospitality industry, restaurants and bars must be able to stay open. The data shared by OHA does not show any indication that our restaurants and bars are the cause of increased cases. In addition, our hospitality industry is responsible for employing tens of thousands and Oregonians and keeping our already-fragile economy moving. Our restaurants and bars need to be able to extend their hours beyond the arbitrary closing time of 10:00pm and need to safely expand their indoor occupancy especially as we head into the holiday season and winter when indoor restaurants, lodging and tourism activity will grow. We are at risk for nearly 40% of our remaining businesses closing in the next six months if we do not allow for reasonable expansion of these services and industries.

2.Schools: Our schools need to be allowed to fully re-open for in-classroom learning, and our students need to be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. All teachers, students, staff, and volunteers that want to return to in-person learning should be able to do so in a safe manner. All teachers, students, staff, and volunteers that desire to continue CDL should be able to do so. If it is safe for college athletes to return to sports, assuredly it is safe for high school students. Parents need to be able to return to work, and our students and teachers need the stability of the classroom.

3.State Agencies: We need to reopen our state agencies at all levels, including and specifically DMVs, across the state. We would argue, and assume you would agree, that our state agencies and state employees are essential. These agencies are funded with public dollars and our public needs full access to these essential services.

4.Religious institutions: Release our churches and places of worship. While outliers will exist as the exception, most churches and places of worship will be and have been more than scrupulous in protecting their congregations from harm from COVID-19. Give pastors, religious leaders and governing boards the latitude to exercise their best judgement for safety.

The letter concludes:

We have a simple ask. As the leaders chosen by Oregonians to represent their best interests and be their advocates, throughout and across our beautiful state, we would ask that the Governor and Governor’s office participate in these meetings and work with us, assess the proposals and plans we put forward, and consider the options we will be recommending for your consideration and approval. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

The letter has been signed by lawmakers representing overwhelmingly rural areas.

Senator Lynn Findley, Senate District 30
Senator Bill Hansell, Senate District 29
Senator Kim Thatcher, Senate District 13
Senator Fred Girod, Senate District 9
Senator Brian Boquist, Senate District 12
Senator Chuck Thomsen, Senate District 26
Rep. Mark Owens, House District 60
Rep. Greg Barretto, House District 58
Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, House District 19
Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis, House District 15
Rep.Vikki Breese-Iverson, House District 55
Rep. Mike Nearman, House District 23
Rep. Bill Post, House District 25
Rep. Rick Lewis, House District 18
Rep. Carl Wilson, House District 3
Rep. Elect and Commissioner Lily Morgan, House District 3
Rep-Elect Bobby Levy, House District 58
Bill Harvey Baker, County Commissioner
Mark Bennett Baker, County Commissioner
Bruce Nichols, Baker County Commissioner
Jerry Brummer, Crook County Commissioner
Patti Adair, Deschutes County Commissioner
Tony DeBone, Deschutes County Commissioner
Jim Hamsher, Grant County Commissioner
Sam Palmer, Grant County Commissioner
Pete Runnels, Harney County Commissioner
Patty Dorroh, Harney County Commissioner
Kristen Shelman, Harney County Commissioner
Mae Huston, Jefferson County Commissioner
Donnie Boyd, Klamath County Commissioner
Derrick DeGroot, Klamath County Commissioner
Kelley Minty Morris, Klamath County Commissioner
Mark Albertson, Lake County Commissioner
Brad Winters, Lake County Commissioner
James Williams, Lake County Commissioner
Donald Hodge, Malheur County Commissioner
Larry Wilson, Malheur County Commissioner
Dan Joyce, Malheur County Commissioner
Melissa Lindsay, Morrow County Commissioner
Don Russell, Morrow County Commissioner
Jim Doherty, Morrow County Commissioner
Todd Nash, Wallowa County Commissioner
Craig Pope, Polk County Commissioner
Bill Elfering, Umatilla County Commissioner
George Murdock, Umatilla County Commissioner
John Shafer, Umatilla County Commissioner
Paul Anderes, Union County Commissioner
Matt Scarfo, Union County Commissioner
Donna Beverage, Union County Commissioner
Susan Roberts, Wallowa County Commissioner
Mary Starrett, Yamhill County Commissioner

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.com


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 08:51:36Last Update: 2020-11-18 13:09:01



Lawmakers Muzzled on Unionization Issue
Influencing staff may be an unfair labor practice

In a memo to fellow legislators Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek warned lawmakers against interfering with staff decisions on whether to unionize. The memo reads, in part:

It is not uncommon during organizing efforts for employees to discuss the organizing effort, whether they support or oppose it, amongst themselves and to inquire of management perspectives. While every employee and certainly every member is entitled to their opinion on such an effort, it is important to recognize that employees have a right to discuss these matters. It is not appropriate, and contrary to state collective bargaining laws that protect union organizing efforts, for you in your role as appointing authority to attempt to influence or interfere in any way – in support or opposition. Any organizing effort is inherently an employee driven process and at this time, there is no action for the branch or you to take. As always, we encourage you to listen to the concerns, interests and needs of your staff, but in this circumstance, you should not engage in any discussion about the organizing activity.

State lawmakers are not regarded in law as "employers" of their staff. They are regarded as "appointing authority." Oregon Law does not mention "appointing authority." It's not clear whether any lawmaker, as "appointing authority" can "attempt to influence" the decision of their staff or the staff of other lawmakers to join or not join a union. It is not clear if such a memo is a restriction of the free speech and association rights of lawmakers.

Oregon law is clear on what is prohibited by employers and what is an unfair labor practice.

243.670 Prohibition of actions by public employer to assist, promote or deter union organizing; rules.
(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Assist, promote or deter union organizing” means any attempt by a public employer to influence the decision of any or all of its employees or the employees of its subcontractors regarding:

(A) Whether to support or oppose a labor organization that represents or seeks to represent those employees; or
(B) Whether to become a member of any labor organization.

243.672 Unfair labor practices; complaints; filing fees.
(1) It is an unfair labor practice for a public employer or its designated representative to do any of the following:

(a) Interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in or because of the exercise of rights guaranteed in ORS 243.662.
(b) Dominate, interfere with or assist in the formation, existence or administration of any employee organization.
(c) Discriminate in regard to hiring, tenure or any terms or condition of employment for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging membership in an employee organization. Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the entering into of a fair-share agreement between a public employer and the exclusive bargaining representative of its employees. If a “fair-share” agreement has been agreed to by the public employer and exclusive representative, nothing prohibits the deduction of the payment-in-lieu-of-dues from the salaries or wages of the employees.
(d) Discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has signed or filed an affidavit, petition or complaint or has given information or testimony under ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(e) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the exclusive representative.
(f) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(g) Violate the provisions of any written contract with respect to employment relations including an agreement to arbitrate or to accept the terms of an arbitration award, where previously the parties have agreed to accept arbitration awards as final and binding upon them.
(h) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.
(i) Violate ORS 243.670 (2).
(j) Attempt to influence an employee to resign from or decline to obtain membership in a labor organization.
(k) Encourage an employee to revoke an authorization for the deductions described under ORS 243.806.

(2) Subject to the limitations set forth in this subsection, it is an unfair labor practice for a public employee or for a labor organization or its designated representative to do any of the following:

(a) Interfere with, restrain or coerce any employee in or because of the exercise of any right guaranteed under ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(b) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the public employer if the labor organization is an exclusive representative.
(c) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(d) Violate the provisions of any written contract with respect to employment relations, including an agreement to arbitrate or to accept the terms of an arbitration award, where previously the parties have agreed to accept arbitration awards as final and binding upon them.
(e) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 07:58:50Last Update: 2020-11-18 08:51:36



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