Not recycling is bad enough. Fake recycling is an outrage.
A couple of Portland area Democrats have introduced legislation to curb fake recycling. Representatives Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) and Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) have submitted HB 2815 as a bill in the legislature. It has been assigned to the House Energy and Environment Committee. It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
The bill focuses the ubiquitous "chasing arrow symbol" found on many products which are recyclable or have recyclable packaging -- or perhaps are not recyclable. According to the bill, no person may sell any product that makes "deceptive or misleading claims" about it's ability to be recycled.
(b) A product that displays a chasing arrows symbol, a chasing arrows symbol surrounding a resin identification code or any other symbol or statement indicating the product is recyclable is deemed to be deceptive or misleading unless:
(A) The product is accepted for collection by a majority of recycling collection services in this state; or
(B) The product is labeled in accordance with labeling standards established by the Environmental Quality Commission under subsection (3) of this section.
The enforcement allows the DEQ to issue an order and if that fails, the courts may issue an injunction. Failure to heed, can lead to fines of up to $25,000 per day for each day of violation.
(1) In accordance with the applicable provisions of ORS chapter 183 relating to contested case proceedings, the Department of Environmental Quality may issue an order requiring compliance with the provisions of section 1 of this 2021 Act.
(2) The department, or any other person, may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the requirements of section 1 of this 2021 Act. The court may grant injunctive relief pursuant to this subsection.
The bill is also sponsored by Representative Rob Nosse (D-Portland), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), and Rachel Prusak (D-West Linn).
Every county has different levels of recycling available. The "Chasing arrows symbol" simply means it is recyclable if the county is equipped to recycle. Counties don’t use the recycling symbol or numbers appearing in the triangle in their guidelines for recycling simply because they don’t sort or have outlets based on all products within the numbering. Packaging labels and recycling symbols are meant to help us identify how different types of packaging can be recycled. What is recyclable today may change as more outlets are created. The answer isn't a one size fits all answer with a heavy hand of a regulatory agency.
HB 2815 criticizes the misuse of symbols that is more importantly meant to indicate a health factor to humans and animals. The triangle symbol includes a number ranging from 1 to 7 that is a resin identification code that is used to help recycling plants sort materials. While you may think nothing of these symbols, they can actually offer a great deal of information regarding the toxic chemicals used in the plastic, how likely the plastic is to leach, how bio-degradable the plastic is, and ultimately the safety of the plastic. Symbols 2, 4, and 5 are used on plastics considered to be safest. These are the plastics to look for in terms of human and animal consumption. Avoid recycling symbols 3, 6, and 7. While Number 1 is considered safe, it is also best to avoid this plastic.
Plastic #1 is found in peanut butter jars, plastic soda and water bottle, salad dressing bottles and is the most frequently recycled group. It is recycled into tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, fiber, and polar fleece.
Plastic #2 is typically opaque and picked up by most curbside recycling programs. This plastic is one of the 3 plastics considered to be safe, and has a lower risk of leaching, such as milk jugs. recycled into pens, recycling containers, picnic tables, lumber, benches, fencing, and detergent bottles, to name a few.
Plastic #3 is food wrap, plumbing pipes, and detergent bottles, and is seldom accepted by curbside recycling programs. This plastic is recycled into paneling, flooring, speed bumps, decks, and roadway gutters.
Plastic #4 is Low density polyethylene found in squeezable bottles, shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags, and some food wraps. It is recycled into compost bins, paneling, trash can liners and cans, floor tiles, and shipping envelopes.
Plastic #5 is Increasingly becoming accepted by curbside recycle programs, plastic #5 is also one of the safer plastics to look for. It is typically found in yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles. Polypropylene is recycled into brooms, auto battery cases, bins, pallets, signal lights, ice scrapers, and bicycle racks.
Plastic #6 is Styrofoam, which is notorious for being difficult to recycle, and thus, bad for the environment. It is recycled into egg cartons, vents, foam packing, and insulation.
Plastic #7 is a mix bag of plastics that includes polycarbonate, which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA). These plastics should be avoided, but can be found in sunglasses, iPod cases, computer cases, nylon, 3- and 5-gallon water bottles, and bullet-proof materials. It is recycled into plastic lumber and other custom-made products.
Even though each level has many possibilities for reuse, Oregon has discouraged recycling industries with a focus on eliminating plastics. Rather than putting manufacturers in a tough position to label to fit all counties and multiple states, educating consumers on recognizing the health risk associated with the numbers might be more beneficial. Adding a label that the product may not be accepted for recycling solves nothing. In the end, plastics will still be used, but you can certainly limit your use of the product for health reasons by choosing glass instead of buying plastic water bottles or other plastic containers.
Linn County Planning and Building Employee Arrested
Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon reports that on January 19, 2021, his Detectives arrested Angela Renee Adams, 48, in connection to an embezzlement investigation of the Linn County Planning and Building Department.
In March of 2020, a Linn County employee told the Linn County Administrative Officer that they suspected the Linn County Planning and Building Office Manager, Angela Adams, was stealing from the department. The Linn County Administrative Officer requested a financial audit of the Planning and Building Department after receiving the complaint. The audit was concluded in November of 2020 and revealed some financial discrepancies. The Linn County Administrative Officer requested the Linn County Sheriff’s Office conduct a criminal investigation.
Detectives interviewed numerous Linn County Employees and served a search warrant and numerous subpoenas related to the investigation. Detectives were able to determine that approximately $235,000 of cash payments made to Linn County Planning and Building had not been deposited with the Linn County Treasurer in the last eight years. Detectives were able to see receipts for cash payments had been deleted from the permit software but were able to recover them with the assistance of the Linn County Information Technology Department who had the files backed up in the archive system.
Angela Adams was arrested and lodged in the Linn County Jail for ten counts of Aggravated Theft in the First Degree and two counts of Theft in the First Degree. The investigation is on-going.
House Bill 2679 Being Considered Behind Closed Doors
An effort to lower the voting age has been proposed by Democrats in the Oregon legislature.
House Bill 2679 is being considered by the super-majority Democrat state legislature, and is sponsored by the following politicians:
Representative Dan Rayfield
Representative Courtney Neron
Representative Ricki Ruiz
Representative Janeen Sollman
Senator Michael Dembrow
Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward
The language of the bill declares to "permit persons who will be 17 years old on date of primary election and 18 years old on date of general election to vote at primary election for candidates of major political party with which person is affiliated if major political party has adopted rule to this effect."
It also appropriates money from the Oregon General Fund to the Secretary of State for the purpose of printing and counting additional ballots.
Critics are noting that the bill may just be an incremental step in a larger plan to allow 16 year olds to eventually vote.
Additional language in the bill may "allow for an applicant not affiliated with any political party to request a ballot for a major political party. The applicant would then be sent the ballot for the political party that the applicant requested..."
Replacement for Alan Olsen will be chosen by the county
A convention of Clackamas County Republican precinct committeepersons sent three nominees to the Clackamas County Commission to select from to be appointed as the next State Senator from Senate District 20 and will participate in the 2021 legislative session.
Former State Representative and former State Senator Bill Kennemer, Oregon Republican Party Treasurer John Lee, Jr. and party activist Stephen Bates. Bates is listed as the President of the VietNam War Memorial Fund.
The seat was vacated by incumbent Alan Olsen who resigned earlier this month. The Clackamas County Commission has five members, Tootie Smith, Mark Shull and Paul Savas are Republicans and Tonya Fisher and Martha Schrader are Democrats.
In the account four people — the Monmouth-Independence’s Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, the Mayor of Independence, an Independence Hotel manager and the State Representative for Independence, Paul Evans — all are quoted assuming Nearman did something wrong, something beyond the pale. What the article fails to note is that all four of these people are registered Democrats, and would most likely enjoy seeing the four-term State Representative ousted from office.
What’s disappointing is the quotes from these four Democrats are unprovable, anecdotal stories about people from out of town deciding not to visit or do business in Independence because of Representative Nearman’s actions and that his mailing address is Independence, Oregon — even though he doesn’t actually represent the town of Independence. This just doesn’t seem to ring true — who looks up a State Representative’s mailing address to decide not to visit a town, but then to call the local chamber or Mayor stating such?
However, the biggest problem with the OPB story is the narrative it peddles — that Representative Nearman did something wrong and therefore should lose his House seat. And that is the point, it has yet to be determined whether Representative Nearman actually did anything illegal or wrong. He walked out a door, a door he has probably used many times during his legislative career. There were no police guarding it, no signs stating not to use the door, nor was any instruction provided to legislators and staff that day on which Capitol entrances and exits to use or which ones to avoid.
What’s lacking in the media’s witch hunt is to allow for due process. However, when the politician is a Republican, and a very conservative one at that, innocent until proven guilty is apparently thrown out in favor of warming the tar and plucking the feathers.
The story makes the point that Nearman doesn't represent the actual town of Independence. He lives in rural Polk County, just north of Independence and is served by the Independence post office. What's also lacking in this story is the story of the State Representative who does represent the City of Independence, Paul Evans (D-Monmouth). If the City of Independence blushes at Nearman, they must really cringe at their own State Representative who has racked up multiple campaign finance violations, was called before the House Conduct Committee for calling Republican Senators "Terrorists" and has authored a (warning: this link contains graphic content) vampire porn novel, Springtime in Babylon.
Asked for his thoughts, Nearman said, "This is clearly 'Cancel Culture' at work. No one calls up the mayor or a town and tells them that they're not going to move there or do business with the town because of a politician. These people are either not that smart, or they are complicit -- they're on the same team. I think Dirk VanderHart at OPB got used by leftist activists. He should be ashamed."
It is a sad day when mainstream journalism has lost its ability to be neutral in order to seek facts and truth, rather than propelling a narrative to ruin someone’s political career and life in order to get a few more clicks for their publisher.
“Scratch that veneer to reveal the fear, racism and political ambition”
Thursday January 21, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 in Oregon. Oregon Governor Kate Brown addressed the year in review with a congratulatory speech, and several guest speakers. Brown thanked Oregonians for their sacrifices, and signaled we've reached the end of COVID-19 due to the Moderna and Pfizer gene therapy, distributed for emergency use. Neither the Moderna or Pfizer shots meet the definition of a vaccine, "a suspension of attenuated or killed microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, or rickettsiae), administered for prevention, amelioration, or treatment of infectious diseases."
These experimental medical procedures are still in the phase 3 clinical trial until January 31, 2023. Additionally neither are guaranteed to prevent COVID-19, but thousands have been hospitalized, suffered permanent disability, life threatening complications, and death.
Simultaneously, as Brown gave her state of the State address, painting a happy picture, directors from every county across Oregon met via zoom for their monthly "Health Coalition Meeting", and Antifa smashed in the windows of the Democratic Party of Oregon office. The overarching cacophony of dissenting voices exposed the cracks in the veneer, effectively proving the Governor is either out of touch, or is less than forthright in her assessment of the current state of the State.
During the health coalition meeting county directors expressed their frustration with distribution of the experimental COVID-19 biologics. Sarah Poe, Health Director of Malhuer County stated "we're doing a good job, because we're not doing a good job". Poe then went on to advocate for "some form" of mandated intervention, due to the high level of individuals refusing the recently authorized (for emergency use) COVID-19 shots offered by Moderna and Pfizer. Another large demographic refusing these biologics, is the Black community, and "people of color". In addition to hesitancy issues, and subsequent conversations regarding coercive tactics for forced compliance of an EUA medical procedure, another startling conversation emerged. A very tired looking Dr Paul Cieslak of the Oregon Health Authority, told county directors to "do their best", and "don't worry" about tracking other types of infectious illnesses (other than COVID-19).
Meanwhile, Antifa destroyed the Democratic Party Office in Multnomah County, holding a banner that reads "We don't want Biden, we want revenge. For Police Murders, Imperialist Wars, and Fascist Massacres", and another large sign with big bold letters stating "We Are Ungovernable".
Governor Kate Brown attempted to placate the masses by appropriating Billions to a "Cradle to Career" approach towards public policy, specifically tailored to the "Black, Indigenous, Latino, Lantina, LatinX, Asian, Pacific Islander, tribal communities and communities of color". Services that include invasive "home visiting", whereby Department of Human Services workers, and a county health nurse scope out the home of newly born babies to check on the health and well being of the infant and family. The Oregon Department of Human Services disproportionately removes children of color, housing them in motels, and abandoned prisons as young as six years old. While older children are often shipped out of state to Sequel Youth and Family Services facilities. Kate Brown was in the news, as recently as last year, after being sued for alleged negligence and malfeasance. Mahogany Chambers was brave enough to go to the media with her story of rape, isolation, and abuse.
Leaders within the Black community refer to these types of policy as "the Democrat Plantation". The state of the State address signaled that Kate Brown is going all in, and intends to use the vast majority of Oregon taxpayer money to do it. From cradle to career, Brown has vowed to eradicate inequity and racial injustice by committing more funding to the same exact policies that have created institutional, and systemic racism, labeling anyone who disagrees as a "violent white supremacist".
Meanwhile, centuries of informed consent violations within BIPOC communities, from Tuskegee to forced sterilization, go ignored as conversations regarding coercion take place.
"You don't have to scratch that veneer very hard to reveal the fear, racism and political ambition concealed within"-- Kate Brown
Nick Smith is communications director for the American Forest Resource Council, a group founded in 2013 advocating forest management on federal lands. Based in Portland, the group serves the western states of Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho and Montana. Previously, Nick worked in the Oregon House under six Representatives. He recently gave a talk focused on forest fires, their causes, effects and solutions.
Oregon is a big part of the nation's wood basket. One million acres of forest burned in Oregon in 2020. The air was fouled, land denuded, watershed quality severely impacted, tree destroying insect infestations greatly expanded, wildlife and their habitat destroyed. Humans and domestic animals lives were threatened, homes were burned to total loss, forestry job opportunities were lost, lumber production diminished, scenic and recreational opportunities erased.
Neither stewards of the land nor environmentalists -- two groups normally at odds -- claimed a positive side to these outcomes. The conditions leading to these fires were mostly preventable. Forest management has the tools to greatly mitigate the incidence of forest fires. The tools can’t prevent drought, lightening and high winds. The tools are logging, thinning, creation of fuel breaks, firefighting with maintained access roads and rapid replanting.
Comparing private timber holdings to federal lands reveals a sharp contrast in outcomes. Planned, controlled forest fires destroy little marketable timber and have smaller environmental impacts which mimic natural cycles. Catastrophic fires have no positive outcomes. With private forests, owners effect forest management policies. Their planning spans activity over many decades due to growth and harvest cycles.
With federal lands both elected and unelected officials impact policy. Those policies are subject to change before a strategic long-term plan is allowed to manifest itself. It's been pointed out that the deterioration of both federal forests and the private timber industry has been underway for 40 years. The Timber Summit of 1994 was to have found a balance between preservation and harvest. Promises to the timber industry made then have not been lived up to. Courts interpreted the law with decisions that favored the environmental interests over proven forest management practices.
Smith said the OSU School of Forestry is strong, but now has some environmentalists on its faculty. Federal forest lands can’t be operated successfully without private industry know-how and personnel. Harvesting, thinning, road construction and fighting fires on federal lands are all done under contract. As federal timber becomes less available, the timber industry shrinks. Less industry infrastructure results in less potential to help the federal government manage its forests. As timber inventory supplies are made less predictable, private investment becomes less likely. To start a sawmill with the technology to compete in todays’ market requires near $80 million. Risk and reward are sufficiently out of balance to justify that investment currently. Over-regulation has led to paralysis. Both the condition of Federal forests and the plight of the timber industry remain in a downward spiral. Proper education on forest management reaches too few policy makers and their constituents. The quality of decision making suffers as a result.
Brown has to backtrack after promising vaccine to too many groups
Governor Kate Brown held a press conference to try to settle the uproar that has fomented as she has waffled between her promises to provide vaccines to seniors on the one hand and teachers on the other, pitting the vulnerable elderly against the deep-pocketed teachers' unions who have supported her in the past.
"I have prioritized protecting seniors since day one of this response and, as a result, Oregon is faring better than nearly every other state in the nation in protecting vulnerable seniors," said Governor Brown. "Oregon has the second lowest COVID-19 infection rate among seniors in the country, and the third lowest death rate among people 65 and older. Just this past week, we completed first dose vaccinations for all seniors living in nursing homes who wanted the vaccine."
The final claim -- completion of the first dose vaccines for seniors in nursing homes -- has been disputed since she made it.
"I first made the commitment at the end of last year to vaccinate Oregon’s educators and school staff, and I reaffirmed that commitment last week. Educators can be vaccinated quickly, district by district. This choice represents a rapid action that will have an outsized impact on Oregon kids. If we were to vaccinate every Oregon senior first, the harsh reality is that many of our educators would not get vaccinated this school year—and Oregon kids would continue to suffer.
"If we were to reverse that, and prioritize the needs of Oregon kids, it puts a two-week delay on beginning vaccinations for seniors who live independently. I know so many Oregon grandparents are happy to hold out just two more weeks in an effort to help get their grandchildren back into the classroom as quickly and safely as possible.
"I also know there are many Oregonians who are eager to get the vaccine. The harsh reality is we are managing a scarce resource right now. Time and time again this pandemic has forced difficult choices. And even in tough times, I continue to be inspired by the extraordinary ways Oregonians lift one another up and work together."
In the clip below, which lasts 4:09, KOIN 6 News' Lisa Balick corners the Governor, asking "When it comes to giving out the shots to teachers and other educators why not at least require a school district to have a signed agreement with their teachers' union that their teachers agree to go back this year, if vaccinated?" Governor Brown filibusters with what a great job her administration has done to make schools safer, but no comment on why no agreement. Undaunted, Balick essentially, asks the same, still unanswered question. "But why not a promise to go back, if you get a shot?"
The Governor -- through tightly pursed lips -- brags again about providing schools with support, fails to answer the question, and abruptly ends the press conference.
State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) has taken a major step in trying to stop Antifa and peaceful protestors from burning the United States flag at their demonstrations and rallies. Representative Evans has introduced HB 2853 this session which will further define criteria for State of Oregon and US flags to be considered “official flags”.
Current state and federal laws already outline size, shape, color, and display order, but not necessarily the materials in which they can be made of.
In the bill, it states that a United States Flag is not an official flag unless it is “manufactured of flame-retardant materials”. This may not not make Antifa, BLM and other left-wing flag-burning protesters and rioters happy. Lighting a flame-retardant United States flag on fire at a midnight peaceful protest will be a bit more challenging.
Although the law only applies to flags displayed at public building and not private businesses or residence, it does move the needle in the right direction to stop the desecration of the United States Flag; and for that we thank you Representative Evans for your vision in introducing this legislation.
The personal income tax “kicker” is a coveted check on legislators over spending. It has been challenged multiple time, but that doesn’t stop legislators from trying again. Rep. Khanh Pham (D-Portland) Rep Jeff Reardon (D-Portland) and Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) are again challenging voters to let them spend more of your money. They have introduced HJR 10 asking voters to end Oregon’s unique “kicker” income tax rebate and instead use the overpayment of tax dollars to boost earned income tax credit payments, which help the state’s poorest workers. The focus on low-income families with dependents under the age of 18 is to silence our objections. Who wants children to go hungry? They forget we have free meals (breakfast, lunch and some dinners) distributed by schools year-round. Even during the pandemic.
Legislators have tried various maneuvers to spend the kicker and not return it to taxpayers. In the 2020 session Democrats voted to pass HB 2975 reducing the 2020 kicker by $108 million. By moving budget items around the Democrats said they could utilize more funds for critical services such as community colleges and higher education. It was a back-handed violation of the Oregon Constitution. That little trick doesn’t work twice or there is something fiscally wrong with the budgets we are given. So, their only option is to again send the idea to the voters to change the constitution.
What is the benefit of the kicker? The kicker law was passed in 1979 to return taxes collected in a prior two-year budget cycle when revenues exceed the forecast by two percent. In 2000 voters made it a constitutional mandate. In the last two biennium’s $1.5 billion was returned in 2018 and $1.6 billion in 2020. That is an economic boost that certainly helped stabilize our economy during the pandemic.
Corporations originally received a kicker too, but in 2012 voters altered the constitutional mandate to redirect the corporate kicker to schools. However, the more we give schools the more program are created that eat up any benefit the classrooms might see. In 2018 the Corporate Excise Tax was also required of businesses to pay into the school budget. And still, we see no relief in the classrooms.
Legislators are masters at playing games with our tax dollars. You might say that giving the kicker to low-income families still gets the money back into the economy. But, consider how many social service programs that families won’t qualify for because of a boost in their income. That allows those funds to be spent some place else that furthers their agenda.
The kicker is the voter’s way of controlling over spending by the legislature. When the economy performs well, those that put the work in receive the rebate, it should not reward government.
“Hate and racist violence in Oregon is undeniable”
Oregon’s Legislature’s BIPOC Caucus applauded House Speaker Tina Kotek and House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner for their commitment to build a more equitable Capitol. BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” Governor Brown in her State of the State address expanded that “to build back a more just and equitable Oregon in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, historic wildfires, and a long overdue clarion call for racial justice.”
The Caucus states: “The history of hate and racist violence in Oregon is undeniable.” Referring to Speaker Kotek and Smith-Warner’s statement: "From its very start, Oregon was founded as an anti-Black white utopia. Black people were banned from the state in the Oregon Constitution, and the Oregon Territory itself is land stolen from the Native tribes who had made this region home for centuries. Through deliberate policies—from red-lining to forced displacement for economic development—Black families were literally robbed of wealth and kept from living in many parts of the state for decades.”
Governor Brown states, “The first step to creating opportunity is recognizing that racism is endemic to our systems, impacting every part of our culture and our economy.”
What exactly are they referring to? Generally, the suppression of Black people is related to slavery and after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it lived on with the Ku Klux Klan.
The Oregon that settlers encountered was post-Civil War, it wasn’t until 1865 when the Confederates surrendered that slaves were emancipated. Oregon was not immune from this division over slavery and even before the emancipation Oregon passed a law prohibiting slavery in 1843. The Provisional Government passed Oregon’s first exclusion law in 1844, the temporary governing political structure set up by the first settlers coming over the Oregon Trail. This first law included a ban on slavery and required slaveowners free their slaves. However, African Americans who were granted their freedom, were expelled. In 1849 another exclusion law was passed that allowed black residents already in Oregon to remain, but banned further African American in-migration. This law was in effect until 1854 when it was repealed. In 1857, when a constitution was written in anticipation of statehood, an exclusion clause was included prohibiting new in-migration of African Americans, as well as making illegal their ownership of real estate and entering into contracts or use of courts. Regardless of the passing of the 14th and 15th Amendments, Oregon’s exclusion wasn’t repealed until 1927.
"The Ku Klux Klan grew and faded quickly in Oregon in the 1920s. According to historian Eckard Toy, the klan stories weren’t of burning crosses in their wake. ”The rural klan chapters were known to attend community events to further their cause, which is why there are photographs of the klan passing out Bibles in local parades.”
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“In spite of the name Ku Klux Klan most people didn't even know that this group was a racist group. They would participate in events under the guise of increasing their fraternal organization numbers. It wasn't until people in the community became involved that they became aware of the racist nature of this group. However, the racism of this group wasn't focused on African Americans, rather it was anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. In fact, former President Harry S Truman was planning to join the KKK until he found out this information. Most ex-members were ashamed they ever were members," according to Toy.
However, the Portland KKK headquarters managed to win seats in the legislature and local and county offices. They were able to pass legislation prohibiting ownership of land by aliens, aimed at Japanese immigrants. Even though the klans faded away in a few years, it had ingrained a mindset and culture that BIPOC claims has not faded and they remind us: “We do this work on land stolen from indigenous people under a state constitution that, at its founding, specifically banned people of color. We are regularly reminded of this history whenever we sit at our desks on the floors of the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon Senate, where murals of white settlers and the names of mostly white men hang over our heads.”
Even though Oregon laws weren’t friendly towards giving opportunities to African-Americans, it never did allow slavery. But. Not being a notable part of Oregon’s history, they still benefit as government has evolved. We can’t change history, but we can learn from it and BIPOC can be their pioneers going forward. What will that look like? The caucus has introduced, drafted or plans to develop more than 40 pieces of legislation. Some good, and some not so good.
Rep. Janelle Bynum, D-Happy Valley, introduced HB 2928 to restrict law enforcement use of munitions, which would limit the use of pepper spray to officially declared riots, ban the use of impact projectiles for crowd control except against individuals in specific circumstances and allow people to sue the police for violating those proposed rules. Bynum also has proposals to phase out the cap on damages in lawsuits against police agencies and require thorough background checks — including checking references, a psychiatric evaluation and a racial bias and sympathy test — for all law enforcement hires.
What does equity or inequity look like when it comes to correcting the past? When is there ever a “clean slate” that makes everything balanced?
Governor Brown has issued her annual State of the State address, effectively a list of her accomplishments, while Oregonians continue to suffer because of what some consider to be her poor policy choices.
The address notably lacked specifics on how to address Oregonian’s most pressing challenges such as lackluster vaccine distribution, helping small businesses and working families recover from government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions, wildfire recovery, and getting kids back to school. She used the opportunity of a pre-recorded speech to replace substantive policy proposals with sympathetic interviews. Instead of offering ways to help Oregonians, she decided to shirk responsibility by having other people tell you about the problems we face.
Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued the following statement:
“Hidden behind all of the Governor’s flowery words are crushing new taxes on businesses and working families who are already struggling to make ends meet. No amount of sloganeering will unite Oregonians or solve the real issues they face.
“The Governor dedicated much of her time to racial issues. Senate Republicans are committed to ensuring everyone has equal opportunities to succeed, which includes common sense police accountability measures, some of which we have already passed. But the Governor’s lockdowns have done disproportionate harm to minority workers and students, and her failure to uphold the law in Portland has resulted in a disproportionate number of people from our communities of color falling victim to gun violence.
“Democrats, who have overseen this state for decades, particularly in Portland, need to take responsibility for years of mismanagement.
“As Republicans, we want to get kids back in school and people back to work so they can provide for their families. We want to keep our neighborhoods safe, so people have the opportunity to be their best. Our priority this session will be to solve Oregonians' most pressing issues. As a caucus, we look forward to introducing legislation that will move Oregon forward and help them recover from the crises we face.”