What topic needs to be discussed most in the upcoming Governor's race?
Second Amendment
Transportation
Education
Abortion/life issues
COVID response
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Name:
Email:
Search Articles
       
Linthicum Blasts Radicalization of the OED
Oregon Education Department promotes training that degrades scholastic achievement

An Oregon State Senator claims that the Oregon Education Department is now promoting indoctrination sessions for teachers and administrators. In an email newsletter, the Department recommended that education professionals take the “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course” which promotes the idea that correct and incorrect answers in math are “characteristics of white supremacy.”

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) released the following statement to demand answers from the Education Department: “Thousands of Oregon families are suffering from school shutdowns imposed by the Governor. Parents and students have rightfully demanded that schools be reopened, but with propaganda like this being taught to our teachers, parents should feel betrayed. If parents truly want their kids to learn basic skills to be successful in life, I doubt they will consider putting their kids back into the Oregon public school system.”

The training suggests that white supremacy shows up in the culture when mathematics is “used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views,” and also teaches that an oppressive hierarchy is upheld, when “teachers are teachers and students are learners,” and “students are required to show their work.”

“This curriculum is divisive and destroys the very goal of our education system, which is to teach kids objective truths about our world. The ideas in this curriculum degrade the very people it purports to help. This is nothing but the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ for our students. All children are capable of learning math, or other subjects, without our state creating a curriculum that says, “there is no wrong answer.” Of course, there are wrong answers.

“By its own admission, this curriculum is a full-frontal assault on truth and the fact that 2+2=4. I can’t think of a better example of the post-truth progressive ideology than this. Correct math answers are not correct because of the color of one’s hair, eyes, or skin-tone, nor because a child comes from a single-parent home or has a disability. The correct calculation for the square root of 10 is an objective fact and all of us have the potential to follow the logic and come to a correct calculation. In life, as well as in mathematics, there are correct and incorrect answers.

“America’s great experiment in public schooling used to be about enabling children to develop their fullest potential by cultivating their minds, instilling values, and defending foundational principles. Now it is turning into a shameful scam. Our once great institutions are no longer serving parents and their children but are being hollowed out by radical ideologies and power-hungry public sector unions.

“When parents can’t trust schools to do their only job – educate – we, as policymakers, have an obligation to give people alternatives. I have introduced several measures this session that will increase the options for parents desperate to escape the indoctrination centers that our public schools have become.”

Senator Linthicum’s school reform measures include:
SB 657 increases the percentage of kids who can enroll in virtual charter schools from 3% to 5%.
SB 658 would establish an education savings account program to give low-income families the ability to choose a private school without tax penalties.
SB 659 allows any child in the state to attend any school in the state without the approval of the school board.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-16 17:41:11Last Update: 2021-02-16 19:34:52



Coronavirus Case Numbers Falling in Oregon
Only 184 reported on Monday, zero deaths

As many Oregon residents sit in the dark trying to stay warm through the fallout of yet another disaster, neighbors reach out and help one another, while government agencies seem helpless.

There are zero new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, and the state’s death toll remains at 2,137, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

Oregon Health Authority reported 184 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 150,464.

The Oregon Health Authority is attributing the downward trend to the weather event.

"Case and electronic laboratory result counts are lower than anticipated today. This is likely related to the winter weather event and hazardous travel conditions."

The State declared an emergency over the COVID disease nearly a year ago, and the state's leadership, particularly Governor Kate Brown does not seem willing to loosen mandated restrictions on the Oregon populace, who has had to circumstantially deal with a series of what most residents are considering more dire emergencies.

The historic Labor Day Wildfires and the recent storm which left so many in the dark and cold on Valentine's Day 2021 come to mind.

Many observers have noted how nice it would be right now to sit in a warm restaurant with electricity.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-02-15 18:10:25Last Update: 2021-02-15 18:39:04



Vaccine Approval a Matter of Question
Not the first time the OHA has come under fire for accuracy

In a Cease and Desist Letter, obtained by Northwest Observer, and dated February 15, 2021 Attorney Robert Snee of Beaverton, Oregon alerted Patrick Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority that the State agency under Allen's leadership has posted inaccurate and misleading content in violation of federal law, which could lead to the Vaccine Manufacturer's having their EUA status revoked.

"In violation of federal law, part of your social media messaging falsely claims that the FDA “approved” two COVID-19 vaccines. This representation is a direct violation of the conditions under which the authorizations for emergency use were granted to Pfizer and Moderna and could endanger the continuance of those authorizations. On behalf of my client and several concerned Oregonians, I hereby demand that you remove all the false claims outlined previously and herein, and issue a correction no later than 5:00 pm Thursday, February 18, 2021".

This is the second Cease and Desist letter sent by Snee to Director Allen, the first was dated January 24, 2021. Pat Allen has yet to issue a retraction, or correction, placing OHA in violation of the law, and placing both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at risk of losing their EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) status under the Food and Drug Administration.

The Cease and Desist Letter clearly outlines EUA law stating:

"The Secretary, through the FDA’s authorizations for both of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently in use pursuant to the EUAs, expressly provide that the vaccines are each “an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication” and require that “[a]ll promotional material relating to the COVID-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously state that this product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA.”

Claims have been made by the Oregon Health Authority regarding the "COVID-19 vaccines, which have not yet been evaluated by the FDA. These claims can be found on various graphics, in addition to claims made during press conferences and live videos.

"In violation of federal law, the state’s official promotional graphic and message described in my January 24, 2021 letter, falsely claim the COVID-19 vaccines have been “approved by the FDA” which is not only categorically false, but is also directly prohibited by the conditions for the promotion of this product under 21 U.S.C. 360bbb- 3(e)(4) and related federal law and regulations." "The federal statute that authorizes the FDA to grant an emergency use authorization, Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3, states that “[t]he Secretary may establish conditions on advertisements and other promotional descriptive printed matter that relate to the emergency use of a product for which an authorization under this section is issued.” 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3(e)(4)."

Pat Allen has not complied, nor has Allen responded to the Cease and Desist, despite the threat of litigation: "Failure to do so will result in a lawsuit on behalf of my clients seeking an injunction to force your compliance with the applicable federal law."

This is not the first time the Oregon Health Authority has come under fire for transparency, or accuracy issues. Just last month the OHA reporting portal for COVID-19 deaths and cases, was found to be unsecured, lacking any type of password protections to make a report. Additionally the Oregon Health Authority has been under constant fire for denying public records requests, failure to disclose testing data, and most recently for making a decision to stop sharing detailed death reporting information.

It's unclear if the State will spend more tax dollars, to fight this in court, or if Pat Allen will instead choose to follow the law, and correct the misinformation.


--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2021-02-15 17:10:36Last Update: 2021-02-17 14:54:16



Leftist Protesters Overwhelm Portland Police Officers During Storm
Medical clinic also vandalized

A small protest caused delayed police response and ended with some broken windows and more in downtown Portland.

On Friday, February 12, 2021 at about 8:00p.m., a protest of about 30-50 people gathered at Director Park, 815 Southwest Park Avenue. The group marched to Central Precinct at 1111 Southwest 2nd Avenue, where the group began throwing objects and yelling at officers. There were police vehicles parked outside the precinct. As officers went out to move their cars in an effort to prevent them from being damaged, the officers were pelted with icy snowballs by participants.

In an effort to avoid confrontation and de-escalate the situation, and due to lack of available resources, officers remained out of sight as much as possible. However, officers were forced to monitor in case the group became more violent or caused damage to city property. While officers were occupied with that, there were calls stacking up in the precinct, including numerous calls for welfare checks on houseless community members who were exposed to the frigid weather. Among other duties, officers were facilitating getting those individuals to warming shelters if they wished.

The precinct, which is the only police facility open to the public 24 hours a day, was locked for security.

As officers from other precincts approached to access the intake for the Multnomah County Detention Center, the hostile group surrounded their cars. Traffic was very limited due to the treacherous weather, but the group stood in the street blocking the way.

At about 10:45p.m., the group went on a short march. Officers discovered that windows were broken by participants of the crowd during the march. A coffee shop in the 1300 block of Southwest 3rd Avenue and a medical clinic in the 900 block of Southwest 5th Avenue were damaged.

The crowd dissipated by 11:30p.m. No arrests have been made and no one was injured. If anyone has information about the suspects who vandalized the businesses or harassed officers, please refer to case number 21-39817 to the Portland Police.

The staff here at Northwest Observer apologize for any technical difficulties as many of us are currently experiencing fallout from this historic ice storm which hit the Pacific Northwest region on Friday, February 12th. The storm has caused severe damage in many areas and has prompted the Oregon Governor Kate Brown to declare an emergency. The Northwest Observer will continue to bring you important updates.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-02-14 20:51:15Last Update: 2021-02-14 21:13:59



Oregons Unfunded Mandate Provision
The state may not impose requirements on municipalities, without support

In 1995, the Oregon Legislature referred Ballot Measure 30 to the voters -- a Constitutional change which would not allow the state to create unfunded mandates for cities and counties. In November 1996 the voters passed it with 56% of the vote and it became Section 15 in Article XI of the Oregon Constitution.

Article XI, Section 15. Funding of programs imposed upon local governments; exceptions. (1) Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, when the Legislative Assembly or any state agency requires any local government to establish a new program or provide an increased level of service for an existing program, the State of Oregon shall appropriate and allocate to the local government moneys sufficient to pay the ongoing, usual and reasonable costs of performing the mandated service or activity.

The usual "big government" organizations were against it. The City Club of Portland put out a statement against it saying, "The measure would cause a significant and undesirable shift of power away from the state to local governments, needlessly frustrating the ability of the state to implement social and economic policy objectives, and could lead to a patchwork pattern of compliance and noncompliance with laws and regulations across the state. This can only further exacerbate existing political divisions within the state and would undermine the very notion of what it means to be an Oregonian."

The courts have determined that if an act of the Legislature does cause an unfunded mandate the municipality need not comply. the state does not have to cover the whole cost. If the cost is less than 95 percent of the usual and reasonable costs incurred by the local government in conducting the program at the same level of service in the preceding fiscal year or requires the local government to spend for the program, in addition to the amount appropriated and allocated by the Legislative Assembly, an amount that exceeds one-hundredth of one percent of the annual budget adopted by the governing body of the local government for that fiscal year.

In 2015, Oregon enacted a paid sick-leave law, and several counties sued claiming that the new law forced the counties to implement a "program" which was not funded. The Oregon Supreme Court determined that paid sick leave for county employees did not constitute a "program" and therefore was not an unfunded mandate.

The law does not only include acts of the legislature, but rules enacted by executive branch state agencies.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-13 07:43:28Last Update: 2021-02-12 21:57:40



A Plea from a Senior to Bring Back Sports
“Our mental health is as low as it has ever been.”

Editor's note: What follows is a letter that was sent to a State Representative and is being reprinted with the author's permission.

To whom it may concern,

Please take the time to read this and hear my story. My name is Madelyn Loughary. I am a senior at Dallas High School. I have the opportunity to be a part of an amazing community and get to play 3 sports. I participate in volleyball, basketball, and softball. Last February before Covid-19 had officially shut us down I had an appendectomy so despite getting to “finish” my Junior basketball season it was still cut short. Going into my softball season so excited that it was gonna be so much fun. I didn’t get to participate in the first 2 weeks due to recovery, and then on March 13th 2020 I was cleared to play. Little did I know I would be given the news that the season was canceled that same day. I was devastated and couldn't imagine what the seniors had felt like until now. I started my senior year online and with no chance at a normal sports season or school year.

School being online isn’t fun at all and in no way how I wanted to spend my senior year. School being online is what it is but what I don’t understand is why the fight for athletics isn’t there. Each week we hope to get updated news and new policies, but each week we are disappointed once again. February 10th, 2021 we were given the news that football was allowed to play full contact, and was going to get their season. I have never been so upset at such good news. I immediately texted my volleyball coach only to find out that a minimal contact sport with only 12 girls on one side of the court in a mask cannot be in the gym together and not guaranteed a season. Put yourself in our shoes and how awful that felt as student athletes being deprived yet again of their season. We are all so terrified that we have already stepped on the court or on the field for the last time; terrified that someone is going to ask how we are doing with everything, and that those 4 words could break us.

Our mental health is as low as it has ever been. The drive in the classroom is gone because there is no hope that we are going to get our season. Our coaches are fighting and fighting for us to get the seasons we deserve but here we are with nothing other than the opportunity to condition outside. If you sent out a survey to all the student athletes regarding their mental health and how much we are affected by the lack of athletics in Oregon you would be appalled that you created this. We are one of the only states not able to play sports; one of the only states shutdown. The vaccine is out; the tests are available. The only thing holding us back is you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.


--Madelyn Loughary

Post Date: 2021-02-12 16:06:13Last Update: 2021-02-12 17:43:28



Rep. Hernandez Files Lawsuit Against Committee and House Speaker
Alleges several breaches of due process

Embattled State Representative Diego Hernandez has filed a civil suit in Marion County Circuit Court against the Oregon Legislature, naming State Representatives Ron Noble (R-McMinnville), Julie Fahey (D-Eugene), House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Jackie Sandmeyer, head of the House Legislative Equity Office. The complaint is merely 16 pages, but is supplemented by 89 pages of attachments, including much of the evidence -- starting on page 26 -- that Hernandez said was not considered or improperly presented to the House Conduct Committee.

Hernandez alleges many breaches of due process, essentially describing the process as a political witch hunt, orchestrated by Speaker Kotek. He alleges that Sandmeyer, the head of Legislative Equity Office, had a spouse employed with the Speaker's office, and that this conflict was not disclosed to him. The Legislative Equity Office manages the investigation and process for breaches of House conduct. There is also the mystery of how the documents for the Conduct Committee was “leaked” to OPB hours before the committee members had seen them, which could potentially be tied to the Sandmeyer and spouse relationship. In his complaint, Hernandez says

On or around May 5, 2020, Plaintiff was notified that Sandmeyer was conducting a Rule 27 investigation into his alleged conduct. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, Sandmeyer’s spouse had previously worked for Kotek, the person who made the complaint to the LEO. Neither Sandmeyer nor Kotek disclosed this relationship to Plaintiff and Sandmeyer did not recuse from this matter.

Hernandez also finds objection to the length of time that the investigation took, which was about 200 days. "Rule 27" refers to the rule in the Legislative Branch Personnel rules, titled "Harassment-Free Workplace." Hernandez

Pursuant to Rule 27 (6)(h), the investigator has 60 days from appointment to conduct the investigation and present a draft finding of fact and recommendations to the Human Resources Director, the Office of the Legislative Counsel, the complainant, and the person alleged to be involved with the harassment. The person alleged to be involved with the harassment has a right to be promptly informed of any extensions granted to the investigator and must be provided with the reason for any delay. That did not occur during this investigation....

Fahey, Noble, Sandmeyer and Kotek delayed Plaintiff’s investigation by nearly 200 days for improper purposes, did not notify Plaintiff of the reasons for the delay, failed to give Plaintiff the final findings of fact within 10 days of its submission, only provided Plaintiff with seven days to respond to the allegations, prevented Plaintiff from presenting evidence at the fact finding hearing, prevented Plaintiff from testifying without forfeiting his right to counsel, required Plaintiff to present his defense first, and precluded Plaintiff from questioning other witnesses or providing rebuttal evidence and testimony.

Hernandez's complaint also indicates that not all the evidence was fairly presented to the House Committee on Conduct, where these disputes are tried.

Sandmeyer redacted dates, how Plaintiff knew the subjects, multiple pages of text message threads and Facebook posts, any reference to the fact that two of the subjects were sisters, any reference to the fact that the subjects wanted to rekindle a romantic relationship with Plaintiff, and any reference to Kotek.

Hernandez is requesting non-economic damages in the form of emotional distress against Fahey, Noble, Sandmeyer and Kotek in the amount of $1,000,000, along with reasonable attorney fees, expert witness fees, costs, and interest. Insiders attribute the source of Speaker Kotek's anger and retaliation against him to his no vote on Speaker Kotek's PERS reform bill from the 2019 session, SB 1049 which required public employees to pay some of their own retirement. The bill passed by one vote under heavy pressure from the speaker, including a pause during the voting in which several Democrat House members were taken into the back office and "encouraged" to vote for the bill.

A resolution expelling Hernandez from the Legislature is scheduled for Tuesday.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-12 14:01:38Last Update: 2021-02-12 16:06:13



Sen. Knopp Proposes COVID Fine Amnesty
88 businesses around the state have been fined by OSHA

Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) has introduced legislation that would provide relief for struggling businesses who were penalized because they reopened their businesses in order to support their families and employees.

Currently, 88 businesses around the state have been fined by OSHA, ranging from $100 to $15,000 because of regulations imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, little evidence suggests that businesses are a main source of transmission.

“The data suggests that places of business are not a major source of virus transmission,” Senator Knopp said. “Our employers and those who rely on them for their livelihoods have sacrificed a lot over the last year. We don’t need to be adding to their burden by imposing unnecessary fines that have no basis in the data.”

SB 738 would rescind and refund penalties imposed on businesses if no outbreak resulted because of any reopening in violation of the Governor’s executive orders.

“We need businesses to bounce back and start hiring those who are struggling to make ends meet,” Sen. Knopp continued. “If the business was not responsible for any COVID-19 outbreak, they should not be fined. Period. The policies we make should be rooted in data and science. This bill is a great way to utilize the data we have collected throughout this pandemic to give people relief and help them recover.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-12 13:44:36



Leave Proposed for Volunteer Fire Fighters
This may be a positive influence in recruitment of volunteers

Volunteer Firefighter Protection Volunteers are a valuable resource to our communities. They are extremely important during a time of crisis. Every year volunteer firefighters in communities across Oregon answer the call at all hours of the night. They respond to automobile accidents, public assistance calls, rescue situations and of course fires of all kinds. Volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line every time they answer that call for help.

However, emergencies don’t just happen on the weekend or in the evening when these volunteers could typically respond during personal time. They often happen in the middle of the workday and can even last several days. Historically, employers, on an individual basis, assess the desires of individual employees to participate in these volunteer activities and are able to weigh that with the potential impacts to operating the business.

In Oregon, extended periods of time to support emergency services are often covered under the definition of conflagration “an extensive fire which destroys a great deal of land or property.” Conflagrations assistance by volunteers is already addressed in a separate statute other that the one listed in SB 376. The conflagration volunteer option is located in ORS 476.510:

1) Upon request of an employee who is a volunteer firefighter of a rural fire protection district or a firefighter employed by a city or a private firefighting service to perform service pursuant to ORS 476.510 to 476.610, the employee, upon written notice by the employer, may be granted a leave of absence by the employer until release from such service permits the employee to resume the duties of employment.

2) The regular employment position of an employee on leave of absence under this section shall be considered vacant only for the period of the leave of absence. The employee shall not be subject to removal or discharge from such position as a consequence of the leave of absence.

3) Upon the termination of a leave of absence under this section, the employee shall be restored to the employee’s position or an equivalent position by the employer without loss of seniority, vacation credits, sick leave credits, service credits under a pension plan or any other employee benefit or right that had been earned at the time of the leave of absence.

Also, conflagration responses are paid for by the agency or state that is requesting the assistance. They pay the responding fire district for the equipment being requested as well as for the volunteer personnel that go with that apparatus. The reimbursement /pay begins from the time the equipment and volunteer leaves their home fire station until they return. Volunteer firefighters are paid $15.50 an hour, Engineers are paid $17.50 an hour and officer/Engine Bosses are paid $18.50 an hour. In the event they are gone for more than 40 hours, over-time pay is added to the volunteer compensation. For example, a firefighter who is sent on a 7 day conflagration would receive an estimated $3,576 in pay.

SB 376 sponsored by Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas), at the request of the Sherman Family, looks to expand the conflagration protections into other areas of statute. By doing so it would provide employment protections to a broader scope of volunteer response situations. The legislation would require employers that employ 20 or more employees to grant unpaid leave of absence to employees who are called into service to perform duties related to service as volunteer firefighters. In addition, employers with 50 or more employees would be required to grant unpaid leave of absence for up to 14 calendar days for training. The volunteer leave would be allowed to be taken in hourly increments.

With the number of volunteer firefighters decreasing in Oregon and specifically in rural fire districts this bill may be a positive influence in increasing recruitment of additional volunteers. For example, one small local fire department located in Yamhill County reported that they currently have between 25-30 volunteers and contract with a larger adjoining district for administrative overhead and some Emergency Medical Staff (EMS) support. The station responded to approximately 450 calls for help in 2020 and included in those calls were conflagration responses due to the unprecedented wildfire season. In the month of September alone this small rural station sent apparatus and volunteers to 4 conflagrations totaling 880 apparatus hours. When conflagrations pull resources away or multiple emergency responses are needed simultaneously, volunteers can be stretched thin or need to be called in from other surrounding areas.

However, it may also prove to be a burden on small businesses who cannot afford to shut down when one or more employees leave to volunteer on emergency calls. Emergency calls that often have an undetermined duration, but do not fall under the definition of conflagration.

In the conflagration statute, it allows for pre-arrangement of the absences to be agreed to between the employee and the employer. SB 376 does not contain prearrangement language. In addition, the conflagration statute allows for the employer to deny the request by stating “may be granted a leave of absence by the employer”. SB 376 says “the employee shall be granted leave of absence”. There are no provisions for the employer to deny the absences for any reason thus placing all the burden on the employer.

Volunteers are a valuable part of every community and no more important than in the fire service arena. They allow small rural fire districts to manage costs by using volunteers rather than hiring full time paid professional fire fighters. However, employers also need a reliable labor force and the option to allow employees the opportunity to volunteer in ways that do not impact the ability of the business to operate. It is a delicate balance that may be best left up to the employer and employee relationship rather than mandated in statute.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-02-12 13:14:32Last Update: 2021-02-12 13:44:36



Extending Educational Inclusion
ODE does not have a plan focused on LGBTQ2SIA+ students

During the 2019 Legislative Session lawmakers passed HB 3427, the Corporate Activity Tax. The CAT is a tax on businesses with sales over $1 million and is the funding mechanism for the Student Success Act.

The Executive Summary published by the Oregon Department of Education in February 2020 summed up the bill sharing that the Student Success Act creates 12 new programs and expands 16 existing programs, affecting students from early learning through high school graduation.

As a part of the Student Success Act, ODE is required to submit progress reports on implementation, including any recommendations for legislative changes. One of the suggestions coming out of the report is SB 52, which does not have a sponsor, but is at the request of Governor Kate Brown for Department of Education.

ODE does not currently have a statewide student plan focused on the daily education experiences of LGBTQ2SIA+ students. SB 52 would require ODE to establish an advisory group, including student representation, to develop plans for students who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, intersex, asexual, nonbinary, or other minority gender identities or sexual orientations. This advisory group would be the first step in addressing solutions to closing the various inequities that exist in education for these student populations.

The estimated cost of the program is $2,250,960 for 2021-2023 and $2,321,244 for years 2023-2025 which would fund one additional full-time position at ODE to manage and assist the advisory group. There are currently no immediate anticipated costs to individual school districts, but moving forward it will be dependent on the requirements and recommendations developed by the newly established advisory group.

The Senate Committee on Education has moved the bill to the Senate floor for a vote and then onto Ways and Means for further consideration.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-02-12 13:05:36



Making the Producers Responsible
Far reaching to sellers, trademark licensees, importers, and manufacturers

Legislation on Extended Producer Liability is showing up in several forms. Extended Producer Liability is a concept that requires manufacturers to manage or pay for the full life cycle of a product. This is being presented as “stewardship programs.” They have been beneficial on products that are difficult or hazardous to dispose of such as batteries, paint and electronics. HB 2955, the brainchild of Wlnsvey Campos (D-Beaverton) will add household hazardous waste to that list. One thing they have in common is that a person cannot recycle or properly dispose of them without special care to prevent harm.

HB 2365 was introduced that would prohibit food vendors from using single-use plastic food service ware when selling prepared food. At the opposite end, Senator Fred Girod (R-Stayton) is asking to repeal the single-use checkout bags ban in SB 536 and let stores be responsible. But, Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) is taking the Extended Producer Liability approach in SB 14. This bill establishes a plastics stewardship program for plastic packaging and plastic food serviceware.

Unlike hazardous stewardship programs, this program is far reaching to sellers, trademark licensees, importers, and manufacturers. It makes a stewardship organization impossible to operate fairly. Even though the bill reads like an organization controlled program, the representation would be limited. The bill itself puts a lot of obstacles in the way of an organization making it an over reach for government control.

The general fund will continuously appropriate moneys to fund the Department of Environmental Quality for the program and authorizes DEQ to collect an annual fee charged to each stewardship organization according to market share. If a manufacturer or seller doesn’t join the organization, their product isn’t licensed in the state. This isn’t just a stewardship program; it’s controlling who does business in Oregon. It creates a new enforcement unit that is more than just stewardship for recycling, it calls for compliance of worker health and safety requirements.

It’s another attack on the food servers and restaurants. The plastics covered are plastic packaging; and plastic food serviceware generally intended for single use, including plates, cups, bowls, cutlery or straws. Manufacturers and food servers are required to track and document the fate of covered products.

Instead of wasting funds on controls of stewardship, the American Chemistry Council has an initiative by Plastic Makers for a Waste-Free America with advanced plastics recycling technology to keep plastics in productive use and out of the environment. Their goal is to recover 100 percent of used plastic packaging in the U.S. by 2040. Shouldn’t Oregon be encouraging those industries and let them develop and negotiate how they get our waste? Government can’t dictate innovation but can surely stop it.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-02-11 18:19:55Last Update: 2021-02-11 18:39:59



Convicted Criminals in Schools
Bill is sponsored by Representative Diego Hernandez

HB 2942 would create a pathway for individuals charged and convicted of crimes such as manufacturing and/or delivering hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and meth or prostitution—including crimes targeting children within 1,000 feet of a school—to be eligible to work in school settings.

Oregon House Republicans have called on lawmakers to reject this legislation that would open the door to convicted criminals working and volunteering in K-12 educational settings.

“Protecting our children is one of the most fundamental responsibilities we have as a society,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “This bill abandons that duty. We cannot throw open the school doors to those who have been convicted of serious crimes. Let’s help those who have made mistakes and are working to restart their lives, without putting the responsibility for that work on our kids.”

HB 2942 specifically prohibits the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the state agency in charge of licensing teachers, from permanently prohibiting individuals convicted of certain crimes from working in a classroom setting. If the bill passes, Oregon’s youngest students could be in the care of role models who will guide their social and emotional development and stand at the head of a classroom with convictions that include:

“I do not believe being convicted of these crimes should close the door to opportunity –but it should close the door to the classroom,” said Representative Kim Wallan (R-Medford). “The current standards protect our students and we should not change them.”

House Democrat Representative Diego Hernandez (D-Portland) is one of the lawmakers sponsoring HB 2942. Diego Hernandez was recently found to have created a hostile work environment for several women, and calls for his resignation have recently occupied the news headlines.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16 the House may decide to expel Representative Diego Hernandez.

HB 2942 has so far received its first hearing on February 11th, in the House Judiciary Committee.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-02-11 16:06:52Last Update: 2021-02-11 18:49:06



Read More Articles