Hundreds of community volunteers work shoulder to shoulder for months each year to put this traditional show together, and we welcome the world to St. Paul for five days filled with color, action, excitement, and something for everyone. So, head on out to St. Paul for a fun-filled experience during our 86th annual 4th of July rodeo celebration of the American cowboy and our western lifestyle!
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte RD E Albany, OR 97322
World Athletics Championships
Friday, July 15, 2022 at 8:00 am
The World Athletics Championships are coming to Eugene this summer (July 15-24 2022), the first time in history that the championships will be held in the United States. This mega-sporting event will showcase the best track and field athletes in the world. The event will bring 2,000 athletes from more than 200 nations, all competing for 49 gold medals. About 20,000 to 25,000 attendees are expected per session, with most days hosting two sessions (both morning and afternoon).
The Gervais School District has announced that they will be using contact tracing devices as students return to school in order to comply with guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education. In a letter to parents accompanied by a video the district has explained what the contact tracing devices are and how they work.
Students from grades 6-12 will wear the contact tracing devices on a lanyard, suspended from the student's neck while in school and if one contact tracing device comes within 6 feet of another device, it will vibrate and blink red. When the students -- and the devices they are wearing -- separate beyond six feet, the devices will turn green and stop vibrating.
At the end of the day, students return the devices and the data is downloaded from them. If there is a positive case, a report can be run outputting the contacts of the infected student, as well as how long other students were in their vicinity.
According to the district, these devices will not be worn by students in Preschool through 5th grade because those students are much more contained and have fewer people in their groups. I also want to emphasize that the tracers are not GPS devices. The tracers do not track the location of students or staff. They only track the amount of time the device spends while within 6 feet of another device.
The school district circulated this video, which explains how they work and what measures the district is taking.
With the stated goal of bolstering the Clean Diesel Engine Fund HB 2674 would financially harm both retail businesses and consumers, once the 48-page expected amendment is adopted. The bill has been introduced by Representative Rob Nosse (D-Portland). It would create administrative burdens for businesses and state government. Is the goal of this bill to raise revenue, discourage the use of diesel equipment or to increase the number of state employees? How will the bill affect industry and the consumer?
It proposes a 3% tax on tires. The tax must be recorded on a separate invoice from the sale. The tax on nonroad diesel equipment is 1.5%. The tax on rentals of nonroad equipment is 3.5% and on general diesel equipment 2%. Purchasers “are not considered to be a taxpayers”. It is a tax on those with the privilege of providing the equipment for sale or lease. However, tax on nonroad diesel equipment purchased from out-of-state sellers will be the responsibility of the purchaser. The tax will be reduced by the amount of any tax paid out-of-state sellers but not to an amount below zero. Sales to nonresidents are exempt from this tax. Excess taxes are refunded to purchasers when equipment is surrendered or traded in. The purchaser is burdened with proof for refunds claimed.
Every provider of nonroad diesel equipment must register with the Oregon Department of Revenue and keep records. Enforcement will be through the Circuit Tax Court of Oregon. They have power to subpoena individuals in prosecuting owners and officers of sellers out of compliance. Rules for appealing rulings are established as are punishment including criminal charges. Revenue Department moneys may be held by the Treasurer’s Department. Moneys to reimburse the Treasury Department shall not exceed 5% of monies held in suspense. Moneys from rentals shall be transferred to the counties where the transaction occurs. Moneys in excess of 2% shall go to the Clean Diesel Engine Fund.
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The bill would put Oregon at a competitive disadvantage from our current posture, contributing yet another obstacle to attracting business to our state. Diesel power drives farming, mining, fishing, construction and forestry to name a few industries. Utilities providing water, sewer, electricity and communications run on diesel as does fire protection, emergency services, police and military. This tax would eventually be borne by the consumer and provide no discernable benefit.
Ranked Choice Voting is confusing to most voters, it is a strategic game at best as voters will have to not only choose their favorite candidate, but they will have to guess who is likely to win and factor that into 2nd and 3rd choices, to have their vote count at all.
Three Democrat Legislators have introduced ‘Ranked Choice Voting’ bills for this 2021 Legislature to consider. Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) brought this counting scheme to us. Ranked Choice Voting is only used in Alaska and Maine for selection of their state and congressional members per the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some other cities use it for their local elections.
On Tuesday The Senate Rules Committee will hear SB 343 which permits counties to adopt ranked-choice voting to conduct county elections and SB 791 which establishes ranked choice voting as voting method for selecting winner of nomination for and election to nonpartisan state offices and county and city offices except where home rule charter applies.
A traditional run off race is more definite if a clear winner is not selected on the first vote. In a second separate race, everyone is fully informed as to their choice of governing authority selection. That is why we have a primary vote in the first place. Ranked Choice Voting would require ballot counting tabulators that can do the recalculating of the results that would be necessary as late votes are accumulated. We already have enough mistrust of these machines after the last Presidential Election. Votes were proven to be defective in Michigan due to the fact that the Ranked Choice Voting algorithm of ’weighted votes” was in enabled for the calculation.
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists the pros and cons for Ranked Choice Voting and one of them is that the legislature will have to supply the machines that can accommodate the software that can do the weighted tabulation. The state will also have to educate the public as to how this election will work. Among the difficulties with this system they list the following
“Arguments against RCV
Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. Who’s to say that winning with a plurality but not a majority is a problem? In addition, if a voter decides to only vote for one candidate and not rank the others (sometimes called “bullet” voting), and the counting goes to a second level, the voter’s ballot would be “exhausted” and may not count at all, thus nullifying that citizen’s vote.
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A Polarized Populace. While supporters argue that ranked choice forces candidates to appeal for second- and third- place votes, doubters say that today’s polarized environment likely means voters won’t cross the aisle in significant numbers anyway.
A Complex System. Because RCV is a divergence from the traditional and historical voting method in the United States there are concerns that the voting populace will not be properly educated about the new system. This could lead to frustration by voters and
the possibility that voters will not properly complete their ballots and have their votes nullified if they only vote for one candidate and that candidate does not advance beyond the first round.”
In conclusion, Ranked Choice Voting not only has the problems listed above but is a great threat to our election security as it will require the use of ‘weighted ballot counting” option in our counting tabulators. Knowledge of these settings are off limits for the public to know. This setting is part of the Secretary of State Shemia Fagan's secret security plan and only election officials can know it. How will voters know if it is turned off or on for other races?
Voters expect to have the vote counted as one vote, not directed whole or in part to another candidate.
This week the Oregon Legislature will reach checkpoint #1 in its path to sine die -- the Constitutional end of session on June 28. March 19th marks the day when bills need to be scheduled for a work session in the Chamber of Origin. House bills need to have a hearing and work session scheduled by a committee of the House, and in the Senate, it is the same. If this fails to happen, the bill is effectively dead for the session. The only committees without this deadline are Rules, Revenue, Ways and Means and other Joint Committees. Bills assigned to those committees remain in play until the final days of the Legislative Session.
With hundreds of bills assigned to the various committees and many of them yet to be heard, it is expected that committee agendas will become a bit more packed between March 19th and April 13th. April 13th is checkpoint #2 where bills must have received a vote on the original chamber floor, or they are dead for the session.
Already this week, hearing agendas are packed with bills. Some of the bills have already had public hearing and are headed to work sessions, others are simply getting started. What is certain is that this is a week full of bills that affect every Oregonian. Here are a few examples of bills that are starting the hearing process. Other bills can be found on the legislative website.
House Committee on Early Childhood (1:00pm) - HB 2474 -Expands Oregon Family Medical Leave Act (OFLA) to include employers with 1 or more employees. Previously it was employers with 25 employees or more. OFLA allows for up to 12 weeks of leave for certain situations such as the birth or adoption of a child.
House Committee on Energy and Environment (1:00pm) – There will be information provided by several groups and state agencies around clean energy just prior to the introduction of HB 2021 with the -1 amendments which are a “gut and stuff” to the bill, but they are yet to be posted for public review.
House Committee on Housing (8:00am) - HB 2364 – requires rental property owners to notify tenants when they are going to sell the rental property and allow them first right to purchase the property. There is also HB2580 which limits rent increases if you are the purchaser of a rental property with tenants already occupying it.
Joint Committee on Transportation (1:00pm) – HB 3065 - Directs Department of Transportation to study development of uniform standards for speed bump height. However, it is simply a place holder bill for all things transportation related. The -5 amendments will add tolls and congestion pricing to the legislation.
House Committee on Business and Labor (3:15pm) – HB 2813 – is centered around outdoor workers and air quality. It is similar to HB2588 (not yet scheduled) but goes a few steps further. It requires employers with 20 or more employees to measure the air particles during the workday and take action by either providing the appropriate respirators to employees or suspending work till the air quality is acceptable.
Senate Committee on Education (3:15pm) – SB 223 – This bill states that private schools will register with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) annually, and that ODE will create an advisory committee to oversee Oregon’s private schools.
Senate Committee on Rules (1:00pm) – There will be a series of hearings regarding the Oregon Legislature and the behavior of legislators. SB 261 – says that a legislator may not use funds from a solicitation or other contributions to pay legal expenses. SB 262 says that if a legislator is absent without permission during session, they may not receive their daily per diem and shall be fined $500 per day. SJR3 says that if a member of the legislature is absent for more than 10 days they are deemed to be engaging in disorderly behavior and this disqualifies them from holding office. SJR 4 would propose a constitutional amendment to the voters to change the definition of quorum to a simple majority.
House Committee on General Government (3:15pm) – Will hear a bill relating to the processing of cannabis, restricting its location, and requiring a fire safety plan on file with the local fire department.
If you are interested in testifying for or against a bill, it is not that hard to do. However, this can only be done when a bill is scheduled for a public hearing. Also, keep in mind that this session there have been multiple occasions where bills were scheduled for a hearing but due to the volume of people wanting to speak, they only got to 20-40% of those that signed up. Just because you ask to be heard does not mean you will be. Therefore, it is important to have you talking points ready for a 1–2-minute window of time and submit written testimony as well.
Use the OLIS system to do both. Once you locate your bill and the hearing, scroll to the bottom of the agenda for instructions: you will see links where you can submit written testimony on a bill or topic scheduled for a public hearing. You can sign up to testify live.
It's been one year since the state started keeping statistics on the "flatten the curve" graph and it looks as if the trajectory of the disease is being driven by the disease and not by state-enforced behaviors such as mask mandates and restrictions on public spaces such as restaurants. This point is made even more salient if Oregon is compared to other states such as Florida which had relatively fewer mandates and rules, yet have a curve similar to this.
While the potential impact on hospital capacity was unknown a year ago, it's pretty clear now that hospital capacity is not now in jeopardy and in hindsight never was. There is no reason that government, through regulation, needs to "flatten the curve." To some, those words are an indictment of a power hungry government, insensitive to the little guy. The economic impact of COVID-19 has fallen disproportionately on small businesses and lower-wage workers.
The graph -- which has been the top of the stack since last year -- has a caption at the side which reads:
"When people say we want to "flatten the curve," this is the curve they are talking about. We want to slow the number of new cases of COVID-19 so our healthcare system isn't overwhelmed and can provide care to everyone who needs it."
Another amazing thing is that the seasonal flu seems to have been eradicated. The Oregon Health Authority report on influenza like illness shows a remarkably low incidence of flu this year. Maybe it was because everyone was wearing a mask. Or maybe it was because every flu case was diagnosed to be COVID-19, driven by hospitals and governments which were incentivized to record it as such.
Buried deep on the OHA site is this graph, which compares flu seasons. This season is the orange line at the bottom.
As a fearful legislature huddles in a boarded up, fenced up Capitol, unsure if they are more afraid of right-wing protestors or COVID-19, some are calling for an end to lockdowns. Maybe the party in power just prefers to legislate without the rabble second guessing them.
Would let motorcycles go between lanes in congested traffic.
This isn't the first time that a lane sharing bill has been put before the legislature. As in previous sessions, this bill has bipartisan support. In an era of tight transportation dollars, solutions to congestion often carry a high price tag. Except this. SB 574 is free.
The practice of "lane sharing" or "lane filtering" refers to how motorcycles can navigate slow or stopped traffic on multi-lane roads. Lane sharing generally refers to a motorcycle passing slower or stopped vehicles by proceeding between the lanes of travel, while lane filtering usually refers to cases where a motorcycle moves back and forth between lanes to pass stopped or slowed vehicles. Both practices are meant to allow motorcycles to continue moving when the general flow of traffic is slowed or stopped, and are meant to prevent overheating of motorcycle engines, rider fatigue, and protect the safety of riders by preventing them from being rear-ended in areas with high levels of traffic congestion.
The basic part of the bill says that
a motorcycle operator does not commit the offense of motorcycle or moped unlawful passing in a lane with a vehicle under the following conditions:
(a) Traffic is stopped or has slowed to a speed of 10 miles per hour or less and
(b) The motorcycle operator:
(A) Operates a motorcycle with two wheels between lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction
(B) Travels at a speed of no more than 10 miles per hour greater than the speed of traffic
(C) Operates in a prudent manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic
(D) Overtakes a vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction
(E) Merges with the regular traffic flow when traffic begins traveling at a speed of more than 10 miles per hour and
(F) Is driving on a highway for which the speed limit established...is 50 miles per hour or higher.
Nicholas Harris, the Western States Representative for the American Motorcyclist Association who was very involved with the California effort, AB 51, to formalize and codify lane splitting. The bill passed and was signed into law in 2016, as well as legislation in Utah in 2019, resulting in the passing of HB 149, which also allows lane filtering in certain circumstances, testified on the bill.
"Perhaps one of the more dangerous situations for any on-highway motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators and environmental conditions pose an increased risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard. Even minor contact under such conditions can be disastrous for motorcyclists.
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"The key factor identified in the most recent study on the subject by U.C. Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, was the speed delta—the difference in speed between the motorcyclist and surrounding traffic. As indicated by the lead researcher, Dr. Thomas Rice, a delta of 15 mph or less, up to a surrounding traffic speed of 50 mph, did not result in any associated changes to injury types or occurrence rates.
"The AMA believes that SB 574, which proposes significantly more conservative limits than the practices identified in the study, is an excellent opportunity for this practice to be introduced in Oregon.
In many countries, lane splitting is considered a normal practice for motorcycle and scooter riders. Particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Europe and Asia, riders are expected to pass between conventional vehicles and advance to the front of the group."
To date, over 600 testimonial letters have been posted as testimony for the committee, nearly all in support. The bill had a hearing on March 2 and is now awaiting a work session to vote it out of committee. It needs to be scheduled by one of the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation, Senator Lee Beyer (D-Eugene) or Representative Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro).
Minority reports as used in the Oregon Legislature are a tool that allows a group of members -- usually in the minority party -- to present their version of a bill as an alternative to a piece of legislation that is voted out of committee. Two committee members who voted in opposition to a bill coming out of a work session in their committee may subscribe to a minority report which would then accompany the base bill, or committee report, to the floor. Committee members must notify the Chair and the committee staff of their intent to file a minority report within two hours of the adjournment of the committee.
Minority reports may only be applied to measures coming out of policy committees. This means that a minority report may not come out of any of the joint committees, statutory committees, subcommittees, special committees, or conference committees.
Timeline for Minority Reports
1. Potential issues to be included in a minority report are submitted as proposed Legislative Counsel amendments and distributed to the committee for possible consideration. If a work session occurs within 24 hours of the first House public hearing, a minority report may be drafted containing issues that came under discussion on the measure in committee.
2. Two members who vote in opposition to a piece of legislation provide the Chair and Committee staff notice of their intention to file a minority report within two hours of the committee adjourning.
3. For the 2021 session, members giving notice of a minority report have until 5 p.m. on the second business day to deliver the Legislative Counsel draft of the minority report to the committee staff. Minority reports must be filed with committee staff no later than the next business day if the Speaker has declared Sine Die to be imminent.
4. Minority Reports will be filed at the Desk on the same day as the committee report.
If the committee report has an accompanying minority report, it will be taken up under Propositions and Motions before the reading of other bills. The carrier of the bill will have 10 minutes to speak to the committee report and then upon a motion to substitute the committee report with the minority report, the carrier of the minority report will also have 10 minutes to speak. Members will each have 5 minutes to speak on whether the minority report should be adopted. The discussion should be limited to why the minority report should replace the committee report and not to the merits of the overall concept.
Because the motion to replace a committee report with a minority report is a parliamentary procedure, the threshold for adoption is only a majority of the members present not a majority of the full body.
Should a motion to adopt the minority report be adopted, it will replace the committee report and immediately move into third readings. Should the motion to replace the committee report with the minority vote fail, the committee report will immediately move into third readings. The House will then take up the measure for a vote.
Unless there is a split in the majority caucus, a minority report is unlikely to prevail. It may be regarded as a messaging tool, by some and therefore may have some value even if it does not prevail.
Suspect is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that 32-year-old Cole Miller is charged with the attempted murder and assault of a person that happened last month in the Hazelwood neighborhood. As part of this investigation, law enforcement recovered multiple firearms, including five AR-15 rifles and a ghost gun. Ironically, this is happening as the legislature considers more restrictions on firearms, which opponents say will leave only the criminals with guns.
Miller is charged with one count of attempted murder in the second degree with a firearm, one count of assault in the first degree with a firearm, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm with a firearm enhancement and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon with a firearm.
This investigation started when Portland Police responded to a shooting on February 1, 2021 in the 10500 block of East Burnside Street. When they arrived, they located a person shot inside a vehicle.
According to court documents, the shooting victim said, “in case I die, I want someone to know that it was Cole Miller who shot me.”
During the investigation, law enforcement learned that Miller and the shooting victim are known to each other and have been involved in a dispute.
On March 10, 2021, Portland Police received information about a disturbance involving a firearm at a convenience store at Southeast 42nd Avenue and Southeast Woodstock Street. The store employee reported a disturbance involving someone who tried to microwave food inside the business, which is against their policy. During the incident, the suspect allegedly pointed a gun at the employee. A description of the vehicle and suspect were provided to Portland Police.
Hours later, Portland Police responded to the 3700 block of Southeast 42nd Avenue to conduct a welfare check involving a vehicle and suspicious activity involving the driver. When police arrived, they identified the vehicle as being the same car involved in the incident at the convenience store.
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Police identified the driver of the car to be Miller, according to court documents. Miller was later identified as the suspect in the convenience store disturbance.
During a search of Miller’s vehicle, police recovered five AR-15 rifles, a Glock 17 handgun, two Glock 43 handguns, a ghost-gun resembling a Glock 19 and a loaded .45 caliber handgun.
According to court records, Miller is a convicted felon and therefore prohibited from being in possession of a firearm.
Pearl District destruction during “peaceful march”
Police Officers in Portland, Oregon detained a group of about 100 in a march that devolved into property destruction in the Pearl District.
On Friday, March 12, 2021 at about 9:00pm, a group began marching in the street, blocking vehicular traffic, from Jamison Park, 810 Northwest 11th Avenue. They were advised by loudspeaker that the street was open to vehicular traffic, but the crowd continued to march in the street.
At about 9:15pm, at Northwest 15th Avenue and Northwest Overton Street, some in the crowd began breaking windows. Officers moved in to address the criminal behavior. They created a perimeter around the group on Northwest Marshall Street between Northwest 13th Avenue and Northwest 14th Avenue.
The group was advised that they were being detained for investigation of crimes, they were not free to leave, and they should comply with officers' lawful orders. Failure to comply may result in arrest or force being used against them to include, but not limited to, crowd control agents, impact weapons, or tear gas. Legal observers, press, and anyone who was medically fragile or anyone who needs immediate medical attention were invited to leave the enclosed area if they wished. Those that were being detained were identified and photographed, as part of a criminal investigation, before being released. Some refused to comply and locked arms together in an effort to interfere with the investigation. Officers escorted them away and they were arrested. A suspect in the earlier window vandalism was arrested and charged.
Officers discovered numerous items left behind by people inside the perimeter, including a crowbar, hammers, bear spray, slugging weapon with rocks, high impact slingshot, and knives.
As the event unfolded, groups formed on the outside and physically challenged officers.
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Some threw rocks and full cans of beer at officers. Officers deployed some OC (pepper) spray and one impact munition. Arrests were made, including two suspects carrying firearms, wearing body armor and helmets.
Thirteen people were charged with crimes:
Juvenile male, 17, of Portland, referred to Juvenile Justice for Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
Katrina Walker, 26, of Portland, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Tara Walker, 34, unknown residence, booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center for Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Loaded Firearm in a Public Place, Resisting Arrest
Cody Connell, 35, unknown residence, booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center for Interfering with a Peace Officer, Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
Daniel Muller, 36, unknown residence, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Attempted Assaulting a Public Safety Officer
Ian McCarthy, 28, of Portland, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer, Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
Dillon Granthan, 28, unknown residence, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer
Sean Lopez, 26, unknown residence, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer
Saekwon Williams, 23, unknown residence, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
Ryan Skut, 34, of Milwaukie, Oregon, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
Alissa Azar, 29, unknown residence, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
Rachel Levelle, 24, of Portland, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer
Amber Raby, 22, of Portland, criminal citation in lieu of custody for Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
The investigation is continuing and additional charges are possible.
Oregon legislator herself was formerly “undocumented”
As the Oregon 2021 legislative session rolls on, and still with the public banned from accessing the state's Capitol building, laws are being made inside that building which will certainly affect all of the people of Oregon. One such bill which is currently making it's way through committee is HB 3265.
The bill seems to have a number of stipulations within it which would further protect any foreign nationals if they are taken into custody by local United States law enforcement. HB 3265, whose Chief Sponsor is Teresa Alonso Leon(D) Woodburn, seems to be extra accommodating to anyone not a United States citizen.
The following is a summarized list of what the bill is intended to do:
Requires that officer of law enforcement agency who arrests individual who is foreign national inform individual of consular notification procedures.
Prohibits law enforcement agency or public body from denying services, benefits, privileges or opportunities to certain individuals on basis of federal civil immigration actions, inquiring about individual's citizenship status without connection to criminal investigation or providing information about individual in custody to federal immigration authority.
Prohibits use of public resources to assist federal immigration enforcement.
Requires public body that receives communication or request for assistance from federal immigration authority to report request or communication to office of Governor.
Requires office of Governor to publish annual report of communications and requests received by public bodies.
Requires office of Governor to establish mechanism to receive reports of certain violations.
Prohibits public body, law enforcement agency or officer from entering into specified agreements related to federal immigration enforcement.
Allows any person to bring action to enjoin law enforcement agency or public body from providing certain information to federal immigration authority or using agency resources to enforce immigration laws.
Allows person injured by law enforcement agency's or public body's provision of information or use of agency resources to enforce immigration laws to bring civil action for damages.
Directs court to award reasonable attorney fees to prevailing plaintiff.
And, as the supermajority Democrat Oregon legislature often does with the attachment of the Emergency Clause, the law will be declared effective immediately upon it's passage.
After releasing her executive order requiring schools to at least partially reopen, the Governor touted her achievements in a press conference today.
In the press conference, she declined to commit to enforcing her order by saying she would be “flexible” with school districts that don’t meet the timeline.
Many school boards failed to reopen schools after the Governor kicked that responsibility to them in December. Now, she is letting them define what ‘reopening’ is. Some have indicated they will skip academic classes altogether and simply hold study halls or other elective courses.
“After keeping the vast majority of Oregon students locked out of their classrooms for a year, the Governor should hold off on crowning herself as the champion for Oregon students,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “Too many kids have lost an entire year of education. She should not fail them again by not enforcing her own order. Teachers are vaccinated and cases continue to decline. Students should return to the classroom.”
Jennifer Noonan, a mom of 4 and a social work student, has been fighting for nearly a year for schools to reopen. She represents families whose needs aren’t being met by current government school policy:
“The Governor’s hybrid loophole doesn’t work for working families like mine,” Noonan said. “As a mom and a student, I go to school and work on the weekends to lift my family out of poverty. I can't afford to continue to be a part-time teacher also.
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“This is a social justice issue. The Governor should mandate that all schools open for full, in person, 5-days-per-week instruction for families who need it. Science says we can do this safely.
It's what is best for our kids, low-income families like mine, and our communities of color.” Earlier this week, the Governor and Democrat lawmakers released a proposal for summer enrichment programs. A week before, Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), Vice-Chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced a similar plan.
“After losing a year of education, our students need options to get caught up,” Senator Thomsen said. “As lawmakers, we need to hold the Governor accountable and ensure she delivers on her promises to Oregon students.
“So far, she has been light on details. Much of this money will be going to brand new programs. Her administration has only months to implement them. Are teachers unions going to willingly staff these programs? Where does the money go if all of it is not spent?
“These are the questions Oregonians deserve answers to if the Governor expects them to believe her promises.”
Many years ago, voluntary private school registration was administered by the Oregon Dept. of Education so that student teaching could take place in registered private schools and teachers in private schools could maintain their licenses. That licensing rule was eliminated in 2009. Then Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction, Suzan Castillo, asked the Oregon legislature to repeal the voluntary private school registration laws to reduce workload and expenditures, and because it did not align with ODE goals. In 2011, the Oregon legislature repealed voluntary private school registration by adopting SB 26.
Currently, there is no law on the books requiring private schools to register with Oregon Department of Education. For Oregon’s Christian schools, that independence allows us to provide a faith-based curriculum in line with our families’ values and beliefs and free from state oversight. But that independence is at risk this session.
The Senate Committee on Education, under the chairmanship of Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) has introduced a bill, SB 223, that would require private schools to register with the state or risk their students’ ability to participate in interscholastic activities -- athletics, music, debate, etc. SB 223 uses students as leverage to force private schools, including Christian schools, to register and conform to State Board of Education criteria. According to some, it threatens religious freedom and parent choice and undermines the goal of private education. It also adds layers of bureaucracy and costs to the day-to-day management of private schools with little to no benefit to the families that are enrolled.
According to some, the underlying goal of SB 223 is to promote the safety and well-being of students. Fortunately, that’s the goal of private schools as well. In 2019, legislation was passed to ensure that students are safe, rendering this bill unnecessary. Following the global pandemic, our students should be given the opportunity to reengage with their peers, not prevented from participating in the extracurricular activities that they enjoy.
SB 223 is up for a public hearing in the Senate Committee On Education on March 17 at 3:15pm.