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Fireams Bills Combined
More drama is coming

SB 554 had a hearing today and is expected to be amended with the -A20 amendments which essentially combines the original version of SB 554 which allows local jurisdictions to create "gun free" zones, with regard to persons licensed to carry concealed in their public buildings and requires that they post this at all entrances to the building. It makes the Capitol and commercial airports gun free zones. The bill in it's current form is a compromise between the original bill, introduced by Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) and the gun storage bill introduced on the House side by Representatives Rachel Prusak (D-West Linn), Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro), Lisa Reynolds (D-Portland), and Dacia Grayber (D-Portland). Oh, and Senator Burdick, who never met a gun bill she didn't like. Since the bill was on the House side, the Speaker took the opportunity to water down the CHL restrictions and to leave the gun storage regulations intact.

It's in no way certain that this is the final form of the bill. It's no secret that Speaker Kotek is not liked on the Senate side, and quite often a bill will get minor changes in the second chamber, and go back for a concurrence vote, which is often just a formality. Upset Senators -- possibly including Senator Burdick -- may use the trip back to the Senate for concurrence to continue the conversation.

The bill passed out of the House Committee on Rules on a 4-3 party-line vote. It now goes to the floor of the House where it is expected to pass.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-24 16:05:10Last Update: 2021-04-24 16:21:14



Diesel Ban Being Considered in Oregon
Statewide ban by 2028

There is currently a proposal in the Oregon State Legislature sponsored by Oregon Democrat Karin Power (D-Portland) in HB 3305 which effectively would ban diesel fuel for automobiles entirely in the state of Oregon by the year 2028, and by 2024 in the Portland metro area.

The bill states that on or after the following dates, a non-retail dealer or retail dealer may not sell or offer for sale petroleum diesel to a consumer for use in a motor-vehicle: It is also stated in the bill that the State Department of Agriculture may adopt rules as necessary to implement the law.

Observers have noted a potential agenda to give other fuels a government aided chance on the market by manipulating the availability of clean diesel for highway automobile use, the product currently being readily available and used, particularly in rural communities.

Those reliant on the popular fuel may soon be forced to acquire additional vehicular assets to accommodate the sudden change in law.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-23 13:50:10Last Update: 2021-04-24 06:16:15



Oregon Has At Least 173 Wolves
More than 9 percent increase over last year

Oregon State wildlife biologists counted 173 wolves in Oregon this past winter, a 9.5 percent increase over last year’s count of 158 according to the latest Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2020 Annual Report.

This annual count is based on verified wolf evidence (like visual observations, tracks, and remote camera photographs) and is considered the minimum known wolf count, not an estimate of how many wolves are in Oregon.

The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals present in the state are located during the winter count.

A total of 22 packs were documented during the count.

Of those packs, 17 reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through the end of 2020, making them “breeding pairs.” Seven other groups of 2-3 wolves were also identified.

While no new packs formed in western Oregon, the total number of wolves in the region increased by 29 percent (from 17 to 22 wolves) over the 2019 count. Eight collared wolves dispersed from their packs with four dispersing to other locations in Oregon, two to Idaho, one to California, and one wolf left California and became resident in Oregon.

A total of 21 wolves were captured and radio-collared during 2020, up from 14 last year.

Nine wolf mortalities were documented during 2020, including two young wolves that died from natural causes (a Wenaha pup and Indigo yearling).

Seven wolf mortalities were human caused. One wolf was killed when hit by a vehicle on I-84, another was apparently killed when hit by a boat while swimming across the Snake River.

One was taken lawfully under the “caught in the act” rule which allows livestock producers to shoot a wolf found in the act of biting, wounding, killing or chasing livestock. (As of January 4, 2021 “caught in the act” is legal statewide but rules differ for East and West Zones which are in different phases of wolf management.)

Four wolves were killed illegally in 2020. Three deaths are still under investigation, and the Oregon State Police is actively seeking more information on those cases. The breeding male of the Ruckel Ridge Pack was shot in Umatilla County in May. The breeding male of the Cornucopia Pack was shot in September in Baker County. A subadult wolf, believed to be from the Pine Creek Pack, was shot in October in Baker County. Rewards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 have been offered for information leading to a conviction.

Finally, a livestock owner shot a wolf mistaken for a coyote. The owner was warned by Oregon State Police after self-reporting the incident to OSP.

ODFW did not lethally control any wolves in response to chronic depredation in 2020.

Confirmed depredation events increased 94 percent in 2020 from 2019. The majority of the depredation (52 percent) was attributed to the Rogue Pack, which depredated 16 times in 2020.

In the Rogue Pack area, ODFW and partners U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services worked extensively to try to limit depredation, including a coordinated nighttime patrol in Klamath County to haze wolves out of livestock pastures in the northern Wood River Valley where depredation was concentrated. Agency staff hazed all night on 99 nights between July 30-Nov. 25. This overnight agency presence leveraged real time information about wolf locations derived from howling, radio-telemetry, cattle disturbance, and visual observation through night-vision thermal imaging devices in an attempt to deter wolves. The hazing pushed the wolves back into the forest on some nights, but other nights they depredated.

“The personnel costs of this collaboration with USFWS, WS and the Department was significant during the four months,” said Roblyn Brown ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “We appreciate the work of our partners and all livestock producers.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-22 21:00:33Last Update: 2021-04-22 21:39:16



Woman Dies After Getting Covid Vaccine
The OHA and CDC are investigating

Oregon Health Authority has been informed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the death of an Oregon woman following immunization with Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Information about the death has been sent to the CDC through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, the national reporting system used to collect reports of adverse events after vaccination.

OHA was notified of the potential adverse event on April 20, two days after the CDC was notified on April 18.

The Oregon resident, a woman in her 50s, received a dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before the pause order on its use was issued.

Until the investigation is complete, it cannot be concluded whether her death is related to the vaccine.

She developed a serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination. Prior to the issuance of the pause, cases of this serious blood clot had been identified among six women around the country who received the vaccine.

Health care providers are required to report certain adverse events after COVID-19 vaccines, in accordance with the Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 vaccines. These include serious adverse events, such as death, any life-threatening event and inpatient hospitalization.

More than 87,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine having been administered at locations throughout Oregon.

The case in Oregon will add to the evidence of potential risk associated with Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will review the data accumulated to date and weigh the risks and benefits of the vaccine. These considerations will inform the ACIP’s recommendations regarding use of the vaccine going forward.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-22 16:46:04Last Update: 2021-04-22 18:37:41



People, Not Politicians Files Redistricting Measure
The new initiative petition is similar to IP 57, which failed to make the ballot

People Not Politicians filed Initiative Petition 16 for the November 2022 General Election ballot to reform Oregon’s redistricting process through the creation of an independent citizens’ redistricting commission. If the effort is successful in gathering 149,360 signatures, it will appear on the 2022 ballot, and will toss out whatever the legislative process produces in favor of new maps drawn by the commission.

“An overwhelming majority of Oregonians support the creation of an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw Oregon’s state and congressional maps and put people, not politicians, in charge of this process,” said Norman Turrill, chair of People Not Politicians and Chief Petitioner of the new initiative petition. “If the legislature fails to act this session, we are prepared with an initiative petition to bring forth the fair and transparent reform Oregonians want for our state.”

At its simplest, IP 16 would introduce mid-decade redistricting reform to change the way Oregon’s voting districts are drawn by creating an independent citizen’s redistricting commission comprised of Oregon voters, rather than politicians. The commission process would begin immediately following the 2022 general election for a complete redistricting of the state legislative and congressional districts in time for elections in 2024.

The new initiative petition is similar to IP 57 filed by People Not Politicians for the November 2020 ballot. That effort was nearly successful after a federal judge last year found the coalition exercised “reasonable diligence” in attempting to qualify for the ballot with over 64,000 signatures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the district court decision. This court case is continuing in the federal district court.

In 2001, with the legislature under Republican control, a walkout was staged by Democrats to prevent a legislative redistricting plan and the task fell to Democrat Secretary of State Bill Bradbury to essentially produce the maps that we have today.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-22 11:53:34Last Update: 2021-04-22 10:37:01



Capitol Harassment Victim Speaks
Observers have noted the disparity in treatment

In a letter to Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) State Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) has asked that Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) be suspended from all committees he sits on with her. She has identified herself as the victim in this case.

"During the Conduct Committee’s hearing on Friday, the independent investigator recommended Representative Witt be removed as Chair from the House Ag and Natural Resource Committee and that a no contact order be issued. I felt betrayed when arguments were made to oppose the recommendation to remove Representative Witt as Chair. In thinking of the interactions that would be required of us, I knew the restrictions would not be enough to ensure my safety from his inappropriate advances. I am thankful for the action that was announced today to correct that decision and appoint a new Chair for the time being."

During the preliminary hearing on the case in the House Committee on Conduct, State Representative Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland) said that she saw the removal of Representative Witt from his Chair seemed punitive, "Were we not in pandemic mode and not online, I might think differently of it, but we are. We are online for all these meetings. I can appreciate that removing someone from their Chairship does feel a little bit punitive." Representative Witt was the Chair of the House Committee On Agriculture and Natural Resources, but he has lately been removed by the Speaker. He still sits on the committee.

Representative Breese-Iverson sees it differently. In her letter, she says,

"It will be impossible to enforce a no contact order while we serve on the same committees. Representative Tawna Sanchez argued during the hearing that because committees are virtual, it should not be a problem for a victim to interact with their harasser. I strongly disagree. A hostile work environment is made worse in a virtual world. To fully comply with the “no contact” order of the Conduct Committee, you must immediately temporarily remove him from all committees that we serve on together."

The work done by the House Committee On Agriculture and Natural Resources is critical to the advancement of the Democrat agenda, and Representative Witt's situation presents a challenge for the advancement of legislation, especially in light of the House closure

Observers have noted the disparity in treatment between the Witt case and the cases of Representatives Hernandez and Nearman who are seen as adversaries to the Speaker.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-22 10:25:39Last Update: 2021-04-20 13:55:50



If You Tax It, They Will Build
“Ah, the usual stench of discriminatory inclusion of wealth spreading to societal have-nots”

After a hearing held a month ago, a work session is now scheduled on Representative Rob Nosse’s bill, HB 2972. It calls for a study on how property values influence and constrains tax assessments that are creating shortfalls. As with most studies, a solution is on the table for a two-rate taxation system that shifts taxation towards land and taxes structures separately. The buzz word for this session comes into play -- a more equitable taxation, economic justice, affordable housing and ecological sustainability that skirts around the constitution and Measure 5 and 50 -- property tax regulations passed in the 90s.

The theory is that vacant lots remain vacant because of their low property tax and if land were taxed separately, the land tax could be increased to encourage development. Whether taxed separately or together, when adding a structure, the tax will increase. Maybe not as much under the two-tax rate system because it’s already high, but they will both end at the same amount unless the intent is to increase property land taxes more than the reduction on structures, which appears to be the intent.

Modeled after the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in China, land value increments created by regulatory changes, population growth and economic development should belong to the public. Since China’s higher levels of government provide minimal resources, land leasing fees became the main source of local and urbanization revenue. The principle as described for the proposed two-rate taxation system goes to what is in the public interest should be taxed less and what is not desirable should be taxed more.

It is understandable that government looks for stability and want to prevent a roller-coaster economy. Landowners also experience the same economic impact. Economic instability due to poor policy management can't be fixed by aggressive property taxation.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The actual reason for the introduction HB 2972 is found in the bill:

(2) “(c) An examination of comparative economic incentive effects on classes of land use in selected local urban and rural jurisdictions. (d) An examination of comparative economic incentive effects on property in selected jurisdictions currently utilizing rural enterprise zone tax incentives. (e) An evaluation of tax burden relief measures that might accompany land value taxation, including a homestead exemption and property tax deferral for homeowners who are financially overburdened."

One testimony creatively described it like this: “Ah, the usual stench of discriminatory inclusion of wealth spreading to societal "have-nots," has wafted once again, into the nostrils of those who have, justly and honorably accumulated wealth by; working hard, saving and investing money, providing services and or inventions to advance civilization, must now experience; forcible confiscation of their wealth, justly and honorably accumulated, to be shared with the huddled masses; for whatever reason, have yet to become prosperous on their own volition and or initiative.”

Since the passage of voter approved Measures 5 and 50, the Oregon property tax system has been massaged and manipulated by law makers until it has eroded local control and undermined the ability of cities to maintain a healthy mix of revenues. Will a progressive two-rate tax system benefit counties or the state?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-04-22 07:50:37Last Update: 2021-04-22 07:51:41



More Info Revealed on YamCo Trail
Staff and commissioners pressed on, despite losses

Rogue Commissioners and Yamhill County Staff spent many years and millions of dollars attempting to build a bike path on an abandoned rail line.

The latest in the saga of the illegal Yamhelas-Westsider Trail involves the public disclosure of 37 emails between various County staff, Commissioner Casey Kulla, Oregon Department of Transportation officials, watchdog Oregon Department of Justice officials, several leaders of Friends of the Yamhelas-Westsider Trail, plus former Commissioners Primozich and Olson. The public records requested emails hit the inbox of Yamhill County Commissioners late Wednesday, April 21st. The emails are all very damning, if not incriminating.

To review, the project was declared illegal with four remands by the Land Use Board of Appeals. Later, LUBA issued a Stay of Construction and finally awarded attorney’s fees to the plaintiff costing the culpable County over $47,000. The Department of Justice issued a warning against improper actions, but they were ignored. County Counsel Todd Sadlo, loser every time he paraded before LUBA, took on the role of dragging out the process while others plotted various end runs. Commissioner Kulla played the role of propaganda minister making up stories for hundreds of cycling enthusiasts, KOIN television reporter Hannah Lambert, the local paper, County staff, ODOT and the Chehalem Parks and Recreation Department. He was aided in fabricating stories by grants coordinator Carrie Martin. Ms. Martin put a happy face on failures to perform so that grantor ODOT would relax their demands and indulge County incompetence. She reworked the numbers when necessary to derail actions detrimental to the conspirators cause.

ODOT, for their part was very lenient, only becoming more insistent after millions had been spent outside the scope of the grants. The County Administrator, Ken Huffer, acted as cheerleader encouraging his staff’s endeavors. Citizen action was most enthusiastic from Phil Higgins, Wayne Weibke and Steve Wick all backed by the ever-present wallet of Ken Wright. Realizing they were likely doomed, Commissioner Kulla plotted a desperate attempt to acquire the cycling Trailhead property.

That involved an attack on the family business of Steve Belt, a long-time respected businessman in the area. Action by Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer put a necessary pause to those shenanigans. But the staff followed Kulla’s lead unquestioningly, revealing the fatal weakness that exists in staff leadership. Emails between staff members show they truly believe their talking points and rationalize the legal ruling against them as, well, as illegal.

An investigation of staff by disaffected parties outside of Yamhill County government is needed.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-04-21 18:23:15Last Update: 2021-04-22 10:07:33



Prison Inmates Play Lawyer
Oregon State Bar refuses to investigate -- or protect the public

In March 2020, two complaints were filed with the Oregon State Bar’s Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee alleging outrageous criminal conduct by a pair of inmates in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. The two unrelated complaints alleged that the inmates were performing legal work, without a license, and in violation of Oregon law, punishable by fine or imprisonment under ORS 9.990.

Each of the two complaints was submitted by a government official with direct knowledge of the situation. The disturbing details of the complaints—and the credibility of the officials who filed them -- did not stop the Oregon State Bar from refusing to do even a basic investigation, and summarily dismissing the complaints.

The first complaint was against inmate Robert Jerome Byers, a violent rapist who injected his victim with methamphetamine and who will die in jail before his release date in 2083. The complaint alleges that Byers assisted other inmates “with their [legal] filings, specifically small claims, for a fee.” This is the kind of standard jailhouse lawyering that commonly happens in every prison.

But alarmingly, Byers had graduated by last March to far more predatory behavior: According to the complaint, Byer sought “to establish himself as the legal guardian of other inmates” by claiming that he had witnessed “abuse of individuals” that Byers had himself decided were “vulnerable or disabled.” These guardianships seem to have been designed by Byers to gain control over his fellow inmates’ prison funds.

The complaint against Byers was submitted by Morrow and Umatilla County Circuit Court Trial Court Administrator Roy Blaine, who brought it to the Bar’s attention after receiving a handwritten letter from Byers requesting copies of court forms for guardianships and “restraining orders” to be imposed upon “vulnerable or disabled” people. “I felt, based on paperwork received in several cases, that all were prepared by Mr. Byers’” Mr. Blaine told me. “[The Bar] did not feel it warranted further action.”

But most would agree with Mr. Blaine: that a violent rapist like Robert Jerome Byers, convicted for drugging his victim into submission, should not be permitted to do legal work for fellow inmates, particularly by becoming the legal guardian of vulnerable people and gaining access to their prison funds.

The Oregon State Bar, however, disagreed. Their summary dismissal of Mr. Blaine’s complaint, without conducting any investigation whatsoever, was memorialized by letter from the Bar’s Deputy General Counsel, Nik Chourey, thanking Mr. Blaine for his “interest in Oregon consumer protection.”

The second of the two egregious Unlicensed Practice of Law complaints the Bar ignored was against Joshua Vincent Walsh, a convicted burglar eligible for release from the Oregon State Penitentiary as early as March, 2022. The complaint, filed by Oregon Department of Justice Investigator Debra Seeck, alleges that Walsh may have accepted payment from other inmates for his help in filing up to 31 copies of his own lawsuit—one for which he received $27,000 in state settlement funds.

Ms. Seeck stated, that as of March 2020, two of the 31 clones of Walsh’s lawsuit that had been filed in the courts—under the names of inmates Chris Hoffman and Blake Humphers—had already settled. “The vast majority” of the other suits, Ms. Seeck said, were awaiting summary judgment or trial in the circuit courts.

Ms. Seeck told the Bar that she had “listened to Walsh’s recorded phone calls,” including a conversation between Walsh and his father about the Hoffman and Humphers suits, in which Walsh described the compensation he expected from his fellow inmates for his unlawful legal work. Walsh stated:

“Chris [Hoffman] got out about eight months ago and I gave him $500. He settled out, two of my friends, one got $18,000 and then Christopher, my one friend, we don't know what he got. He won't answer his phone. And so, he's not going to have the money until a couple weeks from now, probably about a week. Here's the thing. I have this number for him. You know how it would be for getting a large sum of money. He might not get around to giving me my cut. Would you give him a call and ask him if he is okay and why he's not answering his phone? He's supposed to pay back that $500 and then I'm supposed to get a third and it will be anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000.”

Ms. Seeck also alerted the Bar that Walsh’s trust account was being monitored for “any large sums of money transferred” to him, and that officials were “taking other actions to thwart further ‘counseling’ by Walsh.” Acting officially as a DOJ Investigator, Ms. Seeck explicitly stated, “We are asking for help from the Oregon Bar to investigate the actions of Joshua Walsh for his Unlawful Practice of Law.”

The Oregon State Bar’s Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee is a committee of twenty lawyers and judges whose sole duty is to investigate such reports of individuals, like Walsh, illegally acting as attorneys in Oregon. The Bar is required under ORS 9.164 to “investigate any alleged violation” of those laws.

Most would agree with Ms. Seeck that a convicted felon operating an illegal scheme to file multiple copies of a lawsuit under the names of other inmates should not be permitted to continue doing so. After the Bar refused to investigate, and summarily dismissed the complaint against Walsh, the Bar’s attorney Nik Chourey also thanked Ms. Seeck for her “interest in Oregon consumer protection.” Only time will tell how much this blizzard of copied-and-pasted lawsuits may end up costing the State of Oregon, but generally, basic math suggests that 31 lawsuits x $27,000 settlements = $837,000.

Basic logic tells us that the Oregon State Bar is beyond negligent in failing to perform what Oregon law defines as is its most basic function: that of a state regulatory agency obligated by law to protect the public—including those who are incarcerated—from the harm inflicted by illegal and unlicensed practice of law, and the financial fraud and victimization that it enables.

A search of the e-court registry shows that to date, no injunctive or criminal proceedings have been brought against Robert Byers or Joshua Walsh for the conduct reported by officials from the Oregon Judicial Department and the Department of Justice. If the Oregon State Bar is derelict enough to ignore such shocking complaints by such credible sources, then the Oregon State Bar cannot be trusted to protect you and me—and should not be in the business of regulation.

And there is absolutely no need to thank them for their lack of interest in Oregon consumer protection.




--Stephanie Volin

Post Date: 2021-04-21 17:37:56Last Update: 2021-04-21 18:23:15



Gun Battles in the Legislature
The temperature is hot among the grassroots

In case you haven't been paying attention, let's bring you up to speed. So far, SB 554 is to be combined with HB 2510 to create one bill that would restrict Concealed Handgun License holders from carrying in public buildings, including the Capitol and commercial airports as well as mandate some safe storage policies. Both bills survived mostly intact -- with a few fixes and changes around the edges. One of the major changes is that there are no longer any felonies defined in the bill, which is good, but hardly and adequate consolation prize to people who are passionate about their gun rights.

When SB 554 passed the Senate, the Republican caucus was split over whether to walk out on the bill and deny a quorum. Six of the 12 caucus members walked out, that wasn't enough to deny quorum, so the bill passed, though it was valiantly fought on the floor. All Republicans in attendance voted against the bill.

Firearms advocates -- feeling betrayed -- launched a recall campaign against Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). Analysts see an uphill battle, for several reasons. COVID-19 restrictions make signature gathering tough. And Girod is fairly popular in his district. Other recent recalls have failed to even get on the ballot. Even if it gets on the ballot, the voters of his district have to decide that his "no" vote and vigorous objection on the floor wasn't enough.

The bill then moved over to the House where it sat on the desk of House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) for a week, which is unusual. Insiders surmise that she was working on the combination and securing Senate support for the firearm storage restrictions contained in HB 2510. It's now being heard in the House Committee on Rules, where the combined bill is expected to emerge.

It's an understatement to say that the temperature is hot among the grassroots. Understandably, they see walkouts as effective and the political price paid for doing so is slim or non-existent. When SB 554 was heard in committee in the end of February, the end of the session in late June seemed far off and a prolonged walkout seemed difficult. As the end of the session gets closer, these options get easier.

Legislators who are being asked to walk out -- and being chided for not doing so -- have pushed back noting that while it's useful and appropriate to fight legislation during the session, if one party has control, leverage and options are limited. They've called for Second Amendment activists to engage more in elections. Even a few seats could make a difference on this kind of legislation. The combined bill is not helpful. CHL holders protect themselves and others when police are unavailable. Opponents of these concepts correctly point out that these policies will create an opportunity to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens, though in the amended bill it will no longer make them felons. Not to minimize this, but these concepts are about making it less convenient to carry. They don't take away your right to bear arms -- well, mostly.

Ironically, as Second Amendment activists celebrated the six Senators who "walked out" on the day that SB 554 had a vote on the Senate floor, that "walkout" was symbolic and everyone was back the next day with the bill passed and on to the House.

For further irony, in the 2017 session, SB 719, was introduced by Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas). On the heels of the tragic suicide of his step-son, he authored a bill to allow, what many claim is a law without sufficient due-process protections, allowing a police officer or someone close to the person -- a jilted ex-girlfriend comes to mind -- to present a case to a judge, in which the subject is not invited to defend themselves, and upon a favorable ruling, requires the police to seize all firearms from the subject. And just like that, your ex-girlfriend or ex-wife has cancelled hunting season for you.

The compound irony is that Senator Boquist is now one of the celebrated Senators who staged a symbolic one-day walkout, while SB 554 passed.

The level of seriousness between SB 554 combined with HB 2510 and SB 719 is huge. Losing hunting season because your ex-girlfriend complains to a judge is bad enough. When they decide that you should no longer have guns, all it takes is one corrupt police officer and one corrupt judge in possession of the Oregon Firearms Federation mailing list, and you have a legal gun seizure program.

If Senator Girod is worthy of a recall, after voting no on SB 554 and fighting it on the floor, why does Senator Boquist get a pass on SB 719?

Senator Boquist was re-elected in November for another four-year term against tepid opposition. Maybe voters have short memories. Maybe Senator Girod is hoping for the same. The lesson: If Second Amendment activists want better policy, they need to play harder in elections.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-21 17:30:24Last Update: 2021-04-21 17:37:56



DMV Fails to Gain Ground
Secretary of State Audits Division doesn’t have it on the radar

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles is still closed to walk-up customers, despite nearly every transaction-type system in Oregon being allowed to function with safety measures in place.

The Secretary of State's Audit Division is responsible for performing audits of State Agencies, including ODOT and the DMV, but we just elected Shemia Fagan to that office on the backs of massive financial support from public employee unions and a pledge not to do "gotcha" audits on State Agencies, which to me means that she isn't going to put pressure on them to perform. So, maybe it is a little bit of a left/right issue.

The Secretary of State's Audit Plan doesn't list the DMV as an entity that will be looked at.

According to one Capitol insider who declined to be identified, "We just spent $90 million dollars on a software system for the DMV so they could perform better. One way or another, they need to do better."

According to their website,

DMV office visits are by appointment only.

The DMV has not released a public plan to return to normal services


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-21 13:55:50Last Update: 2021-04-21 10:05:15



Democrats Drop Education Standards
Flee from accountability at all costs

As if it weren't bad enough that the Oregon Department of Education was denied a waiver for testing by the Biden administration, At a loss for how to actually improve education in Oregon, Democrats have finally resolved to do something concrete: Burn down the entire system. Today Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to scrap graduation requirements for the next two school years and order a study to give them cover to do away with them permanently.

Empirical data has shown that school closures have done significant damage to student’s learning. Evidence from Vermont, a state with one of the highest graduation rates in the country, shows that proficiency-based education promotes equity and the learning of valuable skills for students.

SB 744 would cover up the damage of school closures and hurt kid’s future potential. One suspects that the Democrat’s position is that if they hold our students to no standard, that a diploma will mean more and our students will be better served.

“Democrats figure that the best way to cover up their responsibility for decades of public education system failures is to trash all traditional standards of learning,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “This bill tries to pull a fast one on Oregonians by allowing Democrats to claim victory for improving our education system. The reality is that this bill will artificially inflate graduation rates at the cost to our students’ futures.”

In order to avoid blowback, no Democrat was willing to put their name as a sponsor of the bill, though it was introduced by the Senate Committee on Education, which is chaired by Michael Dembrow. SB 744 would do away with all essential learning skill requirements and ban the State Board of Education from requiring students to show any competency in any academic content area.

“Republicans are the party of educational opportunity,” Girod continued. “Rather than scrap standards for learning, Republicans have introduced several measures to allow students to choose the education that best fits their learning needs. Democrats would prefer to trap our kids in a failing system that doesn’t demand anything from them than do the hard work to reform education and set our kids up for future success.”

A recent analysis by Policy Analysis for California Education found that second graders were 26% behind where they would have been absent school closures in their ability to read aloud. Third graders were 33% behind. Another study shows that kids are lagging in reading and writing.

Recent polling shows that 71% of voters nationwide back school choice. 65% support getting a portion of their tax dollars back to help families afford other options if public schools don’t reopen for full-time in-person instruction. A recent report from the University of Arkansas established that the more school choice, the better students do academically.

SB 744 passed over bipartisan opposition and now heads to the House for further consideration.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-21 13:24:48Last Update: 2021-04-21 13:34:37



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