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Smart Health Cards Planned
Digitizing vaccine passports in Oregon

The House Interim Special Committee on COVID-19 meeting November 17 exposed how serious Oregon is being affected, not from COVID, but from state policies. Oregon Education Association spent their time identifying the lack of funds to fill vacated positions and the amount of training it takes to replace staff and bus drivers. Director Patrick Allen, Oregon Health Authority said Oregon ranks the fourth lowest in cases and sixth lowest in deaths in the nation. When asked why we still need to wear masks, Allen responded that it’s cautionary not to think the pandemic is over too soon.

The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division (OHA) and the American Immunization Registry Association reported on the development of the Digital Vaccine Records Project where individuals use an Immunization Information System (IIS) to consolidate their vaccine data in one place on a Smart Health card. The card has a unique QR code and can be accessed on a smart phone with permission. What is the need for a centralized data base? Allen said 81.5% adults have been vaccinated, and 40% of those over 60 have had a booster, but that is where we see the breakthrough cases. Was he saying those with the booster are more likely to get the Delta variant?

OHA is in Phase II involving demonstrations, community testing and feedback. The project timeline includes updating rules to address the definition of proof of vaccination. CDC changed the definition in September from a vaccine that stimulates the immune system to produce immunity against a specific disease. Now they’re saying a vaccine doesn’t produce immunity but will “produce protection.”

The Project aims to develop the website and database in December and then do testing in January and start media messaging to get communities and business engaged for the rollout in Phase III in March.

Immunization Information System is an open-source way for sharing vaccination records. Security and privacy are major issues. What is the benefit of a centralized open-source data base? The individual member has control of whether to share with family, employer, dentists, for travel, and other situations. However, the state also has control allowing access to accumulate nonspecific data, but what will stop them from accessing individual records to target unvaccinated individuals?

Oregon is in the planning stage where twenty other states or jurisdiction have implemented a Smart Health Card. What’s next? According to Allen, it’s behavior forecasting. Analyzing the effect of fear and isolation vs people going back to normal socializing that may boost a new breakout.

On the initial announcement, 40,000 kids received the vaccine ages 5-11. For ages 12-17, 65% are vaccinated. Colt Gill, Director, Oregon Department of Education, reported three systems for screening in schools: ODE is not seeing a spread during the school day, it’s after school activities and large gatherings. They are working on a “test-to-stay” model to reduce quarantine time that students miss school. Vaccinated students won’t need to quarantine when exposed. They are also hiring nurses to do contact tracing.

OAR 333-003-5000, scheduled to expire November 22, 2021, upon renewal changes COVID-19 vaccines for ages 15-17 without parental consent. From Smart Health Cards to forecasting to test-to-stay in school, the pandemic is being prolonged at the expense of logic.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-19 12:30:57Last Update: 2021-11-20 11:41:55



Oregon’s Congressional Delegation Splits on Build Back Better
Democrats vote for the massive spending measure

After a record-long nine-hour speech by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, President Joe Biden's Build Back Better legislation passed the US House of Representatives 220-213, with the votes of all Democratic members of Oregon's Congressional delegation. Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader all voted yes, while Oregon's lone Republican, Cliff Bentz voted against the bill.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer, candidate for Oregon's 5th Congressional District called the measure a "socialist spending package" and called out her opponent, six-term incumbent, Democrat Kurt Schrader.

“In the midst of record inflation and an ongoing supply chain crisis, Kurt Schrader voted for a Socialist boondoggle that will cripple our economy. Congressman Schrader constantly describes himself as a ‘Moderate’, but his voting record proves otherwise, and today is no different.

“Schrader incentivized the rich elite in New York and California while working families here in Oregon pay the price. Oregon’s 5th Congressional district deserves a consistent voice for sanity in Washington D.C and not someone who will cave to the pressure of Nancy Pelosi.”

The $1.9 trillion bill now goes to the US Senate for a possible vote where its fate is less certain.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-19 08:05:25Last Update: 2021-11-19 09:23:24



Pandemic Proves Lucrative For State
While Oregonians struggle with inflation, Republicans offer relief

Every single revenue forecast since the pandemic began has exceeded expectations. The current revenue forecast is more of the same, but now state government coffers are being padded by inflation. The revenue forecast acknowledges that inflation is increasing the cost of living for Oregonians.

“Inflation is devastating for working families, but pads the pockets of government,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Blowout spending from federal government borrowing has given us more money than we know what to do with at the same time most working people have gotten effective pay cuts because everything is more expensive. Yet, Democrats’ vision continues to be tax, borrow, and spend. It’s time to give working Oregonians some relief in their family budget.”

The Legislative Revenue Office projected a personal kicker of $558.3 million for 2023 in their summary of the Revenue Forecast based in part on these observations: Oregon Democrats have consistently rejected tax relief measures that would have put more money in the pockets of working Oregonians. This year, they voted to tax stimulus checks and basic necessities, denied relief to those struggling with student loans, and denied property tax relief for veterans.

“The state continues to get bigger budgets, but working families are struggling to make ends meet because of inflation,” said Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale), member of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. “Oregon Democrats have refused every opportunity to give working families a break. I will be reintroducing legislation to cut taxes for everyday necessities on working families. Prescription drugs, diapers, and feminine hygiene products should not be taxed.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-18 10:44:02Last Update: 2021-11-18 10:04:19



Brown Appointments to Parole Board Opposed
Senate Republicans Vote Against Governor’s Parole Board Nominees

Oregon's Senate Republicans, along with one Democrat, Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), have voted against the Governor’s nominees to the Parole Board. In a floor vote, both John Bailey and James Taylor had their re-appointment to the Oregon Board of Probation and Post Prison Supervision. Both were confirmed by a vote of 16-9 with four Senators excused.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) questioned the Governor's new policies.

“Given the Governor’s new commutation plan, the Legislature must apply new scrutiny to these nominees. They will be making decisions about which violent criminals will be allowed to be released from prison. When questioned in committee, I did not believe they were sufficiently committed to protecting victims and their families.”

Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons), a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Appointments, said:

“I do not believe rapists and murders should be let out of prison, especially by a handful of unelected bureaucrats like the Parole Board. The idea that people under 18 cannot comprehend that rape and murder are wrong, is extreme. It is also insulting to victims and their families. The Governor’s directive to consider these crimes as eligible for early release disrespects our system of justice and the safety of all Oregonians.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-17 20:22:15Last Update: 2021-11-17 20:51:35



Multnomah County Hiring Four New Prosecutors
Gun violence is the problem with Portland, says DA Schmidt

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has announced that he has hired four new prosecutors to add capacity to investigating and resolving cases involving a firearm — particularly homicides.

The new hires come just weeks after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office (MCDA) received temporary funding from the County for this explicit purpose following a joint announcement with county leaders. The $1 million investment adds 4 prosecutors and 2 investigators to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. The search for the added investigator positions is still underway.

The volume of homicides this year has quickly outweighed the resources that the DA office has to handle resolving them.

“The families and loved ones of those we’ve lost over the last three years simply cannot wait for progress any longer. "DA Mike Schmidt said. "Our office, in partnership with the County, has met this need with urgency. Help is on the way.”

In addition to added prosecutorial and investigative capacity, DA Schmidt and the County have emphasized an all-hands-on-deck approach, declaring the surge in community violence as a public health crisis.

Recently, DA Mike Schmidt has declared that he will avoid prosecuting many far-left AntiFa rioters, so the anouncement of these hirings seems like putting the cart before the horse to some observers.

The County has added two new deputies to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office focusing on family protection orders and dispossession of firearms and ammunition when court-ordered.

“I’ve been to seven call-outs this year. Our escalating caseloads are also compounded by court backlogs due to the pandemic. New prosecutors mean more time can be devoted to individual cases and means more people who can be called upon to help when a life is lost,” said MCDA prosecutor Kate Molina.

All four new prosecutors will start full-time by early December.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-16 16:40:51Last Update: 2021-11-16 17:10:00



Oregon Job Growth Projected
Assuming COVID restrictions come to an end

Oregon's total employment is projected to grow by 317,600 jobs between 2020 and 2030, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department.

The projections point to historically high job growth between 2020 and 2030 and accounts for recovery from low employment levels in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the associated recession.

The Employment Department states that many of these job openings are expected due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations.

In 2020, there were 1,998,400 jobs in Oregon. The projected 16% increase in employment between 2020 and 2030 includes private-sector gains of 283,500 jobs, growth of 25,700 jobs in government, and an additional 8,300 self-employed Oregonians.

Beyond gains associated with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown recession and anticipated economic growth, another 2,197,200 job openings will be created by 2030 to replace workers who retire, leave the labor force for other reasons, or make a major occupational change. Together, the number of job openings due to economic recovery, job growth, and replacements will total 2,514,800.

All sectors in Oregon are expected to add jobs by 2030. Leisure and hospitality is projected to increase the fastest and add the largest number of jobs. The projected gain of 73,800 jobs (46% growth) in leisure and hospitality is mainly driven by the recovery from the COVID lockdowns, as restaurants, hotels, and arts, cultural, and recreational establishments are expected to see increased demand as in-person and recreational activities resume.

Because of the loss of jobs in leisure and hospitality in 2020, many of the fastest-growing occupations are associated with jobs in this industry. In fact, 10 of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations are in leisure and hospitality. They include cooks, chefs, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, fast food workers, exercise trainers and fitness instructors, and amusement and recreation attendants.

The private health care and social assistance sector is projected to add the second-largest number of jobs, with 51,000 jobs (19% growth) over the 10-year period. This growth is attributed to the aging of the state's population, longer life expectancies, and continued population growth. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and massage therapists are among the fastest-growing occupations statewide.

A broad variety of career opportunities will be available across all sectors, as well as all job types. One-third of all job openings will require education or training beyond high school at the typical entry-level education. To meet more competitive education requirements, more than half of job openings require at least some training beyond high school.

Occupations with the most job openings, typically requiring a high school diploma or less, include fast food workers, retail salespersons, cashiers, stockers, and order fillers. Those requiring a postsecondary certification or associate's degree include truck drivers, bookkeepers, and medical and nursing assistants. Occupations with the most total openings requiring at least a bachelor's degree vary from general and operations managers to registered nurses, software developers, and accountants.

All areas of Oregon expect to see job opportunities due to both economic recovery and growth, and to replace workers leaving the labor force in the coming years. The two regions projected to grow at the fastest rates are Central Oregon (18%) and the Portland area (17%). Northwest Oregon is projected to grow at the same rate as Oregon statewide – 16%. All other areas are projected to have slower growth.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-16 13:16:27Last Update: 2021-11-17 20:22:15



Sudafed Rules Out Soon
Just in time for cold season

A little known fact to most: A bill does not necessarily become effective as it’s written. The state agency tasked with the rulemaking for a bill, actually writes how the bill will be implemented.

In this case the agency is the Board of Pharmacy. November 23rd is the date that the Board meets to finalize the language for this new statute. It is online, so one can attend virtually.

Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) has given an update on the bill.

"As you most likely know by now, since I was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2015, one of my passions has been to remove the prescription requirement to purchase pseudoephedrine (pse or sudafed type products)", said Representative Post, "Behind the counter with a photo ID as is the case in over 40 states in the US. As you may also know, finally in 2021, we were able to pass HB 2648 and the behind the counter sales starting January 1, 2022. BUT as always, nothing is easy in Oregon."

As you can see from the summary on the front page of the bill, the purchase involves gathering information to make sure that the buyer isn’t “over purchasing” pse products.

“Requires pharmacist or pharmacy technician, prior to transfer, to submit specified information into electronic system designed to prevent illegal transfer of drugs containing pseudoephedrine. Requires pharmacist or pharmacy technician to record specified information about transfer of drug containing pseudoephedrine. Specifies maximum amount of pseudoephedrine that person may receive without prescription.”

The idea is that the pharmacist or tech would “swipe” your driver’s license or other appropriate photo ID and get your name and address to make sure that you are not purchasing more pse than allowed by law. This was to discourage “smurfing” where meth manufacturers send people out to buy sudafed products to make meth.

"We addressed this in testimony before the committees in both the House and Senate and in debate on the House floor." Representative Post continued, "We made it clear that Oregon would be joining at least 40 other states in the nPLEX electronic tracking system."

You can read the testimony from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which is the company that operates nPLEX here.

"We made it very clear in testimony that we would be joining the nPLEX system." Post continued, "I begged the drafter of the language to include that, as Mississippi did in their bill that passed earlier this year, but was told that Oregon law prohibits using “brand names” in a bill. Sigh. As you can see, it’s a very simple system to implement. It’s quite efficient, I’ve used it myself in many other states. Here was my testimony in the House Health Care Committee. The problem is that we did not apparently look at ALL of the laws in Oregon. You see, when the Legislature passes 500-800 new laws every other year, there are a lot of laws to watch out for. It was brought to my attention by a representative of a large chain pharmacy that we cannot “swipe” the ID’s in Oregon because of ORS 807.750 Now I believe that the original drafter of the bill, the Legislative Counsel writer, should have caught this. Still, I am the chief sponsor of the bill and I should have done a deeper dive into the laws. So what does this mean for Sudafed on January 1st?"

The law will go into effect and you will be able to purchase without a prescription but, the larger chain pharmacies may not want to allow this if it means entering the information manually which can take up to 3 minutes. With the shortage of pharmacists and techs, this seems to present a problem. A “new exemption in ORS 807.750 must be added that allows swiping drivers licenses / ID cards and the sharing of that data (with NPLEX) within the guidelines established in HB 2648” as a bill to amend that statute.

Since Representative Post only has until the end of November left as State Representative and won’t be in office when the short session of 2022 takes place, he is having a draft written that he hopes his successor or another legislator will drop as a bill in 2022 and make it retroactive to January 1.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-15 18:25:20Last Update: 2021-11-15 18:51:07



Facing a Labor Shortage, Governor Calls for More Rental Assistance
Why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance?

Despite very low unemployment, Governor Kate Brown has "engaged in conversations with legislative leaders and housing advocates to find a path forward for a legislative solution that involves updates to current tenant protections in state law, including the extension of current safe harbor protections for Oregonians who have applied for rental assistance, as well as using state resources to continue assistance at the state and local levels."

Her actions beg the question, why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance? According to the Oregon Employment Department, "Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% in September from 5.0%, as revised, in August." That was even better than the national rate where the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.8% in September from 5.2% in August. Additionally, the Employment Department is projecting job increases through the year 2030.

Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced that nearly all federal rental assistance funding in Oregon has been allocated to or requested by applicants, and that the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will pause accepting new applications starting on Wednesday, December 1.

According to Governor Brown, “Since March 2020, Oregon has distributed historic amounts of rental assistance to meet the unprecedented need created by the pandemic. Every Oregonian deserves a warm, safe, dry place to call home––and during a public health crisis it has been critical to ensure that Oregonians stay housed. That is why I have worked closely with the Oregon Legislature since the beginning of this pandemic to provide a range of resources to support both renters and their landlords.

“Because of the work of Oregon Housing and Community Services and community-based partners, Oregon is currently ranked 7th in the nation for the distribution of rental assistance and has remained in the top ten nationally for more than a month. However, thousands of Oregon households remain at risk of eviction and need assistance as quickly as possible. Disproportionately, due to systemic disparities in Oregon housing, this burden has fallen to Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and people of color.

“To be clear: Oregon has sufficient federal resources to help all eligible households who have applied to date. OHCS and its partners continue to process every complete application quickly, prioritizing those outside of current safe harbor protections. But with nearly all remaining federal funding requested by existing applicants, it was critical for OHCS to give Oregon families ample notice today that, without additional funding, the program will soon need to pause taking new applications.

“We know that the need for this critical assistance continues. Additional funding is needed urgently to ensure Oregon’s rental assistance program can meet the ongoing need––an ask I have made directly to U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, who administers the federal rental assistance program. It is not likely, however, that the U.S. Treasury will be able to deploy additional resources for rental assistance immediately.

“It will be impossible to serve every Oregon family that is struggling with rent with state resources alone. Those conversations will continue, with the goal of bringing forward a proposal for the Legislature to consider in a special session in the upcoming weeks.” It is not clear if the Governor is seeking additional federal funds or a change in laws that requires housing providers to support non-paying tenants.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-15 11:23:43Last Update: 2021-11-15 12:09:08



Analysis: Beaverton’s Southridge High and Student Sexualization
“I just need you to put a shirt on”

How well did students survive one year of online school in their pajamas? What did one year of unstructured learning actually teach kids? Now the ugly head of “comprehensive sexuality education” has emerged in the form of Rape Culture. Oregon Department of Education’s Sexuality Education Newsletter, November 5, 2021, sent to colleagues’ states, “Each month offers us opportunities to build allyship and support for all students, through K-12 comprehensive sexuality education.”

They list eight events from October 20 to November 20 and closed with, “Each of these markers in time asks us to hold space for the sorrows and joys of students with system-impacted identities past and present, while reinforcing our commitment to education equality for all Oregon students.”. When has education supported so much activity on non-basic curriculum that schools are rated on? Southridge High School parents are finding out their students have become overly conscience of sexuality that lacks social responsibilities resulting in improper behaviors.

At a November 2 staff meeting, teachers at Southridge High School, Beaverton, were given a philosophical story of diverting a water leak with metal spouts but never fixed the leak as a comparison to Rape Culture. It defines the culture as acts of sexual assault and harassment that are enabled and normalized by a metal spout. Then teachers were asked: How can we take time to educate ourselves on the impact of the sexualization of students?

Why were they asked to rationalize a rape culture? Girls at Southridge High devised a protest where they sexualize themselves by wearing lingerie that shows their nipples among other things and writing "tame your boys" and "rape culture" across their chest. When a male teacher told a girl she needed to put on a shirt, she accused the teacher of sexualizing her. His response was, “no, I just need you to put a shirt on.” When the harasser claims to be the victim, there is something wrong.

In an email, Principal David Nieslanik, acknowledges the incident did occur and gave the responsibility to the assistant principal. He mentions that “a small group of students met with him that felt targeted by some staff based on their gender and perceived sexualization of their gender. The conversation was on entry points to conversations about sexualization.” Nieslanik explains that no mention was made of sexual comprehensive education or dress code. Subsequent to their meeting several students that were in the meeting, who identify as femme presenting and feminine protested sparsely dressed.

When questioned, Principal Nieslanik said he immediately talked with the girls about how they present the purpose of their protest, which has turned to the dress code. His approach is education for staff and students around what really is the issue. Change how they protest away from little clothing to make a point to a more inclusive, thoughtful way; and have a conversation at the November staff meeting about where staff is in this broader conversation of living and teaching in a sexualized western culture to help navigate supporting students in a healthy way around students’ voice.

A staff meeting was called November 2 that expressly said focus would be around the theme of sexualization of students within the community. An attendee revealed that instead of how to enforce the district’s dress code, the teachers were reprimanded for speaking to the girls. They commented, “If a picture was taken by anyone in the school and sent around it would be considered distributing child pornography, but they were allowed to walk around school basically naked and that’s ok.”

Code 11, Disruptive Appearance/Student Dress, states: “students may be directed to change dress or grooming if it interferes with the learning process or school climate, is unclean, or threatens the health or safety of the student or others…Immodest attire may be disruptive. When immodest attire is considered disruptive, the student will be expected to alter the mode of dress.”

Another teacher who was present, said the girls who were protesting were at the staff meeting and basically told the staff they will dress how they want and they have to deal with it. They commented on how bold she was, and the principal appears to not be moving to enforce the dress code. The School Resource Officer confirmed that the principal does not appear to be doing anything about it.

Subsequently, Northwest Observer has learned that there has been another event. It is thought by teachers that the lack of addressing dress code limits has exhilarated protests.

Parents have not been notified of the incidents that are still happening on campus. Rick Puente, Beaverton School District Safety Administrator, was asked to comment and he had no idea these incidents have occurred.

Freedoms should go hand-in-hand with responsibility. But students are being confused between responsibility and rights. Oregon Department of Education pushes Critical Race Theory, inclusive and diversity, and that is being manipulated by such organizations as Center for Equity and Inclusion, which ultimately takes away the freedoms students think they are fighting for. When kids are allowed to run the school, what can we expect from education?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-14 15:27:42Last Update: 2021-11-14 15:38:45



Death Row Inmate Has Sentence Reversed
“Conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate”

The Oregon Supreme Court has reversed the death sentence imposed on defendant Dayton Leroy Rogers and remanded the case to the Clackamas County Circuit Court for resentencing. Rogers' modus operandi was to pick up prostitutes and take them to secluded areas. He took at least six of them into the forest where he tied them up and killed them.

The court, in an opinion authored by Associate Justice Adrienne Nelson, concluded as it did in Oregon v. David Ray Bartol that since the rules for aggravated murder had changed, it was disproportionate, and reversed and remanded the conviction. It is likely that a lower court will sentence Dayton to a lengthy sentence, instead of death.

While defendant's appeal was pending, the legislature enacted SB 1013, which amended the death penalty statutes such that, among other things, all of the forms of murder that previously had constituted aggravated murder -- including the theories of

aggravated murder under which defendant had been convicted -- were reclassified as murder in the first degree and were no longer subject to the death penalty

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Adrienne C. Nelson, the Supreme Court reversed defendant's sentence of death, concluding that, in light of the Court's recent decision in Bartol, maintaining defendant's death sentence for conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate and, thus, would violate Article I, section 16

Article I, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution says that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.—In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases."

SB 1013 redefined aggravated murder to just a few extreme cases in Oregon. According to the new law, aggravated murder -- eligible for the death penalty -- is limited to the following:

1) Criminal homicide of two or more persons that is premeditated and committed intentionally [under, or accompanied by, any of the following circumstances] and with the intent to:
a) Intimidate, injure or coerce a civilian population
b) Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or
c) Affect the conduct of a government through destruction of property, murder, kidnapping or aircraft piracy or
2) Murder in the second degree, as defined in ORS 163.115, that is:
a) A) Committed while the defendant was confined in a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility or was otherwise in custody and
B) Committed after the defendant was previously convicted in any jurisdiction of any homicide, the elements of which constitute the crime of aggravated murder under this section or murder in the first degree under section 3 of this 2019 Act
b) Premeditated and committed intentionally against a person under 14 years of age
c) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a police officer as defined in ORS 801.395, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties or
d) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a correctional, parole and probation officer or other person charged with the duty of custody, control or supervision of convicted persons, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties.

SB 1013 was passed mostly along party lines during the 2019 session. Republican Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) joined House Republicans Ron Noble (R-McMinnville) and Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass). Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. The bill was put forward as a committee bill from the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and as such, has no named sponsor, though Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) chaired the committee at the time the bill was introduced.

According to some insiders, this decision not only reverses the death penalty in this case, but imperils the entire Oregon Constitution where any provision of the Constitution can be redefined by merely redefining the terms.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-13 06:45:19Last Update: 2021-11-12 17:08:40



Republicans Question Enviro Nominee
Governor Called to Rescind EQC Pick Over Ethical Concerns

The Oregon Senate is set to vote soon on the Governor’s most recent nominees to various boards and commissions. The Governor has nominated Amelia Schlusser, a staff attorney for a green energy advocacy organization, to sit on the Environmental Quality Commission.

According to the Senate Republican Caucus, the nature of Ms. Schlusser’s work for an organization that promotes policies the EQC has jurisdiction over raises serious ethical concerns.

They contend that in her position at the Green Energy Institute (GEI), Schussler advances their goals to pursue 100% decarbonized energy, taxing industries that use energy that emits carbon, and opposes the use of fossil fuels. She has admitted that she “regularly communicates with policymakers” and “participates in regulatory proceedings convened by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality,” the Department which is overseen by the EQC.

“This nomination from the Governor is a power-grab that raises serious ethical questions,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Getting paid to advocate for government policies that she would directly oversee if confirmed is the clearest conflict of interest I can imagine. The Governor should immediately rescind this nomination. If the Governor fails, the Senate should not vote to confirm.”

“We cannot ignore this obvious conflict of interest that would permanently damage the credibility of the Environmental Quality Commission,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “The Governor should rescind this nomination of Ms. Schlusser, who works for an advocacy group that regularly lobbies this commission. Giving any organization that kind of direct influence would be clear favoritism. We must hold our state to higher ethical standards than this.”

“This kind of nomination by the Governor destroys the public’s trust in our government,” said Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) who sits on the Senate Rules Committee with Senator Knopp. ”There are more ethical ways for the Governor to stack these commissions with extreme environmentalists, but the Governor opted to nominate someone with a clear conflict of interest.”

Oregon law currently does not have any qualifications for appointment to the Environmental Quality Commission. An initiative petition to create regional and professional criteria is currently being circulated for the 2022 ballot. The Senate Rules Committee will take up the nomination on Monday, November 15 at 12:45pm.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-12 15:47:31Last Update: 2021-11-12 16:01:31



Non-Profit Group Celebrates Union Freedom
“This is a great day for individual liberty in America”

The Freedom Foundation celebrated a major milestone this week as it assisted its 100,000th public employee in opting out of union membership.

Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn and its 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, no public employee in the country can be compelled to pay union dues just to keep their jobs.

Following the rulings, the Freedom Foundation launched a massive educational outreach and public interest litigation program to inform public employees about their First Amendment right to stop unions from seizing dues from their paychecks and to help them overcome hurdles put in place by unions and state officials to thwart employees from cancelling the deductions.

“We know from experience that public employees are eager for information about their rights and don’t want to subsidize the extreme agenda of government union bosses,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Aaron Withe.

“This is a great day for individual liberty in America and a major accomplishment for the Freedom Foundation, but we won’t stop until we empower every public employee in the country with the ability to make an informed decision about union membership.”

The Freedom Foundation was founded 30 years ago in Olympia, Wash., with a mission to promote individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government. In 2014, the organization realized that unions representing public employees were the single biggest opponent to these ideals and focused its energy on ending the stranglehold they have on the policymaking process at every level of government.

“Over the years, government unions have seized billions of dollars in dues from the paychecks of people who had no choice in the matter and used it to corrupt politicians who make the whole enterprise legal,” explained Withe.

While the Freedom Foundation’s efforts began in Washington, they steadily expanded to Oregon, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This summer, the Freedom Foundation broadened its activities to all 50 states and has quickly become the nation’s recognized leader in the fight against government unions’ oppression.

Already, the Freedom Foundation has sent millions of pieces of mail and emails to public employees, utilized digital advertising and traditional media, and even deployed an army of paid staff to visit public employees at their homes and workplaces to inform them about their rights.

Government unions not only fail to inform public employees of their First Amendment rights but have actively worked to thwart their rights by implementing practices and backing state policies making it easy for unions to sign people up for membership but exceedingly difficult for employees to cancel the deduction of dues from their paychecks.

At their most extreme, some unions have even resorted to forging employees’ signatures on union membership forms, a practice the Freedom Foundation continues to expose and dismantle through multiple federal lawsuits.

“We knew government unions weren’t going to walk away from their coercive dues collection practices on their own, but helping 100,000 public employees escape union exploitation proves we know how to fight back and that we’re on the right track,” said Withe.

In total, the Freedom Foundation estimates that the resignations have already cost government unions a whopping $150 million in lost dues revenue, money that cannot be used to corrupt politicians and advance unions’ job-killing, high-tax, socialist agenda.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-12 10:49:57Last Update: 2021-11-12 10:57:27



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