Our Oregon News
March 3, 2014
Legislators are headed into their final days of the 2014 session. They must adjourn by Sunday, and many speculate Sine Die will land closer to Wednesday or Thursday. Some big questions remain, including whether the Senate will pass the Legal Aid bill that corporations want so desperately to block.
Our Oregon's got you covered with the most important goings-on to start your week.
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► Oregon House Republicans voted Monday evening to remove Rep. Julie Parrish (R-Tualatin/West Linn) from her leadership post as Deputy Leader for the House Republican caucus. Rep. John Davis (R-Wisonville) will take her place.
Some have hinted that it was no surprise that Parrish was the only member of the Republican leadership to lose her seat (excepting Wally Hicks, who will retire this year.) Rumors in the building suggested that House Rs had plans to specifically target Parrish, though later chose to hold an election for all of the leadership positions instead.
Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) later stated that the election was a direct result of Parrish's primary recruitment efforts.
► Both the House and Senate have now passed SB 1524, which would create a study on the viability of providing free community college for all Oregon high school graduates. The bill is lauded as a smart first step to addressing the growing problem in Oregon, where soaring tuition has become a signficant barrier to higher education opportunities for many Oregonians.
► Economic fairness and consumer protection advocates are waiting to see if the Senate will pass HB 4143, which would direct uncollected proceeds from class action lawsuits to Legal Aid of Oregon. This would end Oregon's unfair practices that led corporations to underpay their legal settlements, and will instead provide legal representation for low-income Oregonians. Unsurprisingly, powerful interests have responded by trying to shut down support for the bill and Republicans are paying heed.
The Senate will hold its third hearing and likely vote on the issue tomorrow (Tuesday.) Get involved here, by signing the petition calling on the Oregon Senate to support the bill.
► The Senate will also vote on HB 4054, which would fix the driver card ballot measure title by providing a more accurate description of what the law would do. These efforts are backed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, so that voters have a clear understanding of what the law would do. The bill has already passed the House.
► The Oregon House has stalled on SB 1531. The original bill proposed to provide local governments with specific regulations over medical marijuana operations in their own jurisdiction, while still preserving protections for patient access.
Now, proposed amendments would let local governments ban medical dispensaries in their area, causing concerns about patients' access. House leaders fear that the amended language goes too far, and would not pass the Senate when it went back for review.
► A bill to improve the integrity of Oregon's initiative system heads to the Governor's desk, after being passed in the House this morning.
The bill (SB 1504) expands restrictions on petition circulators, adding election violations to the list of factors that prohibits one from working as a paid petition circulator in Oregon.
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Outside the Legislature, policy changes through the ballot have been underway for months.
Today, two attacks on working people - Initiative Petitions 1 and 9 - were withdrawn from the ballot by chief petitioners.
This is great news for Oregon workers, who will not have to face a major, multi-million dollar attack from out-of-state corporate interests. While the Koch Brothers and ALEC are moving these anti-worker laws around the country, Oregonians won't have to face that threat this year.
Oregon's Senate Republicans can't deal with progress or innovation (via the Oregonian)
Final week agenda thinning (via the Register Guard)
Our Oregon is Oregon's progressive coalition, working for social and economic justice and fighting to protect Oregon's priorities.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Re: Our Oregon Capitol Update: Closing Time
Sen. Betsy Johnson claims she opposes HB 4143 because it changes the rules on corporations "in the middle"
That means she didn't support reducing PERS pensions for state workers, right???
Cause it would be wildly hypocritical to cut pensions for already- retired workers but then oppose making Wrongdoing corporations like BP pay the full amount of judgments because it's a "change" in midstream.