Hot off the Press
The House of Representatives will soon vote on the Save the Internet Act to restore net neutrality. But telecom lobbyists are trying to gut the bill with bad amendments that would allow ISPs to throttle traffic, censor content, and impose unfair fees. Tell Congress to pass the Save the Internet Act with no bad amendments before the final House vote.
Below is the latest update on DPO priorities. A very important deadline looms Tuesday, April 9th — this is the final day for almost all committee to move bills out of committee. If a bill is not moved out of a policy committee in its chamber of origin by this date, the bill is considered “dead” for session.
However, this deadline does not apply to bills in the Rules, Finance and Revenue, Ways and Means and other joint committees (Capitol Culture, Carbon Reduction, Student Success, and Transportation).
It’s being reported that on Thursday, April 4, the Joint Committee on Student Success will release their proposals for how to make new investments in education this year. This is the moment that advocates for new revenue been waiting for all session. We will have updates on these proposals and how you can voice your support in the next legislative update. In the meantime, follow A Better Oregon for updates on Facebook or on Twitter.
There are a number of priority town halls on the horizon. You can RSVP here with the Invest in Oregon Coalition if you plan on attending (although RSVPs are not required):
HILLSBORO: April 5th, 6- 8 pm – Rep Janeen Sollman – R A Brown Middle School – 1505 SW Cornelius Pass Rd, Hillsboro
EUGENE: April 6th, 2:30- 4 pm – Rep Julie Fahey, Nathanson, Manning, – North Eugene High school Cafeteria – 200 Silver Lane, Eugene
PORTLAND: April 13th, 1-2:30 pm – Ginny Burdick, Rob Wagner – Multnomah Arts Center – Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland
GARIBALDI: April 14th. 2 pm – Rep Tiffiny Mitchell – Garibaldi City Hall – 107 6th St, Garibaldi
There are a number of other priority town halls later in the month listed at this link.
Below are updates on top DPO priorities:
#1 Health Care
Current Status: Health Care for All Oregon is holding a Lobby Day today, MONDAY, April 1 at the State Capitol in Salem. SB 770, legislation that would create the Universal Health Care Commission, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee On Health Care.
Chief Sponsors: Senators Manning Jr, Dembrow, Beyer, Representatives Fahey, Keny-Guyer, Salinas, Williamson
Register here for the April 1 Lobby Day.
Can’t Attend? Contact your legislators and tell them to support universal health care.
#2 Clean Energy Jobs
Current Status: HB 2020 is in the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction. Since this is a “joint” committee, it is not subject to posting deadlines.
Where to go for more information: Sign up for more information at https://www.reneworegon.org/
#3 Campaign Finance Reform
Current Status: The Senate Campaign Finance Committee took action on a measure to refer a constitutional amendment to the people to allow campaign limits in Oregon. Oregon is currently one of five states without any campaign finance limits.
Where to go for more information: SJR 18 will be heard next in the Senate Rules committee. You can sign up for updates from the Senate Rules Committee here.
#4 Gun Safety
Current Status: Many bills have been introduced. We are awaiting updates from partner groups.
Events/Actions: Contact your legislators and express your support for common sense gun safety legislation.
#5 Criminal Justice Reform
Updates from the Oregon ACLU:
Youth sentencing reform (SB 966, SB 968, SB 969, SB 1008): Our youth justice system should focus on prevention and rehabilitation, rather than punishment and incarceration. These four bills that will help move Oregon toward a more humane youth justice system. The first hearing on the bills occurred on Thursday, March 28th at 8am in Senate Judiciary. You can view the hearing here. Urge your legislators to support this important legislation by using the ACLU of Oregon’s action alert. If you know of an organization that may be interested in joining the coalition, please email Kimberly McCullough to let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requiring unanimous juries in criminal cases (HB 2615 and HJR 10): Oregon is the only state in the nation that allows a jury to find someone guilty of a felony with only 10 out of 12 votes. The ACLU is supporting two bills that will both need to pass and then be followed by a vote of the people in the 2020 election to eliminate non-unanimous jury convictions in Oregon. These bills are currently in the House Judiciary Committee and will be moved to the Rules Committee before they have their first hearing.
Removing barriers to marijuana expungement (SB 420): The ACLU is supporting legislation to help remove barriers to clearing people’s records of old marijuana convictions. Even though marijuana has been legalized, many people still have old convictions on their record for things that are now legal. This bill will be amended based on recommendations from various stakeholders. As amended, it will reduce the cost of expungement by waiving filing fees, eliminating the need for an applicant to obtain a background check, and creating simple forms to help people avoid the need to hire an attorney to help them through the process. This bill will have its first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 5th at 8am. You can submit testimony in support of the bill before the hearing (preferably 24 hours in advance) to email@example.com.
District attorney transparency and accountability (HB 3224 and HB 3419): HB 3224 will increase transparency for district attorney offices in Oregon. More specifically, the bill requires DAs to develop policies on a variety of subjects and make those policies publicly available. HB 3419 (note new bill number from last update) prohibits DAs from requiring defendants to waive crucial procedural and constitutional rights in plea agreements, as well as prohibiting waivers of access to important rehabilitative programs. These bills will have their first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on April 4th at 1pm. You can submit testimony in support of these bill before the hearing (preferably 24 hours in advance) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public defense funding (HB 3145): This bill will reform Oregon’s public defense funding system. This is a response to a recent report that found that Oregon is not meeting its obligations under the Sixth Amendment. The bill had its first hearing on Tuesday, March 26th in House Judiciary. You can view the hearing here (click on the bill number below the video screen. We expect the bill will be referred to Ways & Means next week.
Where to go for more information: Sign up for the ACLU list at https://www.aclu-or.org.
IN OTHER NEWS:
We anticipate that a hearing will be scheduled soon in the Senate Rules Committee on SB 870, commonly referred to as the National Popular Vote bill. Once it is scheduled, the DPO will submit testimony in support. Support for this concept is outlined in DPO Legislative Action Item #17.
Finally, an update on a couple of process bills that the DPO is supporting:
HB 2491 is scheduled for a vote on the House Floor tomorrow. It was approved by the House Rules Committee on a unanimous vote. This bill changes the process to write in nominees for Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) and removes gender specific language from the PCP process. The DPO submitted testimony in support of the bill.
SB 630 was passed by the Senate, on a 24-6 vote. The bill allows party central committees to notify members of upcoming meetings by email. Current law requires the notification be sent by postal mail. We are awaiting a hearing on this bill in the House Rules Committee.
|Heading into critical election season, DPO elects new chair, officers
INDEPENDENCE — Hundreds of Democrats gathered in Polk County, Oregon, this weekend for the first State Central Committee Meeting of the 2020 election cycle. On Sunday, the Party elected new officers, including Carla “K.C.” Hanson as Democratic Party of Oregon Chair. Hanson has a long record in progressive Oregon politics, including serving as Chair of the Multnomah County Democrats from 2008 to 2013. Hanson replaces Jeanne Atkins, who is retiring from public office.
“The Democratic Party of Oregon’s strength is fueled by the dedicated people that give their time and energy to make our state and world a better place for everyone,” said Hanson. “It is an honor to be chosen to lead them during these historic times. The officers elected today are poised to join a DPO leadership team that has proven itself to be effective and collaborative. My leadership approach is centered around teamwork and I’m eager to get to work with this new team of dedicated activists.”
2020 is poised to be one of the most consequential elections in decades, as Democrats work to win the Presidency and rebuke the dark vision of the current White House. In addition to overseeing Oregon’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention, the new DPO officers will preside during campaigns for the reelection of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, our U.S. Representatives, three seats for statewide office in Oregon, and building on our legislative majorities.
In addition to Atkins, Vice Chairs Valdez Bravo and Lupita Maurer and Secretary Alex Josephy did not run for reelection, leading to open races for the positions. Newly elected officers include:
The new officers join DNC Members Tanya Shively, Matt Keating, and Travis Nelson on the DPO administrative committee. Eddy Morales serves as the current DPO Treasurer, a position that will be appointed by the chair.
In other business, the State Central Committee approved the first resolution of 2019, advocating for a permit-to-purchase system regulating firearm purchases. The next DPO State Central Committee Meeting will be held May 18-19 in Prineville, Oregon.
Oregon Public Broadcasting explains…….
Michael Gerson is a commentator who writes for the Washington Post. As an atheist and a Democrat I have many points of disagreement with Gerson, who is an evangelical Christian and a Republican. Nevertheless, I find him worthy of respect as a thoughtful and ethical writer. Here’s a link to a recent opinion piece by him that, depending upon you, the reader’s, religious beliefs, may challenge you to think in a different way.
By the way, Gerson has written many commentaries excoriating Trump.
Anita Savio, PCP Cave Junction
|What an incredible evening for Oregon Democrats!
When we began this campaign, we said we had three big jobs to do — and I’m proud to say we accomplished each one of them.
We re-elected Governor Kate Brown, thanks to an amazing statewide outreach effort.
We re-elected our great Oregon Democratic Congressional Delegation and made a big noise in Oregon’s Second Congressional District, a noise that is still reverberating. I can’t say enough about Jamie McLeod-Skinner and her team — the campaign that they ran truly exemplified the spirit and heart of Oregonians in the district, and she earned the best result for an Oregon Democrat in CD-2 in at least 20 years.
And last but not least, we defended and expanded our Oregon Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature in Salem.
Over the last two years I’ve had the privilege to travel across Oregon meeting with Democrats in all 36 of our counties. And one of the things I’ve said to them is that we want to send a message with this election.
We do not want to make ourselves great at the expense of anyone else. We want to have health care for all and public education for our children. We want humane immigration policies, strong unions, retirement plans for our seniors, and for women to have control over our own bodies.
Last night, Oregonians resoundingly said that we will not allow our state to cut reproductive health care, that we would not return to the days when racial profiling was legal, and that we will not hamstring our state and local governments just to protect corporations and the well off from paying their share of taxes.
This was a great night filled with great results, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your support. For that, we cannot thank you enough.
Now, as we look ahead toward the work to be done in 2019 and beyond to defend and uphold our Oregon Democratic values, I hope you’ll keep standing with us.
Support our work to elect more Oregon Democrats, and protect the Democratic values we hold dear. Donate today.
A simple message from a local Democrat:
A few points to be published for the general public:
1. Are you receiving a Social Security check? Thank a Democrat. Franklin D Roosevelt.
2. Are you on Medicare? Thank a Democrat. Linden B. Johnson.
3. Are you getting healthcare or Medicaid? Thank a Democrat. Barack Obama. And the list goes on.
Vote Democratic in 2018!
I interviewed Darin Fowler for the Illinois Valley News. Here it is, below:
What is your vision for the future of JoCo law enforcement and how do you anticipate funding that vision?
Fowler proposed a three-legged funding strategy, stating that “every effort should be made to fully fund the Josephine County Criminal Justice system in order to keep every citizen safe. This includes all aspects of criminal justice including 24-hour patrols, full-time detectives, jail services, and operation of the youth detention facility.”
He stated that alternative funding to an increase in property taxes includes a local cannabis production tax on commercial grow operations, fighting for a greater share of the state’s dispensary tax, and the need to continue work on the lawsuit that multiple Oregon counties, including Josephine, have undertaken against the federal government to seize back full logging rights of the O&C lands.
But when pressed, Fowler agreed that none of the proposed funding sources are wholly within the county’s power.
For instance, the county is already taxing dispensaries at the maximum allowed by state law: three percent.
“We’re already getting that three percent off of dispensaries and it’s not very much,” said Fowler. “But that’s only at the dispensaries. The thing I’m talking about is at the source: the farming of the cannabis.”
State law as it stands, does not allow counties to tax cannabis production, only the retail end of the industry. Counties like Josephine where marijuana production is a large part of the local economy as opposed to the retail end of the industry, have been lobbying the state legislature to allow local taxation of recreational marijuana grows.
“[Commissioner] Dan DeYoung .. has a proposal at the state level,” said Fowler. “It didn’t make it through the state legislature this year, but probably will, yes or no, next year. That’s the one I put a lot of stock in. They [cannabis growers] need to be taxed just like a regular business and not think they have a golden goose and can just come and make money off of us.”
Fowler added that, although there are no guarantees, there seemed to be an initial promising reaction by legislators.
“I think if we’re going to fund more [above the current level of law enforcement funding] we’re going to find it from the state or federal government. I don’t think we have to go to the property owners. They’re already tired.”
What are your specific proposals for encouraging economic growth and job creation in the rural areas of the county?
Fowler stated that economic growth and job creation can be encouraged by improving both of our county’s airports and its industrial parks and building a motel/resort to cater to those wanting to visit the Illinois Valley. He added that there is ample property to create additional biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails, and suggested the county could enhance Page Mountain Sno-Park, our county’s only snow recreation area.
Fowler also suggested working with local businesses to develop internship/apprenticeship programs.
“Too many of our young people feel they have to leave Josephine County in order to embark upon a career that earns a living wage. ”
He added that there needs to be a change in attitude among county officials from putting up barriers to local business to helping them, whether through tax breaks or giving them a break on permit fees or charges for new infrastructure.
“But,” he said, “I don’t think we need to create new opportunities for new businesses until we come alongside existing businesses and make sure they can do the things they want to do to create jobs.”
What role do you see the marijuana industry playing in rural economic development and job creation?
“Long-term careers in the market will be few,” said Fowler. “But other businesses could benefit from the success of the industry.”
“I would actually like to see many of these marijuana businesses turn to the growing of hemp, a much more versatile and useful product,” he added.
What is your position on the zoning issue with respect to both medical and recreational marijuana farming?
Fowler stated he is against commercial grows in Rural-Residential-zoned lots, and would allow them only on farmland-zoned properties. He cited Jackson County as a model. In 2016 Jackson County passed an ordinance that allows commercial grows only on farm or forest land.
Jackson County defines commercial grows as more than ten plants.
In what specific ways, such as regulatory, public infrastructure and finance, do you see the county supporting the development of affordable housing, especially multi-family housing?
“I cannot overstress the importance of our need to do whatever we can to encourage the building of multi-family and low income housing,” Fowler said. He also said he supports the approval of the Lincoln Meadows project in Grants Pass, a proposed 52-unit low income, multi-family housing development that has been stalled due to neighborhood opposition.
Fowler added that incentivizing property redevelopment by reducing or eliminating permit fees and infrastructure charges would encourage individual developers and property development companies to create more housing opportunities.
With respect to development of multi-family development in rural Josephine County, Fowler pointed out that state land use regulations would probably prohibit higher density development except in or near the two incorporated cities of Grants Pass and Cave Junction.
What are some tools the county is either making use of now or can make use of in the future to ameliorate the homelessness problem?
Fowler distinguished homelessness from vagrancy and transiency. “I think homelessness is more of a temporary thing, where people are by circumstance pushed out of their existing place.” He noted that there are a lot of help agencies for such people, when they have a desire to “pick themselves up and move forward,” He listed United Community Action Network (UCAN), Dorcas Community Services, Gospel Rescue Mission and Josephine County Salvation Army as examples, and reiterated the need for affordable housing development.
But he added that the others, “who have found the cracks in our society and live outside the lines” should be encouraged to “move along to Eugene or Portland.”
Fowler stated that the veteran who is struggling with problems such as addiction and PTSD and may be living in a tent out in the woods is a special case. He characterized such cases as “tweeners,” between vagrancy and homelessness, and noted that the Veterans Administration has the primary responsibility in such cases, as the county does not have the resources.
He suggested the county can encourage vagrants and transients to leave by passing an ordinance against panhandling vehicle drivers and by clearing illegal camps.
Same question as above, but with respect to the meth and opioid addiction problem?
“Josephine County has taken positive steps in dealing with this problem by providing treatment programs, opening a methadone clinic and the Sobering Center, and awareness campaigns to prevent accidental access,” Fowler said. “However, increasing our funding to the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, is equally important to eradicate these problems.”
What is your position on the lawsuit Josephine County has joined with respect to logging on the O&C lands?
Fowler characterized the O&C land use/logging lawsuit as of vital importance. “Not only has the federal government done an extremely poor job of properly maintaining our forest lands, they have taken away nearly all of our rights as a state to responsibly log those lands. We must continue to press the federal government to release our public lands, or at the very least to restart the O&C payments from the original agreements. ”