Addressing the real threats to Northern Spotted Owl

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American Forest Resource Council

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently announced it will consider changing the status of the Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) from “threatened” to “endangered” as owl populations continue to decline. The species’ listing in 1990 led to a 90-percent decline in federal timber harvests and restrictions on other forest management activities. 24 million acres of federal land in the Pacific Northwest have largely been set aside for the owl, including 12 million acres of forestland identified as critical habitat. Unfortunately the USFWS’ approach has failed to address the real threats to the species while devastating the socioeconomic health of many rural communities. Continue reading

Posted by at 08:00 | Posted in Natural Resources, Timber | 1 Comment

Bi-State Bridge Coalition: Real Solutions or more Special Interests?

third bridge

by Ron Swaren

Washington legislators very narrowly halted committing further state revenue to the troubled Columbia River Crossing project when, by one vote, the Washington Senate refused to pass authorization in the 2013 Session.In the meantime, two proposals have originated in Clark County to present a substitute concept. First, Clark County voters substantially approved in 2013 an advisory vote for an “East County Toll-Free Bridge” and cast a very close second for a “West County Toll Free Bridge.” Continue reading

Posted by at 06:29 | Posted in Columbia River Crossing | 2 Comments

Oregon House GOP to Gov. Brown: Actions don’t match rhetoric

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Oregon House Republicans

Response from House Republican Caucus Communications Director Kara Walker in response to Governor Brown’s State of the State remarks:

“While House Republicans appreciate Governor Brown’s calls to improve our education system, strengthen our transportation infrastructure, and restore public trust in state government, the actions taken by her and legislative Democrats in Salem simply do not match the rhetoric we heard today in Portland. Continue reading

Posted by at 02:47 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon House | 2 Comments

Rep. Whisnant: $300 million on phantom employees

whisnantsearchRep. Whisnant on House Bill 2856 : $300 million on phantom employees
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

State Representative Gene Whisnant is working on House Bill 2856 which identifies and stops vacant state positions which could end up costing the state as much as $300 million. This bill targets vacant positions that have been vacant for 6-months of more. Vacant government positions that receive funding are often called phantom positions. Rep. Whisnant explains how state agencies come before his legislative budget hearings and lay out a detailed plan of the services they will provide and the number of employees required to do the job. The Legislature allocates the money the agency asks for but then is surprised years later to find that the positions were never filled. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Rep. Hack: A way to boost volunteer firefighters

jodihackfirefighterRepresentative Jodi Hack has Tax credit for volunteer firefighters moving forward
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

A tax credit for volunteer firefighters is moving forward in the legislative process. Sponsored by Rep. Jodi Hack and ten other representatives, House Bill 3189 would give a $250 credit against income taxes that are due to volunteers who have given 100 hours of service, including training hours. The fire chief would certify that the volunteer qualifies and has given the hours. On March 30 the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee recommended that the bill be passed and sent it to Revenue. The next step will be to determine what the bill would cost and to find a way to provide those funds. Continue reading

Posted by at 04:55 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oregon’s self-created problem: Lack of affordable housing

Sen Doug Whitsett

by Sen. Doug Whitsett

“the proposed solution is to spend a great deal of other peoples’ money, on yet another government program, to try and solve the problem without addressing its cause”

The Legislative process often involves bringing various stakeholders together to find solutions to difficult problems. But sometimes, those problems are the result of well-meant but misguided government policies. Too often, the only proposed solutions involve the further expansion of government programs.

A lack of affordable housing has become one of Oregon’s most significant problems. It is reaching a crisis point in places like Bend, where housing stock has not kept up with demand. Working families are struggling to meet their most basic needs for affordable housing. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Housing, Land Use Laws, OR 78th Legislative Session | 29 Comments

Senate Dems pass ineffective, partisan background check bill

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Oregon Senate Republicans

Senate Democrats Refuse to Increase Funding for Critical Mental Health Services on Party-Line Vote

Salem, OR – Yesterday, Senate Democrats rejected a common-sense bill to invest in community mental health programs across Oregon. SB 763, which would have helped rural counties fund critical mental health services, failed on a party-line vote in the Oregon Senate.

“Rural counties were hit hardest in the recent recession, and many had to reduce or eliminate mental health beds in regional facilities. Now, the safety net consists of fewer police officers and jail beds as a result of cuts to public safety funding,” said Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg). “Individuals with unmanaged mental health issues need support, and rural counties are unable to provide it. Instead of partisan bickering over gun control policies that will not keep guns off the streets, we need to focus on investing in mental health services for vulnerable Oregonians.” Continue reading

Posted by at 08:45 | Posted in 2nd Amendment, Gun Control, OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon Senate | 5 Comments

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