by Rep. Mike Nearman
The latest government overreach – brought to you by the friendly thugs at the Bureau of Labor and Industries
When I think of tyranny, I think of guys with three-cornered hats and muskets and a mean old King in England. I need to have less faith that we’ve moved beyond some of these problems in modern times. Tyranny still exists and walks among us.
Take Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
He’s pushing for HB 2386 in the Oregon Legislature which would give the Labor Commissioner the power to issue cease and desist orders – effectively shut down businesses – until a labor complaint or other violation is resolved. Because of the slow pace of litigation, this effectively results in a “guilty until proven innocent” system where a business must cease operations if “the commissioner has reason to believe that an employer has violated (the law).”
Ordinarily, I’m not inclined to yield more coercive power to the government, but in this case, I’m even less inclined so. These are the same thugs who are beating up on the Gresham bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, for refusing to bake a cake for religious reasons. That’s your state government at work. Keeping public accommodations free from discrimination. Protecting religious liberty, not so much. A whopping $150,000 fine on the bakery makes the point in a big way.
If you think that these fears are just Chicken Little claiming that “the sky is falling,” recall the summer of 2012, when the US Department of Labor investigators – these are the federal thugs — prohibited a shipment of Oregon blueberries, invoking a “hot goods” provision of labor law. With the prospect of their crop rotting, the growers signed an agreement to pay fines, admit fault and not to contest the charges. Make ‘em an offer they can’t refuse.
Thankfully, US District Court reversed everything and even ordered the US Department of Labor to pay restitution to the blueberry growers. Ironically, Commissioner Avakian denounced the USDOL actions at the time. Now he’s asking the state legislature for the authority to do the exact same thing. Why should the feds have all the fun?
You can join the fight against tyranny by finding your state legislator and letting them know that they should vote no on HB 2386. We need to decide if the problem in Oregon is either that the government has too little power, or that hot blueberries and corrupt cakes might hit the market.
Thankfully, State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) doesn’t get moved to use the word “thug” very often. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.