Oregonian faults Taxpayers Assoc. for not trusting politicians?

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


The Oregonian editor ran an interesting article in the Sunday’s Oregonian criticizing an article we did announcing an upcoming State Capitol hearing on a bill that would give the homeless more rights on our streets and potentially allow them to sue others (property owners, landlords, city government) $1,000 if they are interfered with.

The Oregonian Editor said,

“…last weekend’s flurry of news coverage was sparked by an April 21 post by Taxpayers Association of Oregon on its Oregon Catalyst website.“HB 3501 creates a “right to rest” and would expand the rights of homeless trespassing. It is up for a hearing on May 4th in the House Committee on Housing and Homeless,” the notice said. The brief post left the erroneous impression that the legislation was progressing through the system. In fact, it had missed key legislative deadlines and was not moving at all.”

The Oregonian complains that from our article announcing this public hearing, People for Portland (a Portland citizen advocacy group) began to sound the alarm … then the NY Post … then Newsweek … then CNN!

Over 2,000 people submitted early testimony online days ahead of the public hearing.

The overflow of opposition made the lawmakers cancel the hearing on this homeless bill.

The Oregonian states, “Jason Williams, founder of Taxpayers Association of Oregon, nevertheless thinks his group provided a service. “As long as the politicians have hearings on explosive topics in the Legislature, we will continue to alert our readers so they can participate,”   (The Oregonian has never printed more beautiful words!!!)

Yet, The Oregonian is faulting us for not mentioning that the Legislative bill was intended only for “information” purposes and that lawmakers promised that they had no intention of actually passing the bill.   Hmmmmmm.

If it was just “informational”, then why did lawmakers cancel the hearing?

It is bad enough that the liberal lawmakers block Legislative bills we favor from having a hearing, now they’re blocking us from expressing our opinions on bills we don’t like by cancelling the hearing.

Coincidentally, a local non-profit charity sent out a highly political postcard promoting the same homeless rights bill that appears to be sent after the April 4th deadline.  Why are they not criticized for talking about the same bill?


The Oregonian said on the bill, “it had missed key legislative deadlines and was not moving at all.”

This year, April 4th was a deadline for Oregon bills to have certain hearings or be considered dead.   The fact that this bill was scheduled after April 4th means that politicians wanted to keep the idea alive.   This bill was more alive than countless bills that couldn’t even get a single hearing.    As of right now, this bill can be gut-and-stuffed into any live bill at any time during Legislative Session.

We are only weeks away from the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, which means the politicians will soon go into 1-hour mode which means the public will only have 1-hour notice that a bill will appear in a committee for a vote.  One hour notice!   Public testimony during this time is limited and often blocked completely.   In about an hour, a lawmaker can introduce an amendment before committee to insert this homeless bill into another bill and within minutes the bill will be alive, voted upon in the Committee, and heading to the House Floor for a full vote.   Lawmakers promise the bill will go nowhere, but within a few hours it can be voted on and sent to the Floor for a full vote.

We think The Oregonian newspaper maybe making their points simply because they haven’t been victimized like taxpayers have been when it comes to participating in the Legislative process.

This is how taxpayers experience the Legislature:

• Lawmakers author controversial bills anonymously so no one knows who did it or what the bills does.
• Official bill explanations are often late, meaning the public won’t know basics on a bill until right before it is up for a hearing.
• Sometimes lawmakers will put 30+ bills on the agenda for a single Committee hearing (already happened).
• This year, one hearing was so poorly run, most of the people who showed up testify never had a chance to speak.
• In the past, the public was limited to just 60 seconds to speak on 3 different bills.
• Under the 1-hour rule, the public has only has 1 hour notice that a bill hearing is up for a vote.
• Sometimes lawmakers lie about what is in a bill only to be discovered after the bill has passed.

Here is an example of 30 bills up for a vote in a single committee hearing.

If you don’t believe us, then let me quote The Oregonian guest article by then Democrat State Representative Marty Wilde who explained how corrupt and undemocratic our process is:

(Overriding the duty of the people) “I could not continue to participate in a caucus that had stopped acting democratically. We had failed to set a positive example of transparency and engagement and stopped supporting laws that returned power to the people we represent. Instead, we let our partisan desire to maintain power override our duty to the people…”

(Kept the public in the dark) Since I joined the caucus in 2019 as a freshman legislator, it has become less and less democratic. My fellow Democratic lawmakers and I met privately each day during the legislative session. We debated proposals like the Student Success Act and public pension reform, and we did not even inform the public about the topics of our discussions and preemptive decisions.”

(Extreme partisanship) “Over time, we even stopped debating the issues…regardless of whether it was in the public interest.”

(Driven by a few people in secret) “…worst of all, leadership positions were filled based on success in fundraising, not merit or expertise. The House Democratic leaders even stopped telling the caucus members about their discussions. In effect, the content and direction of legislation for all of Oregon was decided by a group of 10 or fewer people picked by their ability to raise money, in secret.”

Knowing all this, is why the Taxpayers Association of Oregon does not trust politicians.   The process is broken and the liberal politicians abuse it further.   Politicians have already abused their own arbitrary bill deadlines, they have abused the public notice process, have been caught lying on bills to get them passed and have blocked people from testifying.  Please excuse us at the Taxpayers Association of Oregon for not trusting them when they say they are having a hearing on a extremely controversial bill but have no intention of passing it.   We are not obligated to pass along their promises that no one believes.

We know The Oregonian is trying to build a more civil, trusting and proper political discourse — yet, it is taxpayers who are finding our access to the Legislature diminishing with every passing year.

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