Sen. Boquist: Suicide/gun bill, more…

By Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist
Highlights, excerpts from Sen. Boquist newsletter

— The February short session is in full swing. With three weeks left, now is the time for citizen involvement. Read this Oregon Capital Chronicle article for a great break down of how the session is going and how to get involved.

— One of Sen. Boquist and Rep. Tran’s bills did not make it out of committee. HB 4096 sought to prevent suicides via firearm holding.

— OregonLive reports about how Amazon data centers are among the state’s biggest carbon polluters. Who’dve thought cap and trade would cause problems? The article focuses on how the Umatilla Electric Cooperative “is responsible for 1.8 million tons of carbon-emissions annually,” but has just 16,000 customers. The article says, “Data centers’ power demands have upended Oregon’s fight against global warming, exposing the limitations of the state’s electrical grid and the state’s hope to move toward clean power. Oregon is many years away from meaningfully expanding its transmission capacity, and with Amazon planning at least 10 more data centers in the region, eastern Oregon’s carbon footprint is poised to continue soaring.”

— Anecdotally, some Oregonians in Prineville and surrounding areas have left due to Amazon, Facebook and Apple data centers using up the water supply to keep the centers cool. These data centers have clogged the once beautiful ridge with disturbing fluorescent lights and barbed fences and provided minimal jobs. But environmentalists didn’t care then.

— Oregon Live reports: “Pacific Power is asking state regulators to approve a 17% rate increase for residential customers and businesses starting next year. The public-owned utility says it needs the roughly $304 million the rate hike would generate for new renewable energy projects and investments in transmission infrastructure that would allow it to add those sources to the grid.” So electric cars?

— WWeek reports: Seeking to keep their seats, GOP senators toss Hail Mary. Still fighting, Senator Boquist (I-Dallas) and Senator Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) were in front of the Ninth Circuit Court last Friday to present their case against Measure 113 and for Free Speech. A decision will likely be handed down by March 1.

— WWeek has a Q&A with the two candidates for MultCo DA, focusing specifically on Measure 110. In the article, “With Oregon’s pioneering drug-decriminalization Measure 110 on the chopping block, the state’s Democratic lawmakers are pushing a compromise. They want to restore criminal penalties for possession of hard drugs—but less severe penalties than those on the books prior to the passage of 110, approved overwhelmingly by Oregon voters in 2020.”

— On the Senate Floor: Gov. Kotek wants to spend $500 million on housing. Sen. Boquist spoke about how the state wants to build more houses but is ignoring the people who lost their homes in the 2020 fire. According to Oregon’s own data, “Eleven lives were lost and more than 4,000 homes were destroyed during Oregon’s unprecedented 2020 wildfire season.”

— 40% of the cost of building is regulatory. 40% of every dime spent is the government making cost. That doesn’t include city development charges. If you get a settlement, the first 35% goes to the state and federal government for taxes. So the individual can’t possibly rebuild their house. Then the attorney fees get taxed a second time. The homeowner is left with about 20 cents on the dollar to rebuild his house, damaged in the fires. If we want to build 5,000 houses in the state of Oregon, we need to also put the money back in those homeowners’ pockets so they can rebuild their houses. Watch Sen. Boquist speak on this here at 21:33.

— OPB reports on nearly $2 million of government dollars being wasted because a much-needed Tribal Early Learning Hub to increase Indigenous families’ access to early learning and child care programs, never got off the ground.

— OPB reports on how 35 pharmacies closed in Oregon last year.

— OPB reports: “The Oregon Senate Tuesday passed a bill that would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. Senate Bill 1508 would also limit the cost to $105 for a 90-day supply.” One senator, with reliance on insulin, had much to say about it and the reason for voting NO.

— Oregon Capital Chronicle reports that state universities admit more out-of-state students for the tuition bump. The article says, “Some universities that recruit out-of-state students tend to focus on private high school students, since their families often can afford to pay higher tuition, he said. But some recruiting lately has expanded to public high schools, usually in affluent suburbs, or areas where there are few public state universities and pockets of affluent students all competing for the in-state slots. It’s easier, sometimes, to get in at a university in another state.”

  • Forbes is reporting that double majoring, or money for universities, is the secret to job security when any bob and mary without a degree can start a podcast or Instagram account these days and sell advertisements to make a living.

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