Legislative Report, Volume 28, Number 3 – February 2018 – LWV of Oregon

In This Issue Revenue and Tax Reform Governance Natural Resources Social Policy Education Policy Revenue and Tax Reform By Chris Vogel, Revenue and Tax Reform If you plan to attend the LWVOR Day at the Legislature on Friday, and have time at 8:30 am, please step into Committee Hearing Room A.  Go to this link […]

Source: Legislative Report, Volume 28, Number 3 – February 2018 – The League of Women Voters of Oregon

As most of you are aware, HJR 203 A, the proposal for a constitutional amendment that declares that access to Health Care is a Right, passed the House Health Care Committee and the House Chamber of Representatives on a party line vote.

If you plan to attend the LWVOR Day at the Legislature on Friday, please attend in Committee Hearing Room F. Go to this link and click the February 23 date on the right-hand side of the page to see the agenda for the Joint Committee On Student Success. It is scheduled to run until 3 pm, so a great session to visit after the Day at the Legislature.

We are looking at HB 4033 -2 for election rules effects on 2018 referrals, HJR 201 A, housing, and HJR 203 A, health care. This session’s rapid processing saw rules suspended to allow progress before Thursday’s deadline for bills lacking committee hearing assignments. Bills either proceeded forward apace, were pulled for Interim refinement, or stopped. 

Your natural resources team has prioritized Clean Energy Jobs (SB 1507 or HB 4001) and fees for the Dept. of Environmental Quality to implement Cleaner Air Oregon.  Agencies have small budget “asks” that we will follow. Some land use bills are still alive.

If you plan to attend the LWVOR Day at the Legislature on Friday, and have time at 8:30 am, please step into Committee Hearing Room A.  Go to this link and click on the February 23date on the right-hand side of the page to see the agenda for the Senate Committee On Finance and Revenue.


Action Alert! Support amended National Popular Vote bill

An alert from the League of Women Voters of Oregon:

ACTION ALERT!  Support amended

National Popular Vote bill.
Date:   February 19, 2018
To:       All League Members and Oregonians
From:   Norman Turrill, LWVOR President
Marge Easley, LWVOR National Popular Vote Portfolio
Contact your state senator immediately to support amended 
National Popular Vote bill.
The League has just learned that Senate President Courtney has decided to allow a clean version (without a referral to the voters) of the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill to be heard very soon in the Senate Rules Committee. This decision was unexpected, and it is critical that we make the most of this sudden opportunity.
Please call or email your state senator as soon as possible to urge support for the version of the NPV bill that has already passed the Oregon House four times. And, if you’re attending Day at the Legislature on February 23, please make an appointment beforehand to meet with your senator or his/her staff to discuss points listed below.
Bipartisan support is critical for Senate passage. Senator Courtney, who favors a referral version, has indicated he will be voting no on the bill, and it is unclear how many Democratic senators will follow his lead. It is important to concisely convey to your senator why NPV is needed and to counter the most common misconceptions. Here are some talking points to help:
  • The Electoral College in its current form creates an unfair system and damages public trust in U.S. elections. It allows voters in some states to have more voting power than others. NPV will ensure that every vote in every state has equal weight.
  • Our founding fathers chose the elector system for reasons that are no longer applicable– to ensure that the President wasn’t selected by uneducated commoners and to appease slave states by counting slaves (3/5 of a person) in their population totals. Today’s Electoral College system is a result of decades of change brought about by increasingly powerful political parties, as well as winner-take-all state laws. These changes were never envisioned by the founding fathers.
  • The argument that the current Electoral College protects the interests of smaller states is not valid. In fact, the winner-take-all aspect of the Electoral College gives outsized power to 11 swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin), where the two major political parties have similar levels of voter support. The others, including Oregon, are written off as the province of one party or the other before the first primary votes are even cast and receive scant campaign attention. It is easy to see why voters in non-swing states come to believe their votes don’t really matter.
  • The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country. Also, the U.S. is the ONLY practicing democracy where the candidate with the most votes is not assured of being chosen the national leader. Polls have shown for decades that more than 70% of voters, in both major parties, have felt that the candidate with the most popular votes should be the winner.
  • The National Popular Vote (NPV) Interstate Compact does not change the Constitution or abolish the Electoral College. It is an agreement among participating states to pledge their electors’ votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country. It takes effect as soon as the NPV bill is enacted by states possessing enough electoral votes to reach the threshold of 270 (out of 538), the number needed to elect a President. This bill has already been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes-61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it.
We appreciate your immediate action on this issue. You can find your senator’s contact information here.
For more information, contact Marge Easley, NPV Portfolio Chair, marge.easley@frontier.com.

Alert – Senate Judiciary hearing for HB 4145 (close boyfriend loophole) and other legislation

A hearing [see item 1, below] and possible work session is now scheduled for tomorrow20 February, at 8am. If you want to testify, registration will open at 7:30am. Testimony is limited to 2 minutes per person. Written testimony will also be accepted.

You can also influence the proceedings by calling and emailing to your own senators and to senate and committee leadership (Pres. Courtney, Senator Prozanski, chair of Judiciary Committee) as well as committee members.
Activity in the Oregon legislature will be fast and furious from now until March 9th. Here are some hearings and actions that may be of interest:
  1. Re HB 4145, closing the boyfriend loop hole: bill passed by the House and referred to the Senate. Sen. Courtney, President of the Senate, has not been strong in pushing for gun safety measures. Now is the time to call your own Senator, chair of the Senate Judiciary committee (Prozanski), and Senator Courtney to ask for positive action on this bill.
  2. Re HJR 203, establishing access to health care as a basic right in the Oregon constitution: Public hearing and possible work session scheduled by Senate Health Care for 2/19/2018,  1pm. Call or write ASAP to support this bill: Chair – Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson; other membership see https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2018R1/Committees/SHC/Overview
  3. RE HB 4160Tuesday, February 20th at 3pm, the Senate Workforce committee will hold an informational hearing on the organization / progress of a work group devoted to Family and Medical Leave Insurance. It is possible that this will be a joint hearing with the House Early Childhood and  Family Support committee. This will be a technical hearing on how a work group effort is progressing. As expected, there will probably be no movement on HB 4160 this session. But effort by a task force will continue throughout the year. This hearing may be an opportunity to hear how that effort is likely to be conducted.
  4. The two major environmental bills (HB 4001, SB 1507), the Clean Energy Jobs bill, have moved into Rules and Ways and Means committees, respectively. No hearings are scheduled, so calls, emails, and letters are best means to push for either of these bills.
A lot of bills have been passed and referred to Ways and Means or to Rules. Third readings (final votes) are still upcoming on some bills, but the list above reflects NOW’s highest interests / priorities. Not sure whether official endorsements were ever made by NOW except for HB 4145 and HB 4160, which have been priority concepts for NOW for a long time. But you are free to work for or against specific bills as an individual, regardless.
On the national level, we should all be looking for actions (demonstrations, protests, letter writing/ telephone campaigns) to try to push Congress into action on DACA and on gun safety measures.

GOP Tries to Erase Constitutional Church-State Separation

Christian counseling has taken a new meaning during the time of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Reports about his paying off $130,000 to a porn star after a sexual liaison with her led to James Bakker…

Source: GOP Tries to Erase Constitutional Church-State Separation | Nel’s New Day

“Challenges Facing Lincoln County Latino Community” – Topic of Joint NOW/LWV Forum

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for women (NOW) and the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Lincoln County will jointly host a discussion about “Challenges Facing the Lincoln County Latino Community.” Leading the discussion will be Omar Antonio-Hernandez, Executive Director of Centro de Ayuda, and Centro’s board chair, Virginia Gibbs. The discussion will take place in the McEntee Meeting Room, Newport Public Library, 35 NW Nye Street, Newport at 6 pm. The public is welcome.

The Latino population of Lincoln County is approaching 10%, and is close to 20% in Newport. Latinos contribute significantly to the economic wellbeing of Lincoln County. They also face challenges not faced by others in the community. Antonio-Hernandez and Gibbs will discuss these challenges and what is and/or can be done to address them.

Following the discussion, Central Oregon Coast NOW and LWV of Lincoln County will conduct brief business meetings. Anyone interested in the discussion or in NOW or LWV is encouraged to attend.

For more information:
NOW website:  www.centraloregoncoastnow.org
LWV website:  www.lwvlincolncounty.org

Can These Stoneman Douglas High School Students Finally Break the Gun Control Deadlock?

Students are planning nationwide #MarchForOurLives protests.

Source: Can These Stoneman Douglas High School Students Finally Break the Gun Control Deadlock? – Mother Jones