Quick update from the Oregon State Senate (Some really useful advice!)

OLIS. The Oregon Legislature has been in session for a month. We are certain you have seen the news on a variety of bills. Due to Committee assignments, many of us may not know what is happening elsewhere in the State Capitol. If you want to comment on a specific bill before a Committee, please submit your comments or testimony directly to the Committee if the bill gets a hearing. The best source for information is OLIS – the Oregon Legislative Information System at:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1

The OLIS page allows you to follow committees and bills in the upper right of the page. By clicking on ‘Bills’ you can find bills by sponsor, bill text which is a search engine, or a bill number. Once on a bill page, you can sign up for email alerts for that bill in the upper right of the page. You will then get an email when the bill text changes, analysis is updated, meeting materials are added, amendments are proposed, hearings are scheduled, and wealth of other information. The best way to stay informed, and influence legislation, is to submit testimony via the Oregon Legislative Information System.

State Federal Issues. Unlike Congress, and other States, the Oregon Legislature is a limited citizen legislature under the Oregon Constitution. We have no auditing powers, no investigative authority, and virtually no leverage with the Executive Branch other than to pass a bill hoping it will be followed. We used to claim the Oregon Constitution required the Legislature to balance the budget, but that is now in question due to Article IX Section 6 which states we must raise taxes if the Executive Branch spends more funds than budgeted. Strange times. This being said, the Oregon State Senate has NO federal authority nor does our own Congressional delegation listen to us much. However, some days half the calls and emails, sometimes 100s to thousands, are about events in Washington DC for which we have ZERO influence in most cases. If you have an issue with the federal government or Washington D.C. your best influence is to contact your United States Senator at the following link:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/OR

We recommend contacting U.S. Senators as their email systems accept emails from IP Addresses from all Oregon zip codes. Many U.S. Representative offices are set up to reject zip codes outside their boundaries. Hence, we even have problems contacting U.S. Representatives.

Award will honor Depoe Bay woman

The Oregon Commission for Women (OCFW) recently announced its recipients of the 2016 Women of Achievement Awards, and one of those named is a Lincoln County resident.   Nancy Campbell Mead, of Depoe Bay, was selected for this honor because she “is a tireless champion for the rights of all woman and girls,” commission ocials said in a press release.  

After a distinguished career as a judge of the district and circuit courts for Washington County, working on domestic violence issues on behalf of vulnerable communities, Campbell Mead retired and moved to Depoe Bay, where she advocates full time for women’s equity on the local, state and national levels. After founding the highly successful Central Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) with community and educational services for women and girls, she joined the NOW national board with specific interests for promoting the national Equal Rights Amendment and ending mass incarceration. Her advocacy is inspired by her three granddaughters and her wish for an equitable future for them.  

The other woman selected for the award was Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura of Lake Oswego for her role as an advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees. A partner with Marandas Sinlapasai, P.C., she represents clients on general immigration law matters and focuses her practice on assisting children who are survivors of domestic violence, serious crime and human tracking.  

“Each of these women is a dynamic leader and role model with a strong record of service to the on the local, state and national levels. We are pleased to honor these extraordinary women,” said Dr. Barbara Ramírez Spencer, OCFW chair.  

The honorees will receive their awards in a ceremony to be held March 8.   Since 1985, the Oregon Commission for Women has presented the Woman of Achievement Award to women in Oregon for leadership and success in their area of expertise, promoting the status of women in society, refl ecting a commitment to equity and diversity, and serving as exemplary role models.  

The Oregon Commission for Women was legislatively established in 1983 to work for women’s equality. The commission does this by advocating for women in the community, providing information on women to the governor and state legislature, serving as a link for women to state agencies, and providing services to individual women in Oregon.

Newport News Times, February 24, 2017, B4

Five Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon

For an Oregon where all women and girls thrive, all women and girls need to have equitable access to the opportunities it takes to thrive. But right now, many of Oregon’s women and girls of color do not. Because of the way race and gender intersect, women and girls of color face disproportionate barriers to success.

While it will take public policies to tackle the systemic nature of the gender and racial inequities found in Count Her In, each one of us can also make a difference. Watch our “Eight That Can’t Wait:” Systemic Racism discussion, and check out the resources below.

Five Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon:

  1. Deepen your understanding. If you identify as white, educate yourself on what racism is, and how it has shaped and continues to shape our country, state, and communities. If you read one thing, start with Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo. Resources:
  2. Diversify your newsfeed. Seek out the perspectives of people of color, particularly women of color. Simply following (click “Follow” rather than “Add friend”) these voices on Facebook (or Twitter) will bring them into your newsfeed. Resources:
  3. Listen to people of color. Organizations led by people of color have been advocating for racial justice for a long time. Look to them for guidance on how to best address systemic racism. Sign up for the newsletters of these organizations, and follow them on social media. Resources:
  4. Center voices of color. Amplify the voices of people of color in meetings. Ask your HR department about your company’s diversity and inclusion policies, and request an all-staff anti-racism workshop. Don’t put together or participate in all-white panels. Make sure representatives from communities of color are invited to the decision-making table, listened to, amplified, and have their needs met. Ask leadership how decisions will affect women and girls of color. Resources:
  5. Interrupt racism: hold yourself and others accountable. Commit to opposing racism in your personal and professional life, every day. This means examining and interrupting your own racist thoughts and actions. This means holding others accountable at home, at work, at school, in media, in your community, and in elected office. This means using your “power and privilege responsibly in the service of justice.” We encourage white people to come from a place of empathy and compassion when addressing racism. Resources:
Thank you to our wonderful panelists for sharing their expertise and powerful personal experiences with us.

Panelists (left to right):

 The Oregon Women’s Foundation hosted a conversation on systemic racism in Oregon earlier in February, 2017.  It was part of its “Eight that Can’t Wait” discussion series that arose out of its 2016 “Count Her In” Report on the status of women in Oregon

League of Women Voters – Oregon ACTION ALERT!

ACTION NEEDED: Ask the State Land Board not to sell off the Elliott State Forest!
This Tuesday, the Department of State Lands will decide whether to proceed with the sale of our first State Forest, the Elliott State Forest. Tell them no!
The State Land Board agenda for February 14th pushes for privatization: “The Department will initiate negotiations in good faith with the plan proposers towards a binding Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA), and an eventual transfer of ownership of the Elliott Property to the Elliott Forest LLC, unless and to the extent the Board directs the Department otherwise.”
The proposed sale would:
  • Sell off our public lands
  • Severely reduce protections for spotted owls, marbled murrelets and Coho Salmon
  • Open thousands of acres of rare older forests to industrial-style clearcutting and pesticide spraying
Only members of the State Land Board can stop this sale. The League of Women Voters of Oregon is working with our Conservation allies on long-term solutions that would provide needed money to schools and education, protect critical forest values, create jobs in the timber industry and other fields, and maintain public access.  Governor Brown has provided this opportunity to reconsider the sale.
 
Please get involved NOW!:
  • Call Governor Kate Brown (503) 378-4582
    Treasurer Tobias Read (503) 378-4329 and

    Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (503) 986-1523 and ask them to keep the Elliott State Forest public and protected.

  • Attend the State Land Board meeting next Tuesday, February 14th-10 a.m. Speak up & wear green. Details here.
  • Send a personalized note to Governor Brown, Secretary of State Richardson and Treasurer Read sharing how important this spectacular forest is to you and future generations.  Once sold, its public value is no longer in our control.

Central Oregon Coast NOW Endorses the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Act

The Board of Central Oregon Coast NOW unanimously voted to endorse the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Act.  Several members will be going to the state Capitol on February 28 to show support for the bill.  This Act has also been endorsed by the Board of Oregon NOW.

Reproductive Health Equity Act
Leading the Nation in Progressive Reproductive Health and Justice!Thank you for signing on as endorsing organization for the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA). This legislation is an important leap toward ensuring that all Oregonians have meaningful access to the care they need. The RHEA of 2017 will call upon the Oregon Legislature to:

* Close loopholes in the ACA provision that prohibits insurers from imposing co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance on preventive reproductive health services.

* Add abortion to the list of reproductive health services that commercial plans must cover at zero out-of-pocket cost.

* Establish coverage for the full range of reproductive health care, including family planning, abortion and postpartum care, for Oregonians who are categorically excluded from health programs due to citizenship status.

* Codify a nondiscrimination clause that prohibits discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of gender identity, in reproductive health coverage.

Access to reproductive health care is critical for the health and economic security of all Oregonians. That’s why everyone in Oregon, regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity or type of insurance, needs access to the full range of reproductive health services.

In Solidarity,
Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon: ACLU of Oregon, APANO, Family Forward, NARAL Pro-Choice of Oregon, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and Western States Center

 

People in Salem, Ore., protesting for women’s rights in solidarity with the march in Washington.CreditAnna Reed/Statesman-Journal, via Associated Press

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, coverage of birth control with no co-payment is one of many benefits that Americans could lose. Now legislators in Oregon have introduced a bill intended to protect access to birth control in the state, along with a broad range of other reproductive health care services, including abortion.

The measure would require insurers in Oregon to cover all types of contraceptive drugs and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration with no co-payment, co-insurance or deductible. It would extend the same requirement to a number of reproductive health services, including prenatal care, well-woman visits, screening for sexually transmitted infections, voluntary sterilization and abortion.

The bill also includes a provision that would prohibit insurers from discriminating against patients based on gender identity — for example, by refusing to cover gynecological exams for transgender women.

Under the Affordable Care Act, 30 million women gained co-pay-free access to preventive services like contraception, according to an estimate by the Department of Health and Human Services. An increase in the use of long-acting birth control methods has helped decrease the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion nationwide.

By codifying the protections of the Affordable Care Act, the bill would protect Oregonians’ access to birth control and other preventive health care in the event of a repeal.

But the Oregon bill would go beyond the Affordable Care Act by establishing a comprehensive list of essential reproductive health services that must be covered without a co-payment. Its sponsors recognized that people need access to the full range of reproductive health care in order to participate fully in society and the economy. Especially for patients with high-deductible health plans, abortion can be prohibitively expensive even if it is covered.

The bill, which is expected to come up for debate in March, may serve as a model for other states. New York is already moving in the right direction, with regulations announced this month to require insurers to provide co-pay-free coverage of contraceptives and abortions deemed medically necessary by a doctor.

Oregon’s bill is a powerful defense, at the state level, of necessary reproductive health care.

NUMBER OF MARCHERS TOTALED 1,600

By Brenda Willis, Toledo

On Jan. 21, I stood outside the Hallmark Resort, after counting o250 marchers who had arrived first in the Stronger Together March in Newport. I raised my hands and voice to stop anyone else from entering. I yelled and the crowd repeated my words. It was the only way to be heard outside in Oregon’s wind.

“We have a delightful problem.” Repeat. “There are 1,600 marchers” Cheers and repeat. “The Hallmark Resort is a great partner with us, and only 250 can be inside at any one time.”  

I say thank you to the marchers who were the stardust blessing Newport and each other on that day. You cheered when we sent you to port-a-potties instead of inside for coee and cookies. You moved across the street and listened to spontaneous speeches, line by line.   Who came? Locals. Portlanders, Californians, moms, daughters, wives, husbands, sons, dads, single and married, gay, straight, transgender, questioning, Latina, black, Asian, native, white: Americans all. We marched alone and holding hands, pushing babies and walkers, “first time” and “long time” marchers. A former Lincoln County resident rode a bus from Albany. Some decided to march after watching President Trump’s inauguration. Others signed up weeks before. We expected 400, then four times that arrived. Estimates are that 5 million human beings marched together around the world on Jan. 21.  

I want to thank each marcher, each citizen, and I celebrate the safe, peaceful and strong way each of you participated in the march. Our keynote speaker, Jenn Burleton, of TransActiveOnline.org, challenged us: “Can we fight together and not fight each other?”  

Please be stronger together as you join others and write your elected ocials, stay informed and get involved somewhere. Let’s make democracy work in Lincoln County, in Oregon, and in the United States of America. It was an honor to see you and learn some of your stories.

Letter to the Editor, Newport News Times, January 27, 2017, A6

Mayor-Elect Ted Wheeler Says Portland Will be a Sanctuary City for Immigrants, Despite Donald Trump’s Threats.

Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities.”

By , November 15, 2016

2016_0902immigration

Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler is expected to announce today that this city will continue to serve as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants threatened with deportation.

Wheeler’s declaration comes in the faces of threats by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to crack down on what are called “sanctuary cities” by withholding federal funds.

“Portland is a city that values inclusion, diversity, and has been welcoming to thousands of people from around the world who now proudly call the Rose City home,” Wheeler tells WW.

“We will always see ourselves as a sanctuary city, and we will continue to be welcoming to everyone. President-Elect Donald Trump will be the president of all of America, and that requires an understanding of the values that drive Portland and other cities. These are our values.”

Trump hasn’t spelled out the details of his threat to withhold federal funds. It seems like likely, though, that he’s regurgitating the Republican talking point on cities that resist the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s request to local law-enforcement to hold undocumented people in jail after an arrest so that feds can deport them.

But Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, who runs local jails, is unlikely to change the department’s current practice of ignoring requests from ICE to hold people for an extra two business days.

(The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

To change its policy would defy a U.S. District Court ruling from 2014. In that case, the judge ruled that Clackamas County had violated a woman’s constitutional rights by holding her at ICE’s request.

A newly reconfigured Supreme Court could reverse that ruling. In the meantime, there’s not much the Republicans could do. That doesn’t mean they won’t try to withhold funding.

“There’s reason to think that President-elect Donald Trump might do that,” says Mat dos Santos, legal director at the civil-liberties group, ACLU of Oregon. “Now we also strongly believe that that would unconstitutional.”

San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle all have sanctuary-city laws at the local level; Portland does not. In Oregon, it’s a state law that generally forbids state and local government resources from using public resources to enforce immigration laws.

The idea behind the laws is at least in part that everyone will be safer if undocumented immigrants can go to the police with information on crimes without fearing that they or whoever they are reporting will necessarily be deported.

“Immigrants are really deeply rooted in our communities and our families particularly in the Portland metro area,” says Dos Santos. “Having police help ICE carry out mass deportation will cause human suffering as families are torn apart.  On a purely human emotional level, it’s important.”

Anti-immigrant groups are backing a ballot measure to repeal the law, while civil liberties groups see ways that the state or the city could further protect immigrants by declining to share information with the federal authorities.

Civil liberties groups say ICE seeks to deport undocumented people in cases where police charge someone for a minor crime.

“The tamale lady gets a violation because she’s selling on the street corners, and suddenly she’s being deported,” says Dos Santos.

http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/11/15/mayor-elect-ted-wheeler-says-portland-will-be-a-sanctuary-city-for-immigrants-despite-donald-trumps-threats/

 

Oregon elections officials: Today’s the day to mail in your ballot

This article was published yesterday – so it may now be TOO LATE to MAIL in your ballot.  Instead, DROP YOUR BALLOT OFF IN A BALLOT BOX close to you (most city halls and courthouses).  Oregon Ballot Box Locator

voting

Ballots for the Nov. 8 general election should be mailed today, Nov. 1, if voters want to be guaranteed that they will arrive in time to be counted, elections officials say. (The Oregonian/Staff) (Ross William Hamilton, The Oregonian)

By Dana Tims | The Oregonian/OregonLive The Oregonian  November 1, 2016

Elections officials have a short but pointed message for anyone who hasn’t yet voted, but still plans to drop their ballot in the nearest mailbox: Today’s the day.

If, that is, voters want to be absolutely certain that their ballots arrive in time for Tuesday’s 8 p.m. voting deadline.

“The United States Postal Service has notified us that ballots could take up to 5–7 days to reach county elections offices once they are put in the mail,” Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins said in a statement. “Given Oregon’s geographic diversity, delivery schedules will vary across the state.”

Officials in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties, meanwhile are advising voters that Thursday represents the drop-dead day for making sure their votes are counted if they are relying on mail service in the metro area.

“The key is giving yourself plenty of time,” said Tim Scott, Multnomah County‘s elections director. “Where ever you are and how ever you are planning on voting, make a plan now on how you’re going to return your ballot.”

Waiting past Thursday means voters will need to personally drop off their ballots, he said. That can be done at the county’s elections headquarters, in drop boxes located in all 19 county library branches or at eight 24-hour drop sites spread around the county. Exact locations of all drop sites can be viewed on the county’s website.

Similarly, the Secretary of State’s website includes all drop sites across the state.

Voters who have lost their ballots and need replacements, meanwhile, can also visit their county’s website to make arrangements to get new ones.

— Dana Tims

dtims@oregonian.com

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/oregon_elections_officials_tod.html