Heading for the legislative finish line – Rep. David Gomberg and the thundering herd….

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May 292015
 
Rep. David Gomberg D-Otis

Rep. David Gomberg
D-Otis

From Rep. David Gomberg

The Final Stretch: The legislative session is now in the final month and the pace has been fast and furious. Yesterday alone over 50 measures were considered on the House floor.

Another sure sign that the legislature is entering the final stretch is the May revenue forecast and how much the legislature has available to spend.

State Capitol Salem

State Capitol
Salem

State Revenues look healthy

The good news is that Oregon is getting better. And that’s very good news. The forecast shows that revenue has exceeded earlier projections by over $350 million. Significantly, this does not mean that any individual Oregonian paid extra. It just means that more Oregonians are working; that’s good for them, and good for state and local budgets. Revenues are up so much, in fact, that it has triggered the constitutionally-required return of “kicker” revenue to Oregonians in the form of a tax credit on next years’ filings.

An important consideration, however, is to remember that during the long recession, we cut programs, reduced our school year, and put off maintenance of our highways and bridges. We’ve been playing catch-up since, but still have a long way to go. Some argue that we should use the kicker to speed our recovery and restore cuts to schools, public safety, and infrastructure.

Others argue that we ought to put some money away in a “rainy day fund” for future downturns so we can avoid our current problems in the future. Of course, many believe that the money should be returned to taxpayers exactly as the Constitution requires.

For my own part, I evaluate state decisions much the same as I do decisions in my own small business. We have a situation where sales are higher than expected. We have no money in savings. And we have needed repairs. Do we use the extra money to save for the slow winter months, make repairs, or return a portion to our customers?

Since Oregon voters implemented this unique-in-the-nation tax reduction measure, I think they should have the opportunity to discuss how well it has worked and possibly refine it—I would like to see this go to the ballot.

Commons Graphic

Commons Graphic

Education funding

In addition to the kicker, the forecast also provided additional revenue to the state and in accordance with earlier commitments, 40% was immediately allocated to our schools. This $104 million brings the current commitment to about $7.36 billion, which is more than 25% above the funding level four years ago and $400 million more than the governor’s recommended budget for this biennium.

I have always advocated funding schools at a level that provides our children with the quality education they need for today’s economy. Indeed, I speak out frequently about the shortage of teaching days, low graduation rates, crowded classes, and the affect these problems have on our kids and our communities.

This second installment is good news. But local school administrators say they need more and are asking for a total of $7.5 billion. My task in the final days of this session is to stretch budgets further and work toward that goal.

Coast Guard helo Courtesy photo

Coast Guard helo
Courtesy photo

Bills with Local Effects: I am happy to report that several coastal projects are going forward. Here are the details:

HJM 20: Together with the bipartisan, bicameral Coastal Caucus, my office has been working on a resolution which would urge Congress to fund the Coast Guard’s US Air facility in Newport, Oregon in perpetuity.

In October of 2014 the US Coast Guard announced its decision to close the central coast’s facility, an action that resulted in significant opposition from the local community. This resolution sends a clear message that the Coast Guard facility is absolutely critical to the health and safety of coastal communities—and indeed of Oregonians as a whole.

As I said in my floor speech, “The Coast Guard saves lives; losing this Coast Guard facility will cost lives.”

The resolution passed the House with unanimous support and is currently working its way through the senate. The federal funding bill is currently being considered by the US Congress. HJM 20 sends a strong message that Oregon supports the Newport rescue helicopter.

Dr. Lavern Webber As he will always be remembered A relentless contributor to his community and to  marine science.

Dr. Lavern Webber
As he will always be remembered
A relentless contributor to his community and to marine science.

Honoring Dr. Lavern Webber

HCR 12: This week the governor met in her ceremonial office with the family of Dr. Lavern Webber to celebrate a resolution honoring his life. HCR 12 recognizes the contributions of Dr. Weber to his community, to the development of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and to the lives of his many students and staff at Oregon State University. Forty years ago I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Webber as a student. His guidance had a profound influence in my life and I am proud to have been a chief sponsor of a resolution honoring him.

 Posted by at 2:31 PM

WAVES PUBLICATION PARTY FRIDAY NIGHT (TONIGHT) AT NEWPORT OCCC CAMPUS

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May 292015
 
Oregon Coast Community College, Newport Campus

Oregon Coast Community College, Newport Campus

A last-minute reminder that the annual Waves Publication Party is going on tonight (May 29th) from 5:30-7:30 at the Newport OCCC Campus, in the Patrick O’Connor Community Room.

Waves is the College’s literary journal, published once a year by the English Department, and includes writing and artwork from faculty, staff, and mostly students here at OCCC.

At this party, the people in the publication are given an opportunity to read from their works, artists will “show off” their art, and everyone will have a chance to just mingle and visit with each other. The publication will also be for sale for $14 per copy (cash or checks only, please), and those published in it will also receive their complimentary copy.

It’s always a fun night, with free refreshments provided by the English Department. All are welcome, so bring your family and friends!

Oregon Coast Community College’s Central County Campus is located at 400 SE College Way in Newport. Follow the sign at the “big boat,” and head east of Coast Hwy. 101 about 1/2 mile south of the Yaquina Bridge.

 Posted by at 2:06 PM

Forward movement on state ethics reform in the Legislature

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May 292015
 
Ethics Reform bills progressing with little bipartisan bickering

Ethics Reform bills progressing with little bipartisan bickering

Bipartisan Ethics Commission Reform Passes House

HB 2019 speeds up investigation process, broadens commission membership.

A bill passed Friday morning in the Oregon House of Representatives will require the Oregon Government Ethics Commission speed up their preliminary investigations and expand and broaden the commission’s membership.

House Bill 2019, part of a bipartisan package of ethics reforms bills proceeding through the House and the Senate, will require the executive director of the Ethics Commission to complete a preliminary investigation within 30 days — dramatically faster than the existing 135-day timeline. This will give the public a better assurance that the commission is proceeding with investigations in a timely manner.

HB 2019 also expands the membership of the Ethics Commission from seven to nine members. Importantly, the bill broadens the nominating authority. Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate will have the authority to recommend two members each to the commission. The governor will appoint one member.

“The public has asked us to improve accountability and transparency,” said House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene & Junction City). “They’re not looking for more partisan political fights. Our constituents want us to come together to find bipartisan solutions to this issue.”

“House Bill 2019, along with an impeachment bill we passed last week and two other bills that will be coming forward shortly, are great examples of bipartisan work on ethics reform,” Rep. Hoyle added. “These issues are far too important to be tied up in partisan politics.”

HB 2019 passed by a unanimous vote and will head to the Senate.

 Posted by at 1:47 PM

House Votes to Update Marriage Statutes to be More Gender-Neutral

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May 292015
 
State Legislature Salem

State Legislature
Salem

From Oregon State Legislature

HB 2478 will update Oregon’s marriage laws to be more inclusive of all Oregon families.

Today, the Oregon House voted to pass House Bill 2478, which will update Oregon statutes referring to marriage to make them more gender-neutral and inclusive of all Oregon married couples and families.

Last year, federal Judge Michael McShane issued a ruling barring the state of Oregon from denying the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-gender couples. Because of this court case, Oregon joined many other states and the District of Columbia and recognized the freedom to marry the person you love regardless of their gender.

After the court ruled, it became evident that statutory references relating to marriage that were specific to gender existed throughout the Oregon Revised Statutes and that would need to be updated to align with the court’s ruling. HB 2478 replaces the phrase “husband and wife” with the words “spouses married to each other” throughout the Oregon Statutes. It addresses statutes that deal with real property, tax and estate, civil rights in reference to marriage, parental obligations and even the dissolution of a marriage.

“There are thousands of ordinary loving couples in Oregon, like my husband Jim and I, who have been getting married since Judge McShane’s ruling” said Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland), who co-carried the bill. “Our laws should reflect much needed updates for these families, including my own.”

House Bill 2478 passed by 38-17 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

 Posted by at 12:23 PM

McMinnville doesn’t have to bite their nails anymore…

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May 292015
 
Fighter plan parked outside the main interior exhibit area southeast of McMinnville.  Waterpark has a 747 on the roof.

Fighter plane parked outside the main interior exhibit area southeast of McMinnville. Waterpark has a 747 on the roof.

The big Evergreen Air and Space Museum is going to stay put – looks like. A complicated financial deal that pays off the former owner’s bills leveraged by what was left of his assets has been agreed to. Once the courts say okay, life can get back to normal around the important tourist draw on Highway 99, southeast of town.

Here’s the story in the Oregonian. Click here.

 Posted by at 10:20 AM

Newport, Taft softball teams

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May 292015
 
Taft center fielder Kelsey Wilkinson drives one down the third base line in the Tigers’ first-round victory over Clatskanie (Photo by Marice Woodruff)

Taft center fielder Kelsey Wilkinson drives one down the third base line in the Tigers’ first-round victory over Clatskanie (Photo by Marice Woodruff)

Relive the opening round of the Class 3A and 4A OSAA high school State baseball and softball championship tournaments in a photo gallery by SportsLincolnCounty.com contributing photographers Lonnie French, Marice Woodruff and Robert William Smith with game coverage and previews of Friday’s quarterfinal match-ups involving Newport and Taft.

For complete coverage, go to SportsLincolnCounty.com or click here.

 Posted by at 9:34 AM

State Health confirms 7th Meningococcal Disease Case linked to Univ. of Oregon Outbreak

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May 292015
 
Meningococcus infection.  Goes after brain, spinal cord, respiratory system. Anti-bacterial medications are available along with new vaccines.

Meningococcus infection.
Goes after brain, spinal cord, respiratory system.
Anti-bacterial medications are available along with new vaccines.

Oregon Public Health officials are confirming a seventh case of meningococcal disease linked to a University of Oregon outbreak – a 52-year-old man who visited his daughter on the UO campus May 2-3. They say it’s proof the illness lingers on campus, and students should immediately get vaccinated.

The university worked quickly to provide preventive antibiotic treatment to the man’s close contacts. Oregon Public Health and Lane County Public Health continue to work closely with UO to investigate this outbreak.

Parents and other campus visitors are not at increased risk of exposure to meningococcal B disease by simply visiting the UO campus. However, they can help reduce the transmission risk by covering their cough; washing and sanitizing their hands often; not sharing drinks, utensils, cigarettes or other smoking equipment or personal cosmetics that touch the lips; and knowing that kissing poses a risk.

UO students should get vaccinated against the disease right away, and be sure to complete the dose series, which is offered in two- and three-dose courses. So far, more than 10,000 UO students have received the first dose of the meningitis B vaccine. The goal is to vaccinate all University of Oregon undergraduate students.

Additional information:
Public Health Division meningococcal facts at http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/DiseasesAZ/MeningococcalDisease/Pages/facts.aspx

UO meningitis B vaccine information at https://healthcenter.uoregon.edu/getthevax.aspx

 Posted by at 8:02 AM

After more than four centuries, Sir Francis Drake returns to run in the Newport Marathon to prove he was here first in 1579!

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May 292015
 

Bob Ward, Jr Running in Newport Marathon as Sir Francis Drake

Bob Ward, Jr
Running in Newport Marathon as Sir Francis Drake

Ward poised as fearless 16th Century explorer making landfall at Whale Cove, LIncoln County

Ward poised as fearless 16th Century explorer making landfall at Whale Cove, Lincoln County

A 49-year-old man is traveling from London, England, to Oregon to compete in the Newport Marathon on May 30th dressed as Sir Francis Drake. Bob Ward Junior will be running in the costume of the 16th century explorer to raise support for his father’s charity, the Drake in Oregon Society. Bob Ward Senior set up the Society in to uncover evidence that Sir Francis Drake landed at Whale Cove, Lincoln County, in 1579 during his voyage around the world.

Controversy has surrounded the site of Drake’s anchorage because the official log of his voyage was never made public, and there are conflicting accounts of whether he landed in California or Oregon.

Bob Senior has been carrying out research for 30 years after realizing that Whale Cove was the most likely location of Drake’s one-month stay before he and his crew set sail across the Pacific on the way back to England. Drake claimed the landing site for Queen Elizabeth the First, effectively establishing it as the first outpost of the British Empire.

The Drake in Oregon Society is currently funding an investigation in the Salmon River where one of Drake’s ships may have sunk. The Society’s activities have also been highlighted in an exhibition at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum. It will be Bob Junior’s first marathon. He lives in London where he is employed at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Bob Junior decided to run in this year’s Newport Marathon after being challenged by some of his brothers during a family reunion in London last Christmas. Two of his brothers, Alex, 48, and Murphy, 37, will also be taking part in the marathon.

Bob Junior has been training since January, and hopes to complete the marathon in less than five hours. His running outfit is based on the clothes worn by English noblemen during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First. He said: “I decided to run as Sir Francis Drake to generate support for my father’s non-profit organization, which is carrying out very important research to try to ensure Whale Cove is recognized as a site of outstanding historical significance. “It will be 436 years since Sir Francis Drake stepped ashore in Lincoln County and I hope to capture some of his spirit of adventure when I try to complete my first marathon in Newport.

“The race director for the marathon has told me that I might be the first runner who has competed in fancy dress. I have been wearing the costume and hat during some of my training runs to make sure it is not uncomfortable. I am also growing a beard to try to match Drake’s appearance. “I am expecting the marathon to be very challenging, but it will be worth it if I stimulate the curiosity of spectators about the connection between Sir Francis Drake and Lincoln County. It is more than four centuries since Drake set foot here during his epic voyage around the world, and so recognition of the historical importance of this place as the Lost Harbor is long overdue. “I hope some spectators may even be inspired to read about my father’s work on Drake in Oregon Society website, and perhaps persuaded to donate to it support efforts to discover more evidence about the Lost Harbor.”

“People can sponsor Bob’s run via the www.drakeinoregon.com web site (click here) See the intro at the bottom of the home page and follow the links to make a donation.”

Bob Ward Senior said: “I am really pleased that Bob wants to make this effort to help us complete our quest for hard evidence of Drake’s visit to Lincoln County, but I am a little worried that the costume may make the difficult task of completing his first marathon even harder. Hopefully people will take the opportunity of sponsoring his run and so help us to re-write this internationally important piece of local history.”

 Posted by at 7:58 AM

Weather or Not: It’s Cooler at the Coast

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May 292015
 

Chris Burns Weather

Friday, May 29th – Lincoln County

Summary: We just couldn’t buy a break yesterday as the overcast held firm. Without any direct sunlight the thermometer stopped in the 50s even in the Lincoln City Banana Belt. Northwest winds pretended it was a sunny day and blew 10-15 mph gusting into the 20s. After sunset, some light fog and beach haze settled-in, occasionally reducing visibility, and overnight lows sagged to around 50F. At dawn, there was fog along the beaches and over the headlands, low overcast above and a northerly breeze about 5 mph.

Past 24 Hours High/Low…
Lincoln City: 59F/54F
Depoe Bay: 56F/51F
Newport: 55F/50F
Waldport: 56F/51F
Yachats: 55F/51F

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Forecast: It looks like a hot one in the Valley today with the mercury climbing well into the 80s, but we’ll be cool as a cucumber on the Central Coast. Though predictions show today’s high a tad warmer than recently, nothing much past 65F is expected WON SUNBREAKShere, depending on when/if any sunbreaks appear. Like yesterday, it’s strictly a crap shoot. Cloudy skies are in the cards tonight along with some fog and a low of 50F. Tomorrow should continue mostly cloudy, a few peeks at the Sun and a high of 60F. Outlook is for changes beginning sometime Sunday as a slight chance of showers develops, turning to probable showers Sunday night through Monday, a chance of showers Tuesday, and then partly sunny and dry Wednesday and Thursday. Seasonal temperatures between 50F and 60F are projected throughout the period.

Surface Rescue

Call or email George today!

Travel: In the Coast Range today, becoming mostly sunny with 75-85F. Valley destinations are expecting sunshine and a high of 85F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast calls for sunny skies, light southwest winds, temps 85-90F. For the Cascades, there’s bare pavement on the highways this morning, temperatures are 50-60F; mostly sunny, slight chance of showers or thunderstorms, the snow level is above 8,000 feet. Outlook for weekend travelers is warm with dry pavement through Sunday, but possible wet roads Sunday night.

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Marine: Winds are N 5-10 knots with seas 5 feet at 6-8 seconds this morning. Look for a stretch of NW winds 10-15 WON MARINE WXknots and mixed swells 3-4 feet today through Sunday. Outlook is for a light sou’wester 10-15 knots on Monday as a weak front arrives in local waters, seas 4 feet or so. Westerly winds 10 knots and swells 4 feet are predicted for Tuesday. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you venture offshore.

On the Beach… Mostly cloudy, a little breezy, surf 2-3 feet (low).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
* Tides
05/29 Fri 10:38 AM 5.60 H
05/29 Fri 03:56 PM 2.20 L
05/29 Fri 10:19 PM 7.80 H
05/30 Sat 05:08 AM 0.37 L

goingductlesswithrickandjane.com

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In Short: Mainly overcast, moderate winds, partial clearing, then showers.

 Posted by at 7:52 AM

Bill Keeping Electronic Cigarettes From Minors Signed Into Law

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May 292015
 
Electronic Cigarette Witzman photo

Electronic Cigarette
Witzman photo

HB 2546 bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors

Rep. Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie) today applauded Gov. Kate Brown for signing House Bill 2546 into law. The bill, which passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate, bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and applies the Indoor Clean Air Act to e-cigarettes.

“Until now, kids had easy access to electronic cigarettes, and we know that many companies specifically target children with their marketing,” said Rep. Taylor. “This bill will ensure that we’re treating e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes, and that kids and the public will be protected from their negative health impacts.”

E-cigarettes, like regular cigarettes, will be regulated under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act and will not be able to be used in restaurants, bars, movie theaters, work places and indoor public places.

 Posted by at 7:50 AM