Oregon

Oregon lawmakers are demanding the removal of the Mississippi state flag from display in front of the Oregon capitol.

Oregonians could buy recreational marijuana from stores starting in October under a measure approved Thursday by the Oregon House.

Oregon Senate Approves Tuition Waiver Program

Jul 2, 2015

Oregon students could soon have an easier time paying for community college. The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would waive tuition for some high school graduates.

Oregon House Passes Bill To Boost Speed Limits

Jul 2, 2015

Speed limits throughout eastern Oregon could increase under a bill moving through the state Legislature.

Pot Advocates Gather For Midnight Portland Party

Jul 1, 2015
miss.libertine/FLIKR

Wednesday marks the legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon. A crowd of pot advocates gathered at midnight near the Burnside Bridge in Portland to celebrate the change in drug policy.

The city’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws helped organize the event.

Russ Belville is executive director of the Portland group. He says they weren’t initially planning a large event. 

The voter-approved Measure 91 is now in effect and adults in Oregon can now legally possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes.

An Oregon legislative panel has signed off on a plan that would ensure the state's passenger rail service will run at least two more years along the I-5 corridor.

WHATSLEGALOREGON.COM

Recreational marijuana will soon be legal to use in Oregon and the state Tuesday unveiled a public education campaign meant to help people understand the new law.

The ad campaign is aimed at 18-to-35 year-olds. It uses social media and commercials. One ad says, "Starting July 1, adults 21 and older in Oregon can possess and use recreational marijuana at home or on private property. But public use is still illegal."

Oregon's unemployment rate rose slightly in May to 5.3 percent. That’s up from 5.2 percent in April.

According to the Oregon Employment Department, the rate was still lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in May.

The rate in Oregon is near the lowest it’s been during the last 40 years.

Nick Beleiciks is a state employment economist.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law Monday the first ethics bill to reach her desk since she took office in February.

Lane County Won’t Enforce New State Gun Law

Jun 3, 2015
Rod Waddington

Calling it an “unfunded mandate” the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday not to enforce a new Oregon law that expands background checks for gun sales.

The vote was 4-to-1 in favor of the resolution which states support for the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The board heard from Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp who says his department can’t afford to enforce the expanded background checks.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a bill that would for the first time officially define the spouse or partner of a governor.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown said the state IT manager who leaked thousands of her predecessor's emails should not be prosecuted.

BLM Proposes Sage Grouse Protection Plans

May 28, 2015
Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

The BLM is proposing actions like improving habitat, managing fire more carefully, and preventing habitat fragmentation.

Dan Morse is with the Oregon Natural Desert Association. He's pleased that the plan calls for protections for two of the state’s most important habitat strongholds.

“Our hope is that those protections will be meaningful. That being said we cannot only focus on those large areas. Because disconnecting sage grouse populations is a sure recipe for their extirpation,” says Morse.

Supporters of a proposal to extend paid sick time to most Oregon workers say the legislation has stalled.

Ore. Governor Declares More Drought Emergencies

May 22, 2015
Bert Kaufmann

Governor Kate Brown declared drought emergencies in eight additional counties around Oregon Friday, bringing the total to 15.

She also released a public service announcement launching #ORdrought.

“It may look green now, but we are going to experience one of the worst droughts in the history of our state. Snow pack is at historic lows and severe water shortages are nearly a certainty in many areas,” says Brown.

Brown added that it’s likely to be a difficult fire season.

Oregon is looking for volunteers for a new pay-by-the-mile tax.

Oregon lawmakers will consider a proposal that would allow women to get oral contraceptives and contraceptive patches without a doctor's prescription.

Oregon could join a national movement to change the way the president is elected.

Oregon economists told lawmakers Thursday that a robust economy means they'll have more money to spend on schools, human services and public safety.

A measure that would require many Oregon employers to provide paid sick leave is poised to advance in Salem.

NOAA

Regional power managers are meeting in Portland this week. One issue they're looking at is how drought conditions across the Northwest may affect the region's supply of hydropower.

Water supply forecasts are looking bleak for many Northwest rivers this year. Snowpack levels in many areas are far below average, and they're not likely to improve.

John Fazio is a power systems analyst for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. He said that will mean less water in rivers and less hydropower.

The Oregon Supreme Court tossed out much of the state legislature's 2013 attempts to curb pension payouts to retired public workers.

An Oregon judge has proposed awarding a same-sex couple $135,000 in damages after a bakery refused to make a cake for their wedding.

Supporters and opponents of a measure that would require criminal background checks on private gun sales testified at the Oregon Capitol Wednesday.

The battle over raising Oregon's minimum wage will take center stage in the state legislature Monday.

Beth77 / Flickr

Oregon lawmakers decided Wednesday to make it less likely for people who win big at the Oregon Lottery to keep getting public assistance.

The Lottery likes to dangle the possibility of winning big bucks in front of its players. But a 2013 state audit found that in one two-year period, hundreds of Oregonians continued to receive food stamps despite winning lottery payouts of $5,000 or more.

Republican Representative Andy Olson said it went up from there.

"There was one person who won more than $900,000,” Olson said. “So we had a little bit of a problem."

Curtis Perry / Flickr

We know the old saying that "speed kills" applies to people who drive recklessly. But does it also apply to legislation to raise highway speed limits? An interstate speed limit increase in Washington looks dead, but appears to have a chance in Oregon.

Sean Mack / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon's congressional delegation is hoping to secure a two year extension of timber payments to rural counties. The Secure Rural Schools provision is in a bill the U.S. House is voting on this week.

The Secure Rural Schools Act provides payments in lieu of taxes for timber-dependent counties in Oregon and other states.

Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio said this bill helps counties while lawmakers try to find a long term solution to funding shortfalls.

The Oregon House is set to vote Monday on a measure that would require a doctor or nurse to be on hand when you donate a pint of blood.

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