Trump’s New Plan for Opioid Epidemic

President Donald Trump unveiled his plan for fighting the nation’s opioid epidemic today. Parts of the plan have already received plenty of criticism, specifically a proposal for the death penalty to be applied to drug traffickers.

First Lady Melania Trump introduced the President in New Hampshire, a state then candidate Trump described as a “drug infested den,” but it was here that Trump announced his new plan.

The president’s initiative is getting the most attention for its crackdown on drug traffickers.
“If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers we are wasting our time,” said Trump, “and that toughness includes the death penalty.”

Trump also repeated his demand for a wall on the US/Mexican border, saying it will stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.

The White House is also taking aim at the health care industry and looking to stop the over-prescription of powerful and addictive painkillers. The White House’s goal is to reduce opioid prescriptions by a third within three years.

Trump invited Jim and Jeanne Moser to share the story of their sun, who died after battling an addiction that started with a prescription painkiller.

“He got hooked on it and had to go to the street eventually and found fentanyl,” said Jeanne Moser.
Trump’s plan also called for expanding the access to treatment for those already struggling with addiction.

The latest figured from 2016 show that opioids killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S.

To help counter this Trump is also declaring the need for a nationwide public relations effort to convince Americans, particularly children, to not start using drugs.

The White House announced a new website, crisisnextdoor.gov, that warns of the dangers of opioids, including fentanyl. Trump also called for broadcasting “great commercials” during “the right shows” that demonstrate to children “how bad” drugs are.

Web Exclusive: Women’s March 2018

An estimated 3,000 people gathered in Drake Park on January 20, 2018 for the second annual Central Oregon Women’s March. In this web exclusive Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed spoke with a few of those people who came out to protest and march.

The Women’s March started in January of last year, right after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. This year’s march came on the one year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration and like last year brought together millions of protestors across the country marching for a variety of issues.

In Bend protestors carried signs in support of women’s rights, including reproductive rights and equal pay. Many signs also nodded to the recent #MeToo movement, which has brought sexual assault and harassment into the public eye.

Protestors also held signs and chanted in support of immigrants, refugees and DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. The DACA program is still up for debate after a government shut down last week.

 

Flu Cases on the Decline Locally

This years flu season has turned into an epidemic, killing at lest 30 children since October and closed schools across the county. While nationally the flu season shows no signs of slowing down, in Deschutes County reported flu cases are on the decline.

This year’s flu struck hard in 32 states, including Oregon, which reported record high numbers of emergency room visits due to the flu.

Part of that may have to do with this year’s predominant flu strain, H3N2, which tends to come with more severe symptoms.

In Deschutes County alone 102 residents went to the emergency room with the flu in the first week of January, but as the month goes on that number has dropped significantly. In the second week of January 86 people went to the emergency room with the flu and only 58 cases were reported between January 14th and 20th.

Children under 5 are one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to the virus since their immune systems are still developing.  Elderly populations are also particularly vulnerable but officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

Even though the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t catch the flu, it could lessen your symptoms and help you avoid complications like catching a secondary illness like pneumonia which commonly leads to hospitalization.

 

DOJ Puts Pressure on Sanctuary Cities

On Wednesday 23 jurisdictions, including Oregon State, received letters from the U.S. Department of Justice asking for documents to prove that they are cooperating with immigration authorities and threatening to pull public safety grants.

The letters are part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promised crackdown on sanctuary cities and states.

“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release from the DOJ (Department of Justice). “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement—enough is enough.”

The letter sent to Michael Schmidt, the Executive Director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission,  warned that the DOJ could use subpoena power to force them to provide documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.

Similar letters were sent to cities like Chicago, New York, Denver and Los Angeles, and the states of Illinois and California. DOJ officials said the 23 jurisdictions have been previously warned they need to provide information about their policies to be receive grants.

According to the DOJ website, jurisdictions who refuse to turnover documents, or whose policies are deemed counter to federal immigration laws, may be forced to return federal grant dollars from a 2016 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and may be deemed ineligible for a 2017 Byrne Grant.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is a memorial grant and is the leading source of federal justice funding for state and local jurisdictions. The grant provides states, tribes and local governments across the U.S. with funding for target community specific law enforcement needs.

Oregon was allocated $3,099,650 through the grant for 2016.

Sanctuary cities, counties, and states are jurisdictions with laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions or policies that prohibited local law enforcement agencies from complying with ICE detainers and denying ICE access to interview incarcerated undocumented immigrants.

In Oregon this means an undocumented immigrant that has committed a crime in a sanctuary jurisdiction would be penalized for that crime but would not be detained due to their undocumented status. It also means local and state law enforcement will not assist immigration officials in locating or apprehending people due to their undocumented status.

Relying on local law enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody for deportations.

In response to the letter, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in tweet, “Oregon will not be bullied by a Trump Administration that’s focused on diving our country. Oregon’s laws are in place to uphold the civil rights of all Oregonians. The federal government cannot, under the US Constitution, force state law enforcement officers to implement its policies.”

Here’s is the full letter written to Oregon from the DOJ:

Dear Director Schmidt:

Thank you for your response to our November 15, 2017, letter regarding your jurisdiction’s compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a federal law with which your jurisdiction must comply as an eligibility requirement for receiving Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) funding from the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ). After reviewing your response, the Department remains concerned that your jurisdiction’s laws, policies, or practices may violate section 1373, or, at a minimum, that they may be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with section 1373.

In light of these concerns, the Department is requesting certain documents as described below. This request is made consistent with 2 CFR § 200.336, as adopted by Department regulation 2 CFR § 2800.101. In your FY 2016 Byrne JAG award, you agreed to the following (listed as special condition #23):

[The recipient agrees to] cooperate with [the Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”)] and [Office of the Chief Financial Officer (“OCFO”)] on all grant monitoring requests…. The recipient [also] agrees to provide to BJA and OCFO all documentation necessary to complete monitoring tasks, including documentation related to any subawards made under this award. Further, the recipient agrees to abide by reasonable deadlines set by BJA and OCFO for providing the requested documents. Failure to cooperate with BJA’s/OCFO’s grant monitoring activities may result in sanctions affecting the recipient’s DOJ awards, including but not limited to withholdings and/or other restrictions on the recipient’s access to grant funds; referral to the Office of the Inspector General for audit review; designation of the recipient as a DOJ High Risk grantee; or termination of an award(s).

Please respond to the below request by providing to Chris Casto, BJA, at Chris.Casto@usdoj.gov by no later than February 23, 2018, all responsive documents, consistent with the instructions in Attachment A.

Documents Requested: All documents reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees (including, but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, and contract employees), whether formal or informal, that were distributed, produced, and/or in effect during the relevant timeframe, regarding whether and how these employees may, or may not, communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or their agents, whether directly or indirectly.

BJA will review your submissions and seek additional information, if necessary. The Department fully anticipates your complete cooperation in this matter. Should you fail to respond in a complete and timely manner, the Department will subpoena these documents in accordance with 34 U.S.C. §§ 10225, 10221, 10230, 10151 – 10158, 10102(a)(6), 10110, and 10110 note.

These materials are critical to our ongoing review. Should the Department determine your jurisdiction is out of compliance with section 1373, the Department may, as detailed in your award documents, seek return of your FY 2016 grant funds, require additional conditions for receipt of any FY 2017 Byrne JAG funding for which you have applied, and/or deem you ineligible for FY 2017 Byrne JAG funds.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. We look forward to working through this matter with you. Any specific questions concerning this request can be sent to directly to Tracey Trautman, BJA Deputy Director, at Tracey.Trautman@usdoj.gov or call (202) 305-1491.”

Pot Plight

On Thursday the Trump administration lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on marijuana markets in states where the drug is legal. It is now up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ action came just three days after a legalization law went into effect in California. The lift of the policy now threatened the future of the young industry and created confusion in states, like Oregon, where the drug is legal.

Oregon governor Kate Brown said Thursday the state will fight Sessions’ move to lift the policy on federal enforcement of the drug in order to protect the state’s economic interests. Brown said marijuana is an important component of the state’s economy and has creating more than 19,000 jobs.

Oregon was the first state to decriminalize personal possession of marijuana in 1973. Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and recreational use in 2014.

It is not clear how the change might affect states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes. A congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed. Justice officials said they would follow the law, but would not preclude the possibility of medical-marijuana related prosecutions.

Officials wouldn’t say whether federal prosecutors would target marijuana shops and legal growers, nor would they speculate on whether pot prosecutions would increase.

 

 

Courtesy of the Associated Press 

Bend Woman Recounts Route 91 Tragedy

Kristy Sinsara, who lives and works in Bend talks exclusively with Central Oregon Daily reporter Austin Reed, just days after she experienced the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, on Sunday night, at a Nevada country music festival, right on the Las Vegas strip. 59 people were killed, including the gunman. At this hour, hundreds of men, women and children are still recovering in local hospitals.

Several eyewitnesses have been coming forward to share what they saw and heard. Sinsara told Central Oregon Daily that she thinks there was more than just one lone shooter and/or the suspect was set up.

Take a look at the interview for yourself, which aired earlier tonight on KOHD-ABC, and right after Thursday Night Football, on KBNZ-CBS.

As this tragic story continues to unfold, stay with Central Oregon Daily for the latest.

Supper Club: Equifax Data Breach

The fallout from the massive security breach at the credit reporting service, Equifax, has reached the boardroom tonight after the company’s CEO abruptly retired in the wake of more revelations surrounding the hacking of more than 143 million Americans personal information.

For this week’s Supper Club, Donna sat down with two local cybersecurity experts for their take on the Equifax hack and why your personal data is more vulnerable than ever before.

Thanks to Kerri and Lewis for joining us and a special thanks to our Supper Club sponsor, Selco Community Credit Union, for giving us the time and resources to talk about the issues that impact our region every Tuesday night on Central Oregon Daily.

 

National Anthem Protests Spark Nationwide Debate

It was a moment that sports fans had been anticipating for nearly two days over the weekend. After President Trump suggested NFL owners should fire any players who protested during the national anthem, athletes from several different sports took to social media and expressed their support of the players, setting up a potentially pivotal moment before Sunday’s NFL games.

Central Oregon Daily’s Allison Roecker went to The Hideaway Tavern, a sports bar in Bend, to see how local fans would react.