Election 2018: Early Primary Results

RESULTS AS OF 9:12 PM, TUESDAY, MAY 15

GOVERNOR – REPUBLICAN
(134,247 votes counted)

Buehler – 49.84%
Carpenter – 27.52%
Wooldridge – 17.07%

U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 2 – DEMOCRAT
(22,029 votes counted)

McLeod-Skinner 44.59%
Jenni Nearing 22.39%
Jim Crary 10.97%

STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 53 – REPUBLICAN

Jack Zika 54.43%
Ben Schimmoller 45.23%

STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 53 – DEMOCRAT

Eileen Kiely 71.77%
Bill Trumble 26.87%

DESCHUTES COUNTY COMMISSION POSITION 1
(6,433 votes counted)

Tony Debone – 72.07%
Ed Barbeau – 27.50%

DESCHUTES COUNTY COMMISSION POSITION 3
(6,646 votes counted)

Patti Adair – 51.85%
Tammy Baney – 47.97%

Gov. Brown Calls for Special Session on Tax Break

We’re learning more about a tax break being proposed by Governor Kate Brown, and it’s the reason why she has called a special session for later this month on May 21st.
Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel has the details.

Last week, the Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) estimated that the proposed tax break would provide between 11 and 13 million dollars in tax breaks annually to about 12,000 businesses known as sole proprietors, or about four percent of the businesses in that category.

The LRO also found that more than 40 percent of the tax savings will go to sole proprietorship’s that make more than 500,000 dollars a year.

Under the current tax break proposal as it stands now, the tax rate on income from sole proprietorship’s would drop from nine percent to as low as seven percent.

Annual Wolf Report Released After the Death of Two Wolves

Biologists for the Oregon department of Fish and Wildlife released their annual wolf report today, just days after staffers for the agency killed two wolves in Eastern Oregon after confirmed depredations on livestock in Baker County.
Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel joins us with details from today’s meeting.

The biologist says so far that the depredations in 2018 have only come from the Pine Creek pack and it doesn’t necessarily indicate a larger trend across the state.The commission had originally planned on voting on a new revised wolf plan in January, but after hearing from multiple sides of the debate, Commissioners decided to delay that vote.
Commissioners now believe that August is the earlies they will have a revised plan in place.

Making a Threat a Felony

State Senator Calls for Tougher Oregon Laws to Combat School Threats

On the same day that the Bend-La Pine Schools superintendent issued a call for action to address recent threats against Bend schools, State Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) introduced an amendment to add the crime of Threatening to Commit a Terroristic Act to Oregon’s criminal statute.
Similar to existing laws in other states, the law would criminalize making a terroristic threat, which is the threat to commit a crime that will result in great bodily harm, regardless of whether the person intended to carry out the threat. This would help prosecutors charge individuals who don’t fall under disorderly conduct, menacing, or harassment statues and creates a criminal penalty commensurate with the harm caused by such a threat.
The amendment is supported by Deschutes County DA John Hummel, Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, and the Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson.
Earlier on Monday, Mikalson issues a letter to parents and students at all Bend-La Pine Schools in what he deemed a “call of action” to protect teachers and students at schools.
One of the action items he recommended was creating a “terroristic threat” crime which would be classified as a felony.

Audit Shows Problems with State Foster Care Services

A state audit released today finds a wealth of problems with Oregon’s Child Welfare Office with leaders continually failing to fix systemic problems. The agency has paid out $39 million in settlements since 2006 for failing to keep children safe.

The Secretary of State’s scathing audit took aim at every aspect of a critical agency responsible for the safety of neglected and abused children, from receiving complaint calls to certifying foster homes and investigating families.

It found the Office of Child Welfare, within the state’s vast Department of Human Services, has failed to keep up with legal mandates and the increased demand for state intervention. The office currently oversees 7,800 children in foster care in Oregon.

The audit found that management has failed to implement prior reform recommendations; foster parents don’t get enough training or support; DHS has failed to adequately recruit and retain foster parents; there’s not enough group homes or treatment facilities to meet the needs for kids taken out of their family homes; and burnout and turnover are high among child welfare workers.

This is not the first time that the state has identified chronic problems in the child welfare program. In 2015, in the wake of a scandal at Portland foster care provider Give Us This Day, Governor Kate Brown conducted an independent review of the state’s Child Welfare Department. The review culminated in the ousting of the head of DHS at that time.

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.”

Preliminary Results Look Positive for Measure 101

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning with 920 of 1335 precincts reporting, 61.54 percent have voted in favor of Measure 101 and 38.46 percent voted against.

Measure 101 approves a temporary assessment to fund health care for low income residents and families in Oregon and to stabilize health insurance premiums. The temporary assessments, which is basically a tax, will be applied to insurance companies, some hospitals and other insurance and health care providers.

Proponents of the measure, which include the Hospital Association, have said this measure will ensure that low income Oregonians are able to keep their healthcare.

Opponents have said it is basically a tax to cover for bad budgeting in the state government.

On Tuesday night the Hospital Association declared victory on Measure 101.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) issued the following statement celebrating the passage of Measure 101 on Tueaday night.
OAHHS, which represents all of Oregon’s 62 community hospitals, was a key supporter of the Yes for Healthcare coalition.

“On behalf of our patients and the communities we serve, Oregon’s hospitals are deeply gratified by the passage of Measure 101,” said Andy Davidson, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “We are appreciative of the partnership of so many organizations and individuals from across the state who helped to make this outcome possible.”

“Tonight’s vote is critical affirmation of our collective belief that Oregon is better off with a robust Medicaid program that tends to the needs of patients before, during and after an illness or the birth of a child. It is a recognition that our vulnerable friends and neighbors need access to the lifesaving services that our entire health care system provides. We are proud to have been an integral partner in fighting for these patients and their families.”

Hospitals have been longtime advocates for the Oregon Health Plan, working alongside the legislature for the last 15 years to develop funding solutions for the program that ensure coverage for as many Oregonians as possible.

In coming months, hospitals will work cooperatively with legislative leadership, the Governor and other stakeholders to craft additional sustainable funding solutions for the years to come to ensure the stability and health of the Oregon Health Plan. Hospitals are committed to continuing their work on future budget solutions that maintain coverage for Oregon’s most vulnerable.

In Deschutes County 54 percent of voters voted in favor of Measure 101. In Crook County 62 percent voted against the measure and in Jefferson County 57 percent also voted against the measure.

Oregon Ethics Commission Says Hayes Violated Ethics Laws

In a meeting Friday morning the Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted 7-0-1 to accept 22 preliminary findings that Cylvia Hayes violated state ethics laws. One commissioner abstained from a potential conflict of interest for having worked for the state.eals

The commission found that Hayes, fiancee of former Governor John Kitzhaber, used her position as first lady to obtain jobs as a consultant, accept gifts worth more than the limit for a public official and did not handle potential and actual conflicts of interest.

The commission can’t fine Hayes yet. That decision will be held for a later meeting, however each violation comes with up to $5,000 in penalties and commissioners indicated they favor high fines against Hayes as this goes forward.

The Kitzhaber ethics case returns to the commission next week, and the commissioners indicated that both cases deserved significant fines instead of a slap on the wrist.  Both Hayes and Kitzhaber can ask for a hearing before the commission, appeal to administrative judges in state government and then appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals if they disagree with the eventual outcome.

Neither Hayes nor any representative/lawyer on her behalf attended the meeting. Their absence bothered commissioners who had hoped to question Hayes.

Hayes is expected to issue a statement later today and this post will be updated as more information is released. This story will also be covered today on Central Oregon Daily at 3 p.m. and updated again 6 p.m.

*This story was updated at 4:02 p.m. to express the 7-0-1 vote of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. The original post wrongly stated that there were 8 votes for the preliminary findings. 

The Great Outdoors: Gray Wolves in Southern Oregon

For years, ranchers in Northeastern Oregon have been dealing with the introduction of Canadian gray wolves into the Pacific Northwest and the impact of predation on their cattle and now, ranchers in Southern Oregon are seeing a boom in their wolf population and are starting to deal with some of the same issues.

Central Oregon Daily’s Brian Jennings headed to Klamath County to report on the latest developments for this week’s Great Outdoors, sponsored by Camp Abbot Trading Company in Sunriver.

Destination Oregon: The Schooner Restaurant

The tiny beach town of Netarts is located on Netarts Bay in Tillamook County. The sleepy little town has not changed much over the years … small cabins, second homes, crabbing in the bay, beachcombing.

For this week’s Destination Oregon, sponsored by Robberson FordDave Jones takes us to the one thing that has changed in Netarts, the Schooner Restaurant.