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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,357

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Oregon's studded tire season ends Friday

The Oregon Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to remove studded tires by Friday, according to a news release.

“We encourage drivers to not wait until the March 31 deadline to remove their studded tires, especially if they aren’t driving in the mountain passes between now and then,” said Luci Moore, state maintenance and operations engineer.

Studded tires are allowed in Oregon from Nov. 1 through March 31. While the law allows ODOT to extend the studded tire season when necessary, current weather forecasts do not support an extension this year. ODOT has extended the studded tire season past March 31 only four times in the past 15 years. Studded tire season will not be extended this year.

Drivers with studded tires on their vehicles after the deadline can be charged by law enforcement with a Class C traffic violation, which carries a fine of nearly $200.

Read more: http://www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/oregon-s-studded-tire-season-ends-friday/article_5d5bcbd7-eb88-5f92-8106-8552e2a50b85.html

Attempt to curb pharmaceutical prices in Oregon runs into drug-industry opposition in Legislature

SALEM — An ambitious attempt to try to rein in prescription drug prices on about a third of Oregon health insurance plans has run into a buzz saw of opposition in the Capitol.

The concept of curbing fast-growing drug costs is very popular with voters nationally, polls show. Democratic and Republican state lawmakers say high prices are a problem.

But the experience of House Bill 2387 this session illustrates strong differences of opinion about how to cut prices.

It also shows how two well-funded lobby groups — the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies — have aggressively tried to shift the policy discussion to their advantage. The drug industry opposes the bill, but many insurers like it.

Read more: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/35413540-75/attempt-to-curb-pharmaceutical-prices-in-oregon-runs-into-drug-industry-opposition-in-legislature.html.csp

Oregon bumps up free community college funding

Community college students counting on Oregon Promise money for their spring term can breathe a sigh of relief.

Because more students than expected took advantage of the state grant meant to pay for community college, there was too little money left over for the spring term. But a state Senate bill that passed Monday ensures the program can get more money, meaning students should receive all of what they expected.

The state originally allotted $10 million per fiscal year for the grant fund. The state Senate bill that passed Monday will add an additional $3.6 million to Oregon Promise from the state general fund.

Kevin Multop, director of financial aid at Central Oregon Community College, said he and others are relieved.

Read more: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5185334-151/oregon-bumps-up-free-community-college-funding

State pays former inmate $175,000 settlement in abuse claim

The state agreed to pay out a $175,000 settlement to a former Oregon inmate who alleged she was sexually abused by a prison doctor during a gynecological exam in 2013.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 in U.S. District Court and named Dr. Robert W. Snider along with other members of the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution staff, including the medical director and chief medical officer.

It was settled earlier this year. Snider, 58, continues to work for the Department of Corrections. In February, one month after the case was settled, he was assigned to what the agency said is a new telemedicine program where, an agency spokeswoman said, he "delivers medical care to inmates through videoconferencing technology." Betty Bernt, a corrections spokeswoman, said the new assignment was not a result of the settlement.

Snider has worked for the state corrections agency since August 2006; his current annual salary is $233,028, according to the agency.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2017/03/state_pays_former_inmate_17500.html

State Investigator Who Spied on Civil Rights Director Sues Oregon AG, Saying He Was Following Orders

The state investigator fired for spying on the Twitter account of Oregon's top civil rights lawyer sued his former bosses Tuesday, claiming his snooping was officially sanctioned and his termination was unjustified.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum fired investigator James R. Williams in August, almost a year after he reported to his bosses that Erious Johnson Jr., director of civil rights for the Oregon Department of Justice, used the Black Lives Matter hashtag and tweeted about the rap group Public Enemy.

Williams was spying on the state's top civil rights lawyer, who was also his own colleague.

The matter became public Nov. 10, when the Urban League of Portland, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and other groups wrote to Rosenblum asking for an investigation into the matter. Urban League of Portland CEO Nkenge Harmon Johnson is married to Erious Johnson.

At the time, Rosenblum called Williams' investigation of Johnson "an act of profiling."

Read more: http://www.wweek.com/news/courts/2017/03/28/state-investigator-who-surveilled-civil-rights-director-sues-oregon-attorney-general-saying-he-was-following-orders/

Children left in unsafe homes by Oregon social workers nearly half the time, report says

An alarming report arrived at an Oregon child protective services office in February 2016. A mother was hallucinating. She was getting a gun.

Two months passed before a social worker checked in on her kids, a new review showed.

Oregon's child welfare system leaves children in danger because workers routinely miss or ignore threats to kids' safety, according to an internal state report made public Monday.

The Oregon Department of Human Services reviewed a random sample of 101 case decisions, after the death of a foster child last year raised questions about agency decision-making. The teen died after a medical condition went untreated.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/03/children_left_in_unsafe_homes_by_oregon_social_workers_nearly_half_the_time_report_says.html

Bill would remove barrier to Oregon pesticide lawsuits

SALEM — Filing lawsuits over alleged pesticide damages would be easier in Oregon under a bill that would eliminate a plaintiff’s responsibility to first notify farm regulators.

Currently, anybody who claims to be harmed by pesticides must submit a report within 60 days to the Oregon Department of Agriculture before taking legal action against the landowner or applicator.

Senate Bill 500 would remove this requirement, which is characterized by proponents as an unfair impediment to justice and by critics as a reasonable barrier to frivolous litigation.

“Keep things the way they are,” urged Denver Pugh, a farmer near Shedd, Ore., during a March 22 legislative hearing.

Read more: http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/capital-bureau/20170328/bill-would-remove-barrier-to-oregon-pesticide-lawsuits

Bill would allow Oregonians to deduct student debt

For roughly 44 million debt-saddled college graduates across the nation, the federal government will whittle down their taxable incomes by amounts equal to whatever interest they paid on their student loans throughout the year, capped at $2,500 depending on income.

But when tax season comes around again next year, Oregon might forgive all that state residents paid toward student debt within the previous year -- down to every last penny of interest and principal, no caps or income limitations.

It's a new proposal being floated at the Oregon Legislature, where some lawmakers characterize it as an innovative approach to the nation's $1.2 trillion-outstanding student debt problem.

Senate Bill 1034 would expand the existing federal interest-only deduction for both standard and itemized tax returns to include principal, without caps or limits based on income, for the state's income taxing purposes. It would apply to any Oregonian with a federal or private-sector loan, as well as their parents, grandparents, employers or anyone else who helps out.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2017/03/bill_would_allow_oregonians_to.html

ODOT settlement that replaces thousands of curb ramps wins court approval

The Oregon Department of Transportation will have to replace up to 90 percent of the curb ramps along highways as part of a legal settlement with disability rights advocates. It also has to upgrade crossing signals.

The settlement with Disability Rights Oregon, as outlined by The Oregonian/OregonLive in November and approved by a federal judge on Monday, is the largest commitment to accessible transportation in state history.

The state agreed to spend $5 million to install 10,000 curb ramps and 1,500 pedestrian crossing signals, as well as earmark $18 million for similar retrofits starting in 2018. The state also agreed to create a public process by which people with disabilities can request accessible street features or report a problem curb ramp.

Disability Rights Oregon says that a 2011 inventory conducted by ODOT found that 15,270 of 16,938 intersections maintained by the state had deficient ramps. The group says those deficiencies include places where improper construction puts wheelchair users at risk of rolling into streets.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2017/03/judge_oks_odot_settlement_that.html

Oregon House OKs equal pay bill as parties squabble

GOP claims Democrats opposed protecting veterans

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon House Republicans blamed the Democrats Tuesday for rejecting a GOP minority report to HB 2005 that would have made it illegal to pay military veterans unequal pay for equal work. But the Democrats said that wasn't the issue.

HB 2005 MRA was voted down on a 29-31 vote.

“Oregon workers deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Jodi Hack (R-Salem). “But as we continue the conversation on how to best protect Oregonians from wage discrimination, we need to make sure that our veterans do not get left behind.

"It is no secret that our vets sometimes have difficulty adjusting to the civilian workforce after they have concluded their service. The least we can do is make sure that when they do find a job, they are paid fairly for their work.”

Read more: http://www.ktvz.com/news/oregon-house-narrowly-rejects-adding-veterans-as-protected-class/421165461
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