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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: 78,485

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

Commercial, labor taxes among ideas to raise $2 billion for Oregon schools

The Legislature's Joint Subcommittee on Revenue has moved forward with discussions on three potential tax options that would create revenue specifically for Oregon's schools, totaling more than $660 million per year.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wants to raise nearly $2 billion for education in the 2019-21 biennium and she's tasked the Joint Committee on Student Success with making it happen.

The committee, comprised of 14 senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle, has been meeting since January 2018 to study the most critical issues in schools today — including disruptive behaviors in class and a lack of mental health counselors — then brainstorm ways to make the proposed solutions reality.

The subcommittee on revenue has begun hearing logistics from the Legislative Revenue Office on certain ideas. They heard three possible tax options at their meeting Tuesday evening, each of which includes a reduction in personal income tax rates.

Read more: https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2019/03/28/education-oregon-legislature-governor-kate-brown-taxes/3270267002/

Oregon union membership rate declines, report says

SAN FRANCISCO - Union members accounted for 13.9 percent of wage and salary workers in Oregon last year, a drop from the 2017 rate of 14.9 percent but still the 11th-highest rate in the nation, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the union membership rate for Oregon was at its peak in 1989, when it averaged 21.6 percent, and at its low point in 2016 at 13.5 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.)

Nationwide, union members accounted for 10.5 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2018, down 0.2 percentage point from the 2017 rate.

Since 1989, when comparable state data became available, union membership rates in Oregon have been above the U.S. average.

Read more: https://www.ktvz.com/news/oregon-union-membership-rate-declines-report-says/1062837714

Nike squares off against Intel, other businesses over big Oregon tax hike

In a legislative session already overflowing with power plays, shifting alliances and palace intrigue, the most surprising battle may be unfolding outside the Capitol.

Intel and Nike, Oregon’s two largest corporations, find themselves on opposite sides of the debate over Kate Brown’s proposed $2 billion business tax hike. Actually, it’s Intel and much of the rest of the business community against Nike, which alienated some usual allies by teaming with the public employees’ unions.

The battle of business titans has slowed the tax debate to a crawl. Gov. Kate Brown and other political leaders are waiting for the sign that the private sector has agreed upon a plan.

“While both Intel and Nike have reasonable assumptions about the various proposals, we really need specific bill language and evaluation by state revenue officials before going further,” said Nik Blosser, Gov. Kate Brown’s chief of staff. “No one wants to pick sides between two of our state’s most important companies.”

Read more: https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2019/03/nike-squares-off-against-intel-other-businesses-over-big-oregon-tax-hike.html

Oregon House OKs bill removing cap on noneconomic injury damages

SALEM — Oregon would no longer cap damages awarded for so-called “pain and suffering” resulting from bodily injury under a bill approved by the state House.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the measure passed 36-22 on Monday and now moves to the Senate.

The measure would remove a $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages that was put in place by a 2016 Oregon Supreme Court ruling. Noneconomic damages are defined in the bill as “subjective, nonmonetary losses” and could include emotional distress, humiliation and injury to a person’s reputation.

They differ from economic damages, which are usually awarded to cover the cost of medical care, lost wages and damage to property.

Read more: https://www.registerguard.com/news/20190326/oregon-house-oks-bill-removing-cap-on-noneconomic-injury-damages

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Mike Pence Goes Where No VP Has Gone Before

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Trump Feels "Exuberant" After Mueller Report

Sale plan could make 'terrible' Hobby state office building a hot property

The 35-year-old William P. Hobby state office building in downtown Austin needs a whopping $50 million in repairs to shore up decrepit plumbing, overhaul electrical systems and patch or replace various other dilapidated components — and that might not even address what some workers there contend is a serious rat infestation.

But it soon could be among the most-sought-after commercial real estate properties in the city.

“There would be a very long line of people” seeking to buy the property if it were for sale, local real estate consultant Charles Heimsath said. “They’d be interested in the (land), not the building — the building is terrible.”

Heimsath’s assessment — that the Hobby building, at 333 Guadalupe St., is in terrible shape but the city block it sits on is extremely valuable — is widely shared by state lawmakers and administrators who oversee state-owned facilities, and they’ve taken initial steps to put the property on the market through a procedure that requires approval of the Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190328/sale-plan-could-make-terrible-hobby-state-office-building-hot-property

I worked in the building. The building looks like it was designed with a Lego kit. I remember that in one of the offices there was a two- foot diameter pole right in he middle of an 8' x 8' room that had an obtuse angle in it. The employee had to sit with his back to the door and it was almost impossible to arrange the furniture.

Multnomah County fires top mental health managers

Multnomah County has named a new director of its troubled mental health and addiction services division on the same day it fired two mental health managers at the center of an investigation of the handling of abuse complaints.

Ebony Clarke, 42, who has been serving as deputy director will take over the division, replacing longtime director David Hidalgo, one of the two managers who were terminated. The county also terminated the division's quality assurance manager, Joan Rice.

"I have determined that your continued employment is no longer in the best interests of Multnomah County," wrote Marissa Madrigal, the county's chief operations officer, in nearly identical March 27 letters to Hidalgo and Rice. "Please consider this letter your termination notice effective immediately. Your final paycheck will be sent ... today."

In December 2018 the Portland Tribune first reported that prosecutors and a sheriff's investigator were looking into whether division employees had committed any crimes while mishandling at least 16 complaints of abuse received concerning adults struggling with mental illness at the Unity Center for Behavioral Health.

Read more: https://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/423795-329359-multnomah-county-fires-top-mental-health-managers

Gov. Brown signs ban on offshore drilling

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon has permanently banned offshore drilling in the midst of a federal push to open 90 percent of federal waters to oil exploration.

Gov. Kate Brown signed a measure on Wednesday to extend a temporary 10-year ban that was set to expire next year. There is currently no oil production in the state but the U.S. Department of the Interior recently identified a possible operation site off the coast of Oregon and Washington state.

The measure also directs state agencies not to assist with any potential drilling operations in federal waters off the Oregon coast.

Brown said the move proves Oregon is "taking a leadership role in preventing the erosion of core laws that protect our environment."

Read more: https://www.kgw.com/article/tech/science/environment/gov-brown-signs-ban-on-offshore-drilling/283-94395c79-fc7a-4293-a7c2-0021a93f3e3c

H-E-B and Dr Pepper rank poorly for LGBTQ inclusivity in new report

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and beloved Texas grocery chain H-E-B are among the Fortune 500 companies in Texas that ranked poorly in a new report assessing the LGBTQ inclusivity of businesses across the country.

Thirteen of the 20 largest U.S. companies received perfect scores from the Human Rights Campaign, including pharmaceutical distributor McKesson Corp., which recently moved its headquarters from California to Irving. North Texas stalwarts AT&T, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Comerica, Texas Instruments, GameStop and Celanese also earned perfect scores.

The report, which has analyzed America's largest publicly traded businesses and top law firms since 2002, takes into account a company's non-discrimination policies, equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their spouses, as well as inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility.

This year's average score for Fortune 500 companies was 67 percent, and 193 businesses in the U.S. received a perfect score compared to 230 last year.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/lgbt/2019/03/28/h-e-b-dr-pepper-rank-poorly-lgbtq-inclusivity-new-human-rights-campaign-report
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