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Self-serve gas bill a good idea

Along with an abhorrence for a sales tax and an affinity for public beaches, Oregon’s list of prominent legal peccadilloes includes a ban on people pumping their own gas.

Although there’s no real logic behind the latter — 48 of the 49 other states afford drivers the privilege of topping off their tanks — we accept, after 64 years, that it’s likely to continue in Oregon.

Full bellies, warm hearts

Junior high students are known for their prodigious appetites, as any parent of one can attest who has opened the refrigerator and looked, with awe and wonder, at the empty shelves.

But in Baker City we don’t need a government program to make sure students’ stomachs don’t rumble in the period between school ending and dinner starting — a period when many kids are burning calories on the sports field or doing homework.

Pining for the legacy of MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. is generally considered the most influential civil rights leader in American history.

It’s an accolade the martyred reverend richly deserves.

Sadly, the noble example that King established before he was assassinated in 1968 seems to have lost some of its power to guide those who claim to advocate for social justice.

Sexting: No surprise

We weren’t shocked to learn that several Baker High School students were punished recently for violating the school’s cyberbullying policy by sharing, via digital devices, a nude photo of a student.

Smartphones and tablets aren’t used exclusively for sending text messages and playing video games, after all.

Getting tougher on rapists

Oregon law is too coddling to rapists.

Especially rapists who don’t leave DNA evidence.

Yes on Measure 1-63

We endorse Measure 1-63 on the May 19 ballot, which would make the three Baker County Commission positions nonpartisan, because we think people who register to vote should be able to vote.

And not just on certain races in certain elections.

This might seem an unnecessary plea to make in a country where suffrage is so fundamental to our national identity.

Useful reminder about herbicides

We don’t think the Baker City Council needs to ban the use of certain herbicides at parks and other public spaces.

However, we believe the recent request by a few residents for the Council to impose such a ban can be a valuable reminder about the responsible use of products such as Roundup.

Speed limit compromise

Oregon’s periodic legislative effort to catch up, so to speak, with neighboring states in speed limits has been revived.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Cove, would boost the limit for Interstate 84 between The Dalles and the Idaho border from 65 mph to 75 mph. The bill also would increase the speed limit for some rural two-lane highways, including U.S. 95 in the state’s southeastern corner, U.S. 20 between Bend and Burns, and U.S. 197 and 97 between The Dalles and Klamath Falls, from 55 to 70 mph.

Local control of public lands

Federal Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payment schemes are not in the best long-term interests of Oregon’s citizens. I have attended countless budget meetings where hard-working folks strive to manage their limited resources. However, the hard-truth is that relying on these monies will only place us on the same street corner next year, with the same cardboard sign, asking once again, “Please, Sir, More…”

Pot on the job: Not like booze

This summer brings with it the right to smoke marijuana legally in Oregon, even if you don’t have a doctor’s prescription. There are limits, however, and some of them apply to the workplace.

Workers and their bosses should be current on what the state’s new marijuana law does and does not mean in the workplace.

The new law, approved by voters in the November 2014 general election, does not change the way marijuana can be dealt with at work.

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