Oregon is a maverick among states, and in some respects we’re proud of our state’s independent streak.
We hardly ever walk out of a store feeling sad that we didn’t have to pay sales tax, for instance.
But we don’t boast about Oregon’s membership in the club of 12
states where police can’t legally set up roadblocks to look for drunken
Oregon’s Legislature, which is meeting in Salem, has recently been discussing these so-called “sobriety checkpoints.”
Oregon’s wide-open initiative system, which allows ordinary people
to put pretty much any matter on the ballot and let voters decide, is
one of those political quirks, like our aversion to a sales tax and
self-service gas pumps, that make the state unique.
But some people think the state’s system is too lenient.
The list includes Oregon’s new Secretary of State, Kate Brown.
Brown has introduced legislation, House Bill 2500, which she
contends would curb abuses of the initiative system while preserving
citizens’ rights to take their case to voters.
Feral pigs aren’t a major problem in Oregon.
But wild swine, which reproduce with disturbing rapidity, have the
ability to wreak havoc on the state, including its valuable farm and
“They can tear up crops and rangelands overnight,” said Rick
Boatner, invasive species coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish
Republicans don’t have an abundance of influence in Salem these
days, but the minority party’s leaders have floated some ideas that the
majority Democrats ought to consider.
At the top of that list is the GOP’s proposal to trim income tax withholding tables by 4.2 percent.
Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, who represents Baker County,
estimates that change will boost Oregonians’ income by $100 million
Oregon legislators haven’t forgotten last spring’s rash of
resignations by mayors, city councilors and other officials in rural
Several dozen officials, including more than a dozen in Northeastern Oregon, quit in protest of the Oregon Ethics Reform Act.
That law, which requires officials to fill out forms describing
their sources of income (but not the amounts), is designed to ensure
that mayors, councilors and others don’t abuse their positions for
We understand that the Oregon Legislature has multibillion-dollar
dilemmas to deal with, but we’re glad lawmakers have gotten around to
another problem: Ethanol.
Last year a state law took effect that requires service stations to sell gas that contains 10 percent ethanol.
Ethanol is a plant-based fuel that doesn’t produce as much pollution as gasoline.
But ethanol is not without faults.
The Baker City Council struck a good balance with the new sign ordinance.
First, councilors paid attention to people who complained about the original version of the ordinance because it banned new LED signs, which are becoming more popular.
America’s national parks are special places.
But not as special as a federal judge seems to think.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last week blocked a two-month-old federal
rule that allows people who have a concealed weapons permit to carry
loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.
The ban on loaded guns had been in place since the early 1980s, but the
Bush administration canceled that ban starting Jan. 11 of this year.
We’re not fish biologists, but we’re pretty sure that a salmon is still
a salmon even if grew up in a hatchery rather than a river.
Which is not to say all salmon, or their cousins the steelhead, are equal.
Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals understands these distinctions.
A three-judge panel ruled last week that the federal government can
continue to use hatchery-raised salmon to augment their wild (meaning
Kids are committing fewer crimes in Baker County.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that one of the factors officials credit for the
decline in juvenile crime — the city police department’s school
resource officer, who works at Baker High School and Baker Middle
School — might not have a job after June 30.
That’s because the Baker School District, which pays about 65 percent
of SRO Shannin Zednik’s annual salary and benefits of about $77,000,
needs to slash its spending.
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