State News – Brookings Harbor Tea Party http://www.brookingstea.com helping to change the direction of our country Sat, 28 May 2016 16:18:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 The Federal Government versus States Rights http://www.brookingstea.com/2016/04/16/the-federal-government-versus-states-rights/ Sat, 16 Apr 2016 23:24:06 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3144 Counties will sue BLM over new management plan!

…. Oregon Catalyst  — April 14, 2016 ….

…. Association of O&C Counties ….

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its latest proposed management plan for 2.5 million acres of timberland in western Oregon. Tuesday, 17 Counties in western Oregon announced they would challenge the plan in federal court.

“We have no choice but to litigate, and we are on firm legal ground in doing so,” said Commissioner Tony Hyde of Columbia County. Commissioner Hyde is the President of the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), which will lead the lawsuit. “The BLM refused to even consider revenues for Counties as an objective in developing its plan. There are many ways the BLM could have balanced jobs and revenues for vital County services while creating habitat for endangered species, providing clean water, recreational opportunities, and improving fire resiliency,” said Commissioner Hyde. “Once again, the federal government has failed the communities where these lands are located.”

The law governing management of the BLM lands states that all timberlands shall be managed for sustained yield production, with the revenues shared with Counties to help pay for public services. The law also mandates a minimum harvest each year of 500 million board feet. The BLM’s final plan violates both requirements, with more than 75% of the lands locked up in permanent reserves, and a projected harvest little more than half the required minimum.

The O&C lands were once in private ownership. After the lands were taken back by the federal government, they were set aside by congress to provide permanent sustainability of the communities they border. By law, the Counties receive 50 percent of the revenues generated from the sale of timber, and the revenue pays for all kinds of public services: mental and public health, sheriff patrols, jails, libraries, social and many other services. County budgets have been decimated in recent years and several counties are on a path to insolvency, increasing crime and poverty. The BLM lands are also intended to supply timber to support employment in local mills and manufacturing. Federal mismanagement has contributed to unemployment rates in some rural counties that are nearly double the unemployment rate in the Portland area.

The BLM has been planning almost continuously since 2003, at an expense of tens of millions of dollars. A plan proposed by the BLM in 2009 was shelved by the Obama administration, which opted to begin a whole new planning process that is just now concluding. “The Counties have been involved with the BLM from the beginning as formal “cooperating agencies.” As elected officials we did a lot of cooperating with the BLM, but unfortunately, the BLM did almost no cooperating with us,” said Commissioner Tim Freeman of Douglas County, Treasurer of AOCC. Multiple failings of the draft plan were the subject of extensive comments and positive suggestions the Counties provided to the BLM on August 20, 2015. “There is no indication the BLM took seriously any of our suggestions,” said Commissioner Freeman.

“Getting mired down in litigation is the last thing any of us wants to do,” said Simon Hare, Commissioner from Josephine County and Vice-President of AOCC. “The only alternative to litigation is for Congress to act. We have diligently sought a legislative solution, but our Congressional Delegation has not been able to agree on a solution,” said Commissioner Hare. “Now, it will be up to the courts to decide.”

“The last two decades of ineffective management by the BLM has to stop,” said Commissioner Hyde, President of AOCC. “To that end, the AOCC has retained the Stoel Rives law firm of Portland to carry out litigation on behalf of the Counties.”

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Good Luck With Your Public Records Request http://www.brookingstea.com/2016/01/23/good-luck-with-your-public-records-request/ Sat, 23 Jan 2016 20:29:09 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3101 Oregon’s continuing public-records runaround benefits unions

…. The Oregonian / OregonLive — Opinion — January 19, 2016 ….

by Anne Marie Gurney…

In recent months, Oregon’s haphazard, often corrupt handling of public records requests has earned well-deserved criticism from the state’s most prominent media outlets. And the Freedom Foundation has been right at the heart of the controversy.

A public records request I made in December 2014 asking for mailing addresses of home health care workers resulted in backroom meetings that reached Gov. Kate Brown’s office. The final result was passage of two laws — one specifically intended to thwart the Freedom Foundation’s request by exempting the information I was seeking, and another that would presumably “fix” the problem. The second law, House Bill 3557, is considered a compromise “fix” because, although the addresses are exempt from disclosure, the records will be made available if the requestor can show they intend to use the information in the public’s best interest.

The question is, who gets to decide?

We resubmitted our request under the revised statute, specifying that we intended to use the information to educate home health care workers about their new constitutional rights to decline paying union dues or fees as a condition of employment, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its 2014 Harris v. Quinn decision. What could better serve the public interest, after all, than notifying people of their legal rights?

Our second request was answered by Gene Evans at the Oregon Department of Human Services, the same public relations officer who stifled my previous request. You may have already guessed his answer, but here it is in its entirety: “Pursuant to HB 3557, we mailed a copy of your public records request to (home care worker) on Dec. 14, 2015. We considered all information submitted under HB 3557, consulted with our attorneys at the Oregon Department of Justice, and we have determined that you have not demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the public interest requires disclosure. DHS therefore denies your request.”

Silly me. The public’s ability to know and understand their constitutional rights seems like a clear and convincing reason to me. Whose best interest is served by refusing my request? The public sector unions who don’t want their “members” advised of their rights, that’s who.

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with acting in the public interest. The problem comes when the person making that decision is the one with the most to lose by transparency. When that happens, public interest runs a distant second to the concerns of special interests.

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Oregon Ranks 38th Out of the 50 States http://www.brookingstea.com/2016/01/09/oregon-ranks-38th-out-of-the-50-states/ Sat, 09 Jan 2016 18:43:48 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3092 Oregon ranks low in education; flat test scores, low funding, growing disparities to blame

The Oregonian / OregonLive – January 7, 2016

Oregon schools rank in the bottom third nationally, as measured by Education Week researchers. The Oregonian/OregonLive also estimates the state deserves a No. 38 performance ranking. The state’s weak financial contribution to schools, measured as the percent of state gross domestic product devoted to K-12 schools, is a significant factor.

A new study ranks Oregon No. 38 in public education, based on student achievement, school funding and a broad mix of other factors such as parental employment and the availability of affordable preschool.

The strongest findings, based on rankings by the education news organization Education Week:

Key findings

Oregon ranks high for:

> Spending close to the same amount per student in different districts (No. 14)

Oregon ranks low for:

> Growing gap between poor and not-poor students’ reading and math scores (No. 49)

> Improvement in reading and math achievement since 2003 (No. 45)

> Adults who work full time and year-round (No. 50)

> Percent of taxable wealth spent on education (No. 42)

> Increase in eighth-graders with advanced math skills (No. 49)

> Share of students for whom school funding is at or above the national average (No. 38)

source: Education Week

>> Oregon is making little progress or heading in the wrong direction when it comes to raising elementary and middle school reading and math achievement. Progress for high achievers in math is at a standstill.

>> Oregon is allowing low-income students to fall further behind their better-off counterparts faster than 48 other states. Compared to 2003, in 2015 Oregon’s low-income fourth- and eighth-graders were 9 percentage points further behind their more-prosperous peers. Only Washington had a worse increase in the achievement gap separating the two groups.

>> School funding, or rather the lack of it, helps put Oregon in the educational basement. Given each state’s gross domestic product, only four states had a lower effective tax rate for K-12 education: Arizona, North Carolina, and North and South Dakota.

>> Partly as a result of low taxes for education, Oregon had very few students attending schools that were funded at or above the national per-pupil average. Just 13 percent of Oregon students enjoyed that level of funding, versus 42 percent of students nationally.

Each year, Education Week grades states for the quality of their public schools in a report it calls Quality Counts. Although the grading methodology has “evolved” from year to year, this year’s grades were calculated almost the same as last year’s, said Holly Yettick, director of the Education Week Research Center.

Oregon’s overall grade this year was a C-, based on its student achievement (D), school finance (C-) and conditions for success (C ).

As has been the case for many years, Massachusetts was the top-ranking state for education. Nevada ranked last this year.

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PERS is in Deep Trouble! http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/12/26/pers-is-in-deep-trouble/ Sat, 26 Dec 2015 20:33:13 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3082 Our view: PERS problem can’t get deeper

…. East Oregonian — December 11, 2015 ….

One of the most pressing issues for the long term health of this state is a signed contract to pay for the Oregon Public Employees Retirees System — better known as the four-letter word PERS.

On Nov. 20, PERS actuaries forecast for the public their idea of how much more money will have to be funneled into the system in order for it to keep up its end of the deal. The actuaries predict a steady rise of 2 percent annual rate increases, at least for the next few bienniums. While that might sound pretty reasonable, it translates to cost increases of 20 to 30 percent for municipalities, school districts, emergency responders, prisons and more, all across the state. Those kinds of increases are not sustainable. And rural Oregon — where a larger percentage of the workforce is government employees — is especially vulnerable to runaway costs.

First, a few facts. There are 200,000 public employees in Oregon, and 95 percent of them are tied into the PERS system. That system is also paying 130,000 retirees.

Each year, PERS gets less financially solvent.  The fund has $70 billion to invest, but returns from that investment bring in 70 cents for every $1 that is paid out. Losing 30 percent on every transaction puts PERS quickly into the red, and puts it deeper into that hole each and every year. Its unfunded liability is expected to soon reach $18 billion. That’s a black hole that reaches all the way to China — and to a depth that could cause the whole system to collapse.

So what do we do about it?

There are some facts both sides have to deal with. A contract is a contract. Deals were signed and — as we learned from the courts — past promises cannot be renegotiated. Cost of living increases can be renegotiated moving forward, but not looking back. That limits our options, but doesn’t keep us from designing a more sustainable system.  Another consideration, especially in rural Oregon where government employees make up about a quarter of our workforce, is the fact that public sector employee benefits vastly outpace private sector ones. That’s great for attracting good candidates for important, taxpayer-funded positions. But is such a wide gulf between private and public sector employees in the best interest of our country? We would argue it is not — and closing that gulf is imperative.

It will take movement from both sides. Wage increases will soon come to this country — either as inflexible law initiated in statehouses and Congress, or incrementally by employers themselves. As wages go up, competition to secure educated, reliable employees will increase. Benefits during working years, and for retirement, will help reduce the need for a social safety net. It might even spur economic growth, meaning those PERS investments would bring in a larger dividend on every dollar.

It’s a big problem with no easy solution, but action is needed before the hole becomes too big to fill.

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Oregon: some good news & a lot of bad news http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/12/12/some-good-news-a-lot-of-bad-news/ Sat, 12 Dec 2015 19:57:52 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3067 Report: Oregon becomes far less healthy

… The Oregonian/OregonLive – December 10, 2015 by Lynne Terry …

The country has made progress in a few key health care areas but Oregon slid backwards, according to a report released Thursday.

The 2015 United Health Foundation‘s rankings said fewer people smoked compared with last year’s report and more got vaccinated. Infant deaths and cardiovascular fatalities also fell. The healthiest state, and for the fourth year running, was Hawaii while Louisiana landed on bottom.

As for Oregon, the state stood out but not in a good way: It fell from 12th to 20th place.

“It’s unusual to fall or rise that dramatically over the course of a year,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, a senior adviser to the foundation.

The report, “America’s Health Rankings,” rates states on a wide range of factors, including crime, immunizations, availability of health care professionals and disease and deaths.

Oregon’s ranking was hurt by an increase in childhood poverty, which affects nearly 20 percent of the youth, the report said. The state was also hit with a surge in whooping cough cases and an increase in disparity in health status by education level.

“We realize that more must be done to improve the health of all people in Oregon and to address persistent health inequities experienced by people of color; LGBT communities; and people with disabilities,” the Oregon Public Health Division said in a statement. “Improving the health of everyone in Oregon is complex and takes time, and no single sector or agency can solve them on its own.”

Though the state’s high school graduation rate hasn’t changed much, with about one-third of students not completing high school with their class, other states improved enough to put Oregon on the bottom in 2013. Oregon climbed four notches for the class of 2014 though the state’s rate for white students was still last.

The graduation rate is important because high school dropouts die about five years sooner than people who graduate from college. They’re also four times more likely to smoke and twice as likely to be obese.

“If people who did not have a high school education had as good of health as those who were college educated, our nation could save $1 trillion annually,” Randall said. “That’s one more reason to stay in school.”

Oregon’s low immunization rates continued to dog the state, though the public health officials said the percentage of kindergarteners claiming an exemption fell from 7 percent to just under 6 percent. Oregon also had a high incidence of chronic drinking, consuming eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more for men. Nearly 20 percent of the population reported drinking heavily. Excessive alcohol consumption causes liver disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

But not all was gloomy in the Oregon assessment. The report said the state had a high rate of physical activity, low birth rate, low incidence of infectious disease and relatively large number of dentists. Drug deaths also dropped while health insurance coverage increased. The state also had a low incidence in cardiovascular deaths, the second-best nationwide.

And Oregonians are doing well at eating their fruits and veggies, the report said.

 

 

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Oregon Corruption??? http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/11/14/oregon-corruption/ Sat, 14 Nov 2015 19:53:43 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3060 Oregon gets an ‘F’ in government integrity

…. Oregon Catalyst – November 10, 2015 …

The Pulitzer-winning Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity just came out with their 2015 State Integrity Investigation – and Oregon got an ‘F’. The ‘F’ grade was based on assessing the systems in place to deter corruption in state government.

The report highlighted the Kitzhaber-Hayes scandals and noted that Oregon is a “state where ethical behavior is assumed rather than regulated,” and “where good behavior is taken for granted rather than enforced.”

The report noted “Oregon’s overall failing grade represented a substantial dip from the C- the state received from the last State Integrity Investigation scorecard in 2012,” with the caveat that “the grades and scores are not directly comparable due to changes made to improve and update the questions and methodology.”

The investigation findings were reported locally in The Oregonian, by KGW, KOIN, KXL and in the Bend Bulletin.

The findings are hardly surprising to Oregon Republicans. Decades of one-party rule have led to complacency and partisan political protection for Democrats.

Republican former state Rep. Dennis Richardson said one of the key reasons he’s running for Oregon Secretary of State is because of “concerns about a lack of transparency and a failure to implement real reforms in the wake of the Kitzhaber scandal.” Richardson lamented “The legislature left many good ethics reform bills on the drafting room floor—bills that would have addressed lessons learned from the Kitzhaber debacle. Instead, we saw partisan politics win out.”

Republican state Sen. Doug Whitsett recently wrote at length on how “Further ethics reform still needed in Oregon.” Whitsett noted “Unfortunately, several other bills that would have provided much-needed ethics reform failed to pass in the highly partisan atmosphere of the 2015 session. Majority Democrats used their numerical advantage to keep many of these bills from advancing through the legislative process.”

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One Resourceful Girl http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/10/31/one-resourceful-girl/ Sat, 31 Oct 2015 15:21:49 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3051  

Shotgun preteen vs. Illegal alien home invaders

…. Two illegal aliens, Ralphel Resindez, 23, and Enrico Garza, 26, probably believed they would easily overpower “home-alone” 11-year-old Patricia Harrington after her father had left their two-story home.

It seems the two crooks didn’t know two things: They were in Montana. And, Patricia had been a clay-shooting champion since she was nine.  Patricia was in her upstairs room when the two men broke through the front door of the house. She quickly ran to her father’s room and grabbed his 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun.

Resindez was the first to get up to the second floor only to be the first to catch a near point blank blast of buckshot from the 11-year-old’s knee-crouch aim. He suffered fatal wounds to his abdomen and genitals.  When Garza ran to the foot of the stairs, he took a blast to the left shoulder and staggered out into the street where he bled to death before medical help could arrive.

It was found out later that Resindez was armed with a stolen 45-caliber handgun he took from another home invasion robbery. The victim there, 50-year-old David 0’Burien, was not so lucky. He died from stab wounds to the chest.

Do you ever wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC news?

An 11 year old girl, properly trained, defended her home and herself against two murderous, illegal immigrants and she wins. She is still alive. Now THAT is Gun Control!

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Talk About Debt! http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/10/18/talk-about-debt/ Sun, 18 Oct 2015 15:02:18 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3042 Is TriMet Better Off Than Greece?

…. Cascade Policy Institute – October 12, 2015 by John A. Charles, Jr. ….

Syndicated financial writer Malcolm Berko recently advised a small investor to stay away from Greek bonds or securities. He wrote, “Greece has morphed into a bureaucratic five-star welfare state; but in reality, Greece is a one-star economy. The pensions and entitlements consume 52 percent of government income.”

Well, TriMet’s most recent audited financial statement was released in September, and last year TriMet’s “income” – money earned from customers buying rides, advertising, or services – totaled $153.4 million. The cost of fringe benefits such as pensions and health insurance equaled $166.8 million, or 109% of income.

But the actual problem at TriMet is far worse, because most of the obligations for pensions and other benefits don’t show up as current-year expenses. They appear in financial statements as accrued liabilities that have to be paid off sometime in the future.

Taking into account all liabilities for fringe benefits, TriMet has $711 million in health care obligations, $18 million in pension liabilities for management, and $159 million in pension costs for the union. This sums to $888 million in actuarial accrued unfunded liabilities, or 579% of operating income.

Greece is an international financial disaster; but compared with TriMet, it’s a model of fiscal restraint.

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More on the EPA Water Grab http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/09/19/more-on-the-epa-water-grab/ Sat, 19 Sep 2015 19:11:47 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=3024 Oregon turns its back on rancher’s on WOTUS

….Oregon Cattlemen’s Association — September 16, 2015….

(Editors note: “WOTUS” is the acronym for “Waters of the United States” – the EPA power grab of nearly all waters. The State of Oregon should be ashamed. )

On the 28 of August, Oregon, along with New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia, joined together in a motion to intervene in the Sixth Circuit on behalf of EPA. Oregon’s involvement in the motion creates cause for Oregon cattlemen to wonder if the state cares about the well-being of Oregon’s number one agricultural commodity, cattle and calves.

Past OCA president and current Oregon rancher Sharon Livingston is frustrated with Oregon’s boisterous support of WOTUS. “Oregon ranchers need to use water,” she said. “We don’t need EPA and the federal government regulating our water because we have 38 management areas and each area has an agriculture quality management plan.” Livingston said the plans are under evaluation every two years to ensure they are up-to-date and that they have been effective for managing water.

Oregon Cattlemen’s leadership also weighed in on the recent attorney generals decision to support WOTUS. “The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is very disappointed that Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum has moved to intervene in support of Waters of the United States,” said Executive Director Jerome Rosa. “The association opposes the rule due to ambiguous language that leaves regulatory concerns open to the discretion of EPA, causing heightened vulnerability to ranchers, farmers and landowners across the United States.”

He added he does not believe the state’s outward support of WOTUS affects the cattlemen’s lawsuit with Pacific Legal Foundation against WOTUS. “The association will continue to move forward with our lawsuit,” Rosa said.

In Douglas County, current OCA treasurer and rancher Nathan Jackson was floored when he heard the news. Jackson said as an Oregon rancher and promoter of Oregon agriculture, this move makes him feel unsupported by the state. “By supporting more federal regulation over water quality, the state is undermining local control and solutions that work best for local communities.”

Livingston echoes Jackson’s sentiment. “It (Oregon’s support of WOTUS) shows that the state of Oregon is not supportive of agriculture.” Livingston said efforts have been made to contact the state with rancher’s concerns by way of letters, emails and phone calls, but they have yet to receive a response.

Despite the state of Oregon’s bold move in supporting WOTUS, Jackson hopes they will consider its detrimental effect on Oregon ranching and agriculture and have a change of heart. “I would hope that the state would be a valiant supporter of state rights and take responsibility for our natural resources, communities, and economy. In this case, that means not supporting WOTUS.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

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One Small Step Toward Gun Confiscation http://www.brookingstea.com/2015/08/21/one-small-step-toward-gun-confiscation/ Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:28:59 +0000 http://www.brookingstea.com/?p=2993 Oregon Expanded Gun Background Check Law Takes Effect

…Oregon Catalyst – August 16, 2015 — Sen. Doug Whitsett…

One of the most controversial bills enacted during the Oregon Legislative Assembly’s 2015 regular session was Senate Bill 941. It was passed by both legislative chambers on party-line votes and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown. It went into effect on Sunday, August 9.

The new law requires a criminal background check to be performed by a third-party licensed gun dealer prior to most private firearm transfers. Both the person transferring the gun, and the person receiving the gun, must appear in person, before the gun dealer, and must bring each firearm to be transferred with them.

I strongly believe that SB 941 is a blatantly unconstitutional infringement on our Second Amendment right to own and bear firearms. Moreover, it imposes significant restrictions on the ownership of firearms by law-abiding citizen while doing virtually nothing to restrict the illegal sale or possession of weapons.

Many Oregonians who own firearms may now be “on the edge” of becoming felons. Those of us who strongly believe that gun-control laws are unconstitutional must choose to either obey the law or to commit a felony.

According to the law, “transfer” means the sale, lease, loan, gift, lending or any “change of custody” of a firearm. This law generally does not apply to the “transfer of possession or ownership” of firearms among immediate family members.

A transfer made for the purpose of preventing imminent death or injury is also exempt from the background check requirements. But, absurdly, that transfer of possession is only exempt during the time while the threat is “imminently present.”

For instance, the threat may be imminent only after your home is invaded, or your neighbor’s wife or children have already been assaulted.

The transfer of a firearm, under this bill, means the delivery of the weapon from one person to another person, including, “but not limited to,” the sale, gift, loan or lease of the firearm. The “not limited to” phrase includes most transfers of the possession of a firearm.

SB 941 exempts transfers of possession that occur at a shooting range or gallery, or during a hunting, trapping or target shooting event. But the exemption is only valid when both persons are in the immediate presence of the firearm.

The law also does not apply while a firearm is being repaired or modified at a licensed gun shop.

However, the law does apply when gun owners leave their weapons with a friend or neighbor for safekeeping. According to Legislative Counsel, the team of attorneys that works for the Legislature and drafts the state’s laws, in order to obey this law, a gun owner is required to appear with their guns before a licensed gun dealer, along with their friend or neighbor, to obtain a criminal background check on the friend or neighbor, for each of the firearms.

Further, to comply with the law, in order to take possession of their own weapons upon returning home, the gun owner must “once again” appear before a licensed gun dealer, with their friend or neighbor, with all of the weapons, to obtain a criminal background check on the gun owner, for each of the weapons.

Failure to comply with the law is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,250 for each firearm illegally transferred.

A second offense is a Class B felony. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both, for each firearm illegal transferred.

The Democrat majority had the temerity to affix an emergency clause to the bill. That clause effectively prohibited Oregon citizens from exercising their constitutional right to refer the new law to the vote of the people.

When SB 941 was being debated in the Legislature, local elected officials from two-thirds of Oregon’s counties opposed it. Some testified against the proposal in committee.  Many local governing bodies have passed resolutions or ordinances in strong support of their constituents’ Second Amendment rights. Multiple sheriffs throughout the state have stated publicly that it will be difficult to enforce the new law.

Questions about the bill’s lack of enforceability are now being raised in the news media. Some are expressing doubt whether this bill can be enforced without requiring the mandatory registration of all firearms. I share the concern that gun registration may be the next step in the anti-gun agenda.

In this recently published opinion piece, editors at the Albany Democrat-Herald newspaper predict the law will be “widely ignored.” It states that “no one knows for sure how many of these private transactions occur each year in Oregon” and because of that, “it will be nearly impossible to gauge the effectiveness of the law.” The editorial goes on to state that SB 941 “seems extremely unlikely” to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

One of the bill’s chief sponsors, Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) has been quoted in press articles as admitting that the state has provided no funding for enforcement of the law’s new mandates. Another chief sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) is undergoing an active effort to recall him from the Senate.

SB 941 does allow Oregon licensed gun dealers to charge a fee for providing the criminal background check service. Nevertheless, it appears that a preponderance of gun dealers in the state have expressed their intention to decline to provide the criminal background check service.

Unfortunately, all of this opposition does not change the reality that SB 941 is current Oregon law. The Progressive Liberal Democrat majority has made the private transfer of the possession of a firearm an Oregon felony, unless a criminal background check is performed by a licensed gun dealer.

It is worth noting that not a single Republican legislator voted in favor of SB 941. In fact, this egregious law was held back, for the past four years, by our coalition of 14 Republican Senators and Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose).

Voters chose to replace two members of our coalition in last November’s general election. The two new Senators are arguably among the most liberal of the progressive Democrats that control both chambers. Both voted in favor of this bill.

One of their campaigns were strongly supported by out-of-state anti-gun advocates such as former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Contributions were received from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on October 16 for $10,000, with an additional $75,000 coming from Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund on October 30.

That same group is now paying for six figures’ worth of television ads in Eugene and Portland to promote the law.

Political reality matters, and the fact is that we no longer have the required 15 Senate votes to stop gun-control bills. The certain result is anti-firearm bills such as SB 941 making their way through the legislative process and become Oregon law.

Elections do have consequences. We must now live with the outcome of our most recent election and the actions of the 2015 Legislative Assembly, including the adoption of constitutionally questionable laws such as SB 941.

Senator Doug Whitsett is the Republican state senator representing Senate District 28 – Klamath Falls

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