Urban-Rural Gathering: Melting Mountains, March 4
Sherman County Courthouse Groundbreaking & Open House, March 8
Oregon Capital Insider, Free Friday Newsletter
Walden Introduces Bill to Protect Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
To Be an Optimist in Today’s World
From the desk of Oregon State Senator Jeff Kruse: Week Two
Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do
1. Urban-Rural Gathering: Melting Mountains, March 4
Sherman County was selected by a group from Seattle wanting to learn more about the differences between rural and urban areas. The primary mover was the recent elections where Seattleites voted 74% for Hillary Clinton while Sherman County voted 74% for Donald Trump.
We are looking for 12-15 Sherman County folks willing to meet with the urban group from Washington on Saturday, March 4 at the OSU Extension Office in Moro. The Seattle group will be treated to a short tour of the County then return to the Extension office where they will join Sherman County folks for a lunch and discussion to learn about the factors that lead to differences. Because of travel rules for their driver, they will need to leave about 3 pm.
Persons wishing to contribute a few hours from noon to 3 p.m. are asked to contact the Extension Office (541-565-3230). Lunch will be provided for all and it will be interesting to see where and why the regions seem to differ.
2. Sherman County Courthouse Groundbreaking and Open House, March 8
The public is invited to attend the official Sherman County Courthouse Addition and Renovation Groundbreaking Ceremony and Open House to be held Wednesday, March 8th at 1:30 pm at the Sherman County Courthouse in Moro. A brief groundbreaking ceremony will take place in front of the Courthouse to be followed by an open house in the Circuit Courtroom upstairs. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet with project team members to learn about the project scope and timeline, review floor plans, see examples of interior and exterior finishes, and enjoy refreshments.
3. Oregon Capital Insider, Free Friday Newsletter
Oregon Capital Insider is an independent source of exclusive news and insight about state government delivered conveniently by email each Friday to subscribers. The newsletter is designed for people who require a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the policymakers, agencies and interest groups that propel Oregon’s largest employer. Oregon Capital Insider is nonpartisan and does not advocate for any particular outcome or point of view. ~ http://oregoncapitalinsider.com/welcome
4. Walden Introduces Bill to Protect Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), the Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, today introduced H.R. __, the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act of 2017.
“At town hall meetings around Oregon, I’ve heard a clear message: we need to guarantee our health care system works better for all Oregonians. I am committed to protecting patients living with pre-existing conditions, period,” said Walden. “I am committed to patient-centered reforms that increase access to quality, affordable care and guarantee that all Oregonians are protected from unfair, higher premium costs simply due to how healthy or sick they may be.”
The Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act aims to reaffirm guaranteed health care access, ensure that enrollees cannot have benefits excluded from a plan due to a pre-existing condition, and that patients will not pay more based on their health care status.
“This is another step toward keeping our commitment to fix the problems with our health care system and protect vulnerable patients from being treated unfairly. As we continue to repeal and replace Obamacare, we will always put what’s best for patients first,” Walden added.
This bill is a continuation of the step-by-step process to rebuild our health care system. The Energy and Commerce Committee will continue to advance solutions to protect patients, stabilize health care markets, and promote continuous coverage incentives to help Americans get – and keep – coverage.
5. To Be an Optimist in Today’s World
Are optimists people who just don’t see the pain and suffering in the world, or is something else going on? Let’s talk about optimism in a less than perfect world.
Do you know anyone who is a pessimist because they claim that it’s just being “realistic”? They seem to feel that because the world contains murderers and molesters, and because war, famine and injustice are common, it is simpleminded to take an optimistic view.
Now, it may very well be simpleminded to try to live as if the world contained no pain, suffering or injustice. Current events around the world prove that. But remember, the practical optimists of the world rarely lead lives untouched by suffering.
Saint Paul, for example, wrote his remarkable letter about joy to the Philippians while he was in a Roman jail, awaiting, as far as he knew at the time, execution.
Dr. Viktor Frankl, who lived through three years in concentration camps during World War II, related that the survivors were often not the ones who were physically strongest, but rather those who found reasons to live with integrity in the midst of horror and death.
Optimism is a choice we make with our eyes wide open. It is a choice that enables us to live with purpose and hope, no matter what the circumstances. When you make that choice, day after day, year after year, you will be standing with St. Paul, Dr. Frankl and so many others on the side of transformation and hope – which is a truly great place to be! ~ The Pacific Institute
6. From the desk of Oregon State Senator Jeff Kruse: Week Two
FEBRUARY 10, 2017
This was a week without a whole lot of significant activity, but with a lot of posturing. First I want to say that I have known Governor Kate Brown for 20 years and I consider her a friend. We have done tremendous work together over the years, especially in the area of our foster care system. But there are also many areas where we disagree, which is how this process is supposed to work. My comments this week aren’t pointed just at her, but at the entire leadership here in Salem.
When she took office Governor Brown said her administration would be the most transparent ever. We heard similar claims from House and Senate leadership. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
First example: At the end of last week House Speaker Kotek and Senate President Courtney issued a press release stating that they held secret talks between business and labor interest groups. While nobody was supposed to know who was in the meeting, we were able to find the list and it was not a fair representation of business in Oregon or Oregon itself. Those meetings are still going on and at this point no Republicans have been invited to attend. In fact, all attendees are from Portland. One can assume the only reason for these meetings is to try and build support for some form of tax increases.
Meanwhile, as we face a so-called budget crisis, the Governor gave state union workers a 6% pay increase. This is, of course, on top of their COLA’s and step increases that happen as a matter of course. When you add that to the fact we may do nothing about PERS reform they have added over $500,000,000 to the cost of government. The issue here is the fact that the negotiations between the executive branch and the unions happen behind locked doors with no input from either the public or the Legislative Assembly. We are just told the results and then asked to pay the bill. Once again, there is no “transparency” in this process. I have offered legislation to help with this problem. My bill would require all negotiations between the executive branch and the public employee unions to be subject to public meetings laws. I think it is only fair that the people, who have to pay the bill through taxes, know how the process works. I think this speaks to the type of “transparency” the Governor was talking about, but I really don’t think the majority party will even give the bill a hearing let alone pass it.
Another area with a complete lack of real transparency is the budget process. The Governor came out with her budget, which she is required to do, but like all other Governor’s budgets I have seen it doesn’t even give us a good starting point. The real budget we work from is the one put out by the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee. Historically, they have waited until the budget subcommittees have had a chance to work on some of the major issues and we have had the first revenue projection for the year. However, this time they had a budget ready to go before we even started. The real reason is to attempt to drive for more tax increases. In fact, they are starting hearings around the state today with a hearing in Salem and one tomorrow in Portland. They will continue with Friday/Saturday hearings around the state for the next few weeks. This is all political with only one objective: massive tax increases on you and your loved ones.
They continue to talk about the “fact” we have a 1.7-billion-dollar deficit. They neglect to mention the fact we have 1.3 billion dollars more to spend. They also fail to mention the fact state spending is out of control. The fact is the state budget has grown by 40% over the last eight years. Rather than try to reign in this out of control spending cycle they want to expand it. I would suggest that because a large amount of Democrat’s campaign funds come from the public employee unions they have become more important to the majority party than the working people of Oregon who are forced to pay the bills.
We do face some significant challenges this Session, but it also provides us with tremendous opportunity to enact significant changes in the way government functions. First, we need to adequately fund education so it does not once again get trapped in the end of Session negotiations. We also need a real transportation package that benefits the whole state and only Oregon. Third, we need to do something to roll in the costs of the PERS system. And finally we need to have a balanced budget that solely deals with the State’s actual responsibilities to the people. Republicans stand ready to help; we just need to be invited to the table.
Senator Jeff Kruse
Senate District 1
7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do
Top State Obama Department Official Admitted Benghazi Had Nothing to Do With Protests http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/top-state-obama-department-official-admitted-benghazi-nothing-protests/
“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.'” ~ Lyndon Johnson
The Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Continues Unabated http://www.globalresearch.ca/helen-caldicott-the-fukushima-nuclear-meltdown-continues-unabated/5574756
Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government. ~Thomas Jefferson 1789
New Oregon ballot initiative would require voters to show proof of citizenship http://www.kptv.com/story/34516400/new-oregon-ballot-initiative-would-require-voters-to-show-proof-of-citizenship
Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer, 3 other pro-marijuana congressmen launch cannabis caucus http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/35290300-75/oregons-rep.-earl-blumenauer-3-other-pro-marijuana-congressmen-launch-cannabis-caucus.csp
Paris at War – Media Silence https://www.youtube.com/embed/UD7UA1d-WnA?rel=0
New study reveals what’s really important to diners at restaurants http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2017/02/15/new-study-reveals-whats-really-important-to-diners.html?ana=e_abd&u=wkiE5IyNb4HDxutujUayRl7bhJ3&t=1487360298&j=77402791