As the State Turns…

stateturnssymbolProperty Taxes Will Fly
A recent legislative bill intended to bypass Yamhill County’s efforts to collect property taxes from McMinnville’s famed, non-profit Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and other Oregon museums facing this issue was shot down by committee. The bill introduced earlier by State Representative Jim Weidner, whose district includes most of Yamhill County, was an attempt to make history and science museums exempt from property taxes.

Kids, Please Just Get Help
Oregon House Bill 4094, which would give underage drinkers a bit of a pass if they seek medical help for themselves and others if they have alcohol poisoning, was unanimously passed last Thursday. Representatives aren’t naive to the fact that underage people binge drink, but realize the dangers involved when drunk minors won’t call for help because they don’t want to receive a Minor in Possession of Alcohol violation. Many parents believe the bill will help save lives; the governor has not yet indicated if he will sign the bill.

Sans Wyden; Oil and Gas Win
The senate committee of the Natural Resources Senate lost a key player when Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) stepped down last week. Now Representative Ron Hastings (R-WA), who has been on the House Committee of Natural Resources for years, has followed suit with an announcement that he won’t be seeking re-election.

Some say the two had major influence on natural resource policy in the Northwest during their time served on these committees. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is slated for Wyden’s chair, and is reportedly pro-industry when legislation is related to gas and oil. It remains to be seen how this change will affect issues moving forward.

Gay Marriage Ban Lifted? Sometime, Maybe
In a major win for marriage equality last week, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum submitted a federal court brief saying her office wouldn’t defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage because there isn’t a valid reason to do so. The brief won’t immediately end the case, as the state has to still submit a legal explanation of its decision and Judge Michael McShane must rule on the subject. But, hey, it’s progress…

Mum’s Still the Word on Security Breach
It’s been two weeks since the State’s campaign website ORESTAR was closed for business after being hacked, and officials still aren’t talking. A federal probe is looking into the matter that’s reportedly seen compromised data including bank account information, campaign finance transactions, as well as candidates’ personal information.

It’s odd that no public statement has been made yet, though understandable considering failure is involved.

Google Fiber to Portland?
Google announced last week that Portland is one of nine metro areas on a short list to receive the super high-speed Google Fiber hook up next year. The company looks to replace copper wire with fiber-optic cables that will run directly into homes and businesses. Surrounding areas like Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, and Lake Oswego may receive this 100 times faster Internet connection as well.

Corvallisites are likely filled with jealous rage, as we’ll still be relying on clunky coaxial cables courtesy of our Netflix extorting, Time Warner-gobbling friends at Comcast next year.

by Patrick Fancher