As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolShocker: Cover Oregon Delayed Again!
Although the Cover Oregon portal was finally released to agents and partners last month, it looks like the general public will still have to stand about with their thumbs up their bums for a little while longer as officials continue to try and iron out kinks. Those that do have access to the system are still reporting all kinds of bugs and system errors.

With open enrollment ending on March 31, it looks like the long way around will be the only option available for a public that has waiting for enrollment for a very, very long time. Currently just over 45,000 people have successfully signed up for private plans through Cover Oregon, and over 100,000 individuals have enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan.

U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader is trying to get Oregonians some relief by extending the open enrollment deadline by a month. But really, will that be enough? So far Cover Oregon seems to take six months for every one they promise.

Goodbye, Greg Walden?
Statistically speaking, probably not. One Dennis Linthicum, a Klamath County commissioner, is swinging hard to the right for support from the Tea Party to help oust eight-term Oregonian Republican Representative Greg Walden from his 2nd Congressional District seat. Although the jury is out, Linthicum heads into the May 20 primary with $8,000, compared to Walden’s $1.7 million. Running on a typical Tea Party platform of reining in federal spending, reducing the debt, and other things that sound great on paper, Linthicum will nonetheless have an uphill battle by appealing to the minority of Oregonian voters in order to dethrone a longtime popular favorite.

Freedom of Tweet
Around 20 students were suspended a couple of weeks back from McKay High School in Salem. Their crime? They “Retweeted” an anonymous post on Twitter that discussed a teacher’s alleged flirting with students. The suspension, lasting only two days, has set fire beneath a debate over free speech that has been looming for years. On one hand, students are expected to follow the rules set forth within their schools… and on the other? There’s that whole pesky First Amendment thing.

While there has been no immediate outrage over the disciplinary actions, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sent a letter to the school in question claiming that the students were “unlawfully disciplined.” They also requested that the school remove any record of the suspension from the files of the students involved. While the school insists that this event should be seen as cyber bullying, therefore falling under their administration policy, the ACLU contests that the students’ right to free speech was violated because their actual actions took place far beyond school grounds and didn’t constitute a credible threat to student safety.