ORP National Committeewoman
Jackie Winters, a well-regarded Oregon state senator and the only African-American Republican ever elected to the Legislature, died on Wednesday at 82. Winters was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1999 and the state Senate in 2003. Her legislative district included south Salem, Monmouth and rural portions of Marion County. Winters rose through the Senate ranks to become vice chairwoman of the powerful appropriation committee and in 2017 was named the Republican Caucus leader – the first black person to hold that post.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
State Sen. Jackie Winters, a decades long lawmaker who passionately advocated changes to Oregon’s criminal justice system, passed away Wednesday. Senate President Peter Courtney sent an email shortly after 2:30 p.m., informing lawmakers the 82-year-old Winters had died at Salem Hospital. House Speaker Tina Kotek announced the news during the afternoon House floor session. Winters had spent more than a month away from the Capitol, due to what she’d characterized in April as side effects from “proactive treatment” to keep away lung cancer. She’d been diagnosed with the disease in 2017.
State Sen. Jackie Winters has died. The solemn news was delivered on the House floor by Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, shortly after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, as lawmakers began to get an email announcing her death. Several House members, including Rep. Denyc Boles, R-Salem, and Rep. Theresa Alonso Leon, D-Woodburn, broke into tears. The body stood for a moment of silence to remember Winters, a Salem Republican who was a force in the building known for her progressive work on criminal justice reform as well as a uniter in the Senate Republican caucus.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
he reading clerk in the Oregon House got a chance to rest her vocal chords Wednesday. That’s because for the first time in weeks, lawmakers agreed to waive a requirement that all bills be read aloud in their entirety before a vote can be taken. The provision is part of the Oregon Constitution, as is the routine motion typically employed by lawmakers to waive it. Up until a few weeks ago, House Republicans made that motion each day. But when Democrats pushed forward a controversial $2 billion tax and education bill in early May, the GOP stopped agreeing to waive the requirement.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Two of the more conservative members of the Oregon House defected from their party on Wednesday and sided with Democrats to end the reliance of an arcane procedural rule that dramatically slowed the pace of the legislative session. In doing so, the right-leaning lawmakers might have also torpedoed their party’s ability to effectively negotiate with the Democratic supermajority. For nearly a month now, Republicans have relied on a provision in the Constitution requiring that all bills be read in their entirety before final passage. The move has caused the session to slow to an excruciating pace.
A GOP stalling tactic to delay progress on Oregon House Democrats' platform came to an end after two Republicans broke party lines. Reps. Bill Post and Mike Nearman joined House Democrats Wednesday in voting to suspend the requirement that all legislation be read in full. That gave the chamber, overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, the votes needed to end a month-long stalling tactic that required that hundreds of pages of legislation be read aloud. In a statement, Post says that slowing down House business isn't productive, given there's only a month left this legislative session. Democrats have already implemented their main priorities, including a $1 billion school funding package paid for through a new tax on business.
Nearly three dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including numerous Pacific Northwest lawmakers, have signed a letter of support for the Trump administration’s plan to strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections. The letter, first reported by the Associated Press, was signed by a group of 35 bipartisan legislators, including Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon, Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher of Idaho, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Greg Gianforte of Montana.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Over the years, Oregon’s legislature has seemed vaccinated against the podcast bug. As offerings for downloadable, listen-when-you-want shows have exploded elsewhere, much of Oregon’s political chatter has still been reserved to the Capitol’s hallways and back offices. It’s a building where history is often made, but the future can be slow to catch on. This year, that’s changing. Since February, three lawmakers have begun weekly political podcasts detailing life in the Capitol. Rookie Sens. Shemia Fagan, D-Portland, and Jeff Golden, D-Ashland, have teamed up for a show. State. Rep. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, has a solo effort.
The Portland school board on Tuesday approved the district’s 2019-20 budget, which includes a $694 million general fund and a few key tweaks to Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero’s original proposal. Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Le told the board an increase in projected state funding and the closure of a charter school, among other things, bolstered the general fund from the $687 million originally proposed. The budget resolution passed 6-1, with board member Paul Anthony the lone vote against it. His contention was that the final budget lacked literacy supports for struggling students.
Depression played a role in a Parkrose High School student’s decision to bring a shotgun to his class, the teenager’s lawyer said Wednesday. Defense attorney Adam Thayne also cited unspecified mental health issues that led Angel Granados-Diaz to, according to witnesses, pull out the gun from underneath a trench coat after walking into his fourth-period government class before lunch.
Jennifer Freyd, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, has spent years studying the concept of institutional betrayal, including when institutions don’t help right the wrongs committed within them. Now Freyd is battling her own institution in court. She alleges that Oregon failed to properly respond to what her own department chair called a “glaring” pay gap between Freyd and the men she works with -- $18,000 less than that of her male peer closest in rank. The case was just dismissed by a federal judge who said that the pay difference was more about the kind of work the men in her department do and the retention raises they’d secured over the years. But research suggests that even these explanations are rooted in issues of gender. Freyd has already filed a notice of intent to appeal.
Twistlock, an online security startup that moved its headquarters to Portland just last summer, sold Wednesday for $410 million in cash. It’s among the biggest deals ever for a young Portland tech company. Founded in 2015 and previously based in San Francisco, Twistlock’s software is designed to provide online security in cloud computing. The buyer is cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks.
A industry group for landlords and property managers launched a robocall campaign aimed at drumming up opposition to a proposal that would ease criminal background checks and other screening practices for renters in Portland. The calls didn’t identify their source or provide a return phone number, an apparent violation of Federal Communications Commission regulations. But Multifamily NW, the industry group, acknowledged it had paid a contractor to make the calls.