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Yes, of course - Pass House Bill 4145 Democratically Run Oregon Senate

Oregon Blog Updates - February 20, 2018 - 12:58pm

From the WWeek: "The bill establishes a procedure for taking guns away from those convicted of stalking an intimate partner, and expands the state's authority to take guns away from abusers—not just spouses, but any person who has lived with or had a sexual relationship with the victim."

Senate Democrats Vote YES on House Bill 4145 Enough Dallying

I read this article in this week's WWeek and could not believe my eyes when I read:

"That's where it's probably headed again—to a Democratically controlled upper chamber where gun bills and other progressive legislation often die, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Senate 17 to 13."

Then...

"Last year, lawmakers and lobbyists say, Courtney gave Republicans an effective veto over many bills, requiring any bill that came to the Senate floor have the support of at least one GOP senator."

What The What? Note to Senator Courtney - the tide is turning on gun control. When young people are planning on marching on Washington, DC to push the gun control debate along you know things are changing. Please sir, let's move on this legislation and anything else you're waiting for Republican support on in this session. The clock is ticking and you have the majority - stop holding up sensible legislation. Thank you.

Sounds like a vote is scheduled for Wednesday - contact your State Senator and let's get this passed.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Diversity is not an option

Oregon Blog Updates - January 22, 2018 - 11:07am

By Will Newman of Canby, Oregon. Will is a retired organic farmer & small business consultant, and a non-retired advocate for justice and equality.

I am a farmer, so I attempt to influence what grows where, and when. That’s called agriculture. Since I want to be a successful grower, I learn a lot from observing natural systems.

One of the first lessons learned is that we are not in charge. It's a simple lesson, learned the first season by any gardener. We are a part of nature, and the incredible complex dynamic balance that is the natural world.

Often the second lesson learned is that change is ongoing and unending. This is another simple lesson, usually not learned until the second season, when the “permanent” stuff we did last year proves to be not so permanent.

If we pay attention, and work hard, and are open to the changes going on, and stop fighting natural cycles, and learn how to observe, and, and, and… we eventually realize that diversity is not an option.

Given that change is unending, and that each organism responds in unique ways to adjust to any particular change, it follows that the more diverse the populations of living things, the greater the chance that positive responses to change, leading to positive outcomes, will occur.

And since most of us are looking for positive outcomes, it becomes clear that diversity is not an option. It is essential.

Diversity is essential in all living systems, including human. Diversity is the key to success: diverse cultures, diverse ideas, diverse physical characteristics, diverse abilities, diverse beliefs.

And we should glory in that diversity, celebrating the myriad possibilities, and the strength we derive from the mix of those possibilities.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Merkley Sticks His Neck Out Against Pipeline, For Clean Energy Jobs

Oregon Blog Updates - January 4, 2018 - 9:44am

By Eric Hansen of Ashland, Oregon. Eric Hansen is a co-founder of True South Solar, employing 20 people in southern Oregon in the growing solar industry.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley stuck his neck out this month by opposing the Jordan Cove fracked gas pipeline and export project and arguing instead for investment in clean energy jobs and infrastructure.

Merkley gave a number of reasons for opposing the project that has been proposed by a Canadian multinational corporation that is eager to pipe fracked gas for 229 miles across southern Oregon and then export it to Asia from a massive new terminal at Coos Bay on our coast.

He said it is unacceptable that private landowners who don’t want the pipeline crossing their land are being threatened by this private Canadian company with the use of eminent domain – a power designed to accomplish critical public projects.

He pointed out that “the terminal would become the largest carbon polluter in Oregon, with emissions equivalent to putting half a million gas-powered cars on the road.”

With studies showing that fracked gas is “at least as carbon-polluting as coal,” burning it in Asia “would generate carbon pollution equal to an additional 3 million gas-powered cars on the road.”

With a renewable energy future within reach, he said, “it makes little sense to help Asia leap from coal to natural gas, locking in carbon pollution for decades.”

We have to “shift from building large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure, including Jordan Cove, and instead invest massively in building the enormous backlog of infrastructure projects that will improve our state and nation, not damage it,” Merkley added. “We can energize our construction economy by building desperately needed drinking and wastewater systems; improved bridges, roads, docks, jetties and rail; electric lines; and rural broadband.”

Sen. Merkley has been an effective advocate in Congress for job-creating investments in small ports on the coast, safe drinking and wastewater infrastructure projects, and low-cost loans that would help put people to work making homes and businesses more energy-efficient.

The solar industry employed more than twice as many workers as the coal industry last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and solar jobs grew 17 times faster than the overall economy.

Yet, as Sen. Merkley and other senators have said, the Trump administration and leaders of Congress are using pending tax legislation to cripple the solar and wind industries in favor of oil, gas, and coal.

The tax bill also would divert $1.5 trillion – that’s trillion – that could have been invested, in part, in the kind of clean-energy and infrastructure jobs that Sen. Merkley has advocated, providing a real, bottom-up boost for jobs throughout the economy.

Sen. Merkley showed he has the courage to stand for sustainable jobs, affordable energy, and urgent climate action. It will be interesting to see whether Gov. Kate Brown – who has the power to stop the Jordan Cove pipeline and export terminal – will do the same.

It will be interesting to see whether the 2018 state legislature finally passes the Clean Energy Jobs Act that would raise money from the very largest polluters to speed our transition to cleaner energy sources and greater energy efficiency.

Our state should be supporting the growing solar industry in rural communities through strong policies, not supporting steps that take us backwards and undermine renewables.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs
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