On Feb. 25, all 11 members of the Republican state Senate walked out for the third year in a row in protest of Gov. Kate Brown's COVID-19 restrictions on schools which prevent students from attending school full-time and in-person due to the current global pandemic.
Democrats need at least two Republican senators to meet the two-thirds quorum requirement of the Oregon Senate otherwise they cannot conduct business. As a result, the legislative process is severely impeded.
The most effective way for Republican Senate members to advocate for student safety and education is to pass current legislation focused on wildfire and COVID-19 recovery and equitable climate action. Haphazardly demanding a return to normalcy in the midst of co-occurring crises will only worsen the problems Oregon inhabitants struggle with.
We must hold our policymakers accountable for their disregard of student health and people-led democratic processes. Call and write to the absent GOP members and support House Bill 2225, Senate Joint Resolution 3, Senate Joint Resolution 4, Senate Bill 261, and Senate Bill 262, all of which establish penalties to the unexcused absences of lawmakers and asks voters to amend the state Constitution to lower the quorum requirement.
Madelyn Mae Belden
We need Democrats who will fight for us
I know that I can count on Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden to vote in favor of the For the People Act. But when not one Republican votes in favor of it, can I count on them to get rid of the filibuster and pressure every "moderate" Democrat to do the same?
We worked so hard to get the Democrats their majority because we're trying to save our democracy. We need to see that the Democrats are willing to fight as hard as the American people are.
If our elected officials don't to the right thing, it will be really hard to keep telling people to vote for them? We need to get rid of the filibuster and fight for our people and our democracy.
Don't legalize prostitution; fight sex trafficking
State Rep. Bob Nosse's bill to legalize prostitution has been pulled — at least temporarily. But no appeals to modern sensibilities can ever justify this allegedly victimless industry.
Nevada has legalized prostitution but only 10% of this business is state registered. The other 90% is not and often uses unwilling women and minors.
Pimps and criminals aren't going to bother with state regulations. They often bring women and children to the U.S. illegally to keep them isolated — a trend that's bound to increase, given President Biden's open invitation for unlimited numbers of unidentified migrants to flood into the U.S.
Oregonians for Immigration Reform will continue to oppose the international sex trafficking that Democrats have ignored as they advocate for the sex industry as a whole.
In the future Rep. Nosse should represent innocent people, not pimps.
We need to improve Oregon's land-use system
As an advocate, I work across the Portland region on green infrastructure and climate policy. I know firsthand what the challenges are.
Oregon has been heralded as a model for responsible land-use planning. But I can tell you from that climate change and equity are mere after thoughts and get short shrift under our present system.
The transportation, development, and industries in and around our cities represent 70% of carbon emissions. We cannot address the challenge of climate change without new and rewritten land use goals for climate change and equity. It hasn't worked to squeeze these considerations into the existing goals.
Our climate is shifting quickly, as the fires of last year attest. Oregon's population is rapidly diversifying. People of color, tenants, the tribes and others have been marginalized by Oregon's land-use system and live on the frontlines of the climate change impacts. We need a new land-use goal and to amend our existing goals to address these changes and rebalance our land use planning.
We can't continue to pat ourselves on our backs for being the paragons of wise land-use planning. Please support House Bill 2488 and House Bill 2814.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.