The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, June 12, 2019, Page A9, Image 9

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Legislature endorses Oregon’s
move to national popular vote
Bill to join other
states in ignoring
Electoral College
goes to governor
By Aubrey Wieber
Oregon Capital Bureau
Oregon is on its way
to joining a movement to
ignore the Electoral College
in favor of the popular vote
in presidential elections.
Senate Bill 870 passed
the House 37-22 on June
5 after passing the Senate
nearly two months ago. The
bill joins Oregon in a group
of 15 states supporting the
effort to have the popular
vote refl ected in ballots cast
in the Electoral College. The
bill now goes to Gov. Kate
Brown, who has supported
the popular vote since her
time as secretary of state.
She will sign it, a spokes-
woman said.
With Oregon, the states
would control 196 electoral
votes. The compact would
only go into effect if enough
states joined to reach the
270 electoral college votes
needed to decide an election.
Another eight states have
passed national popular vote
bills through at least one
legislative chamber. If all
eight states passed it, that
would add another 75 votes,
according to the move-
ment’s website. That would
be one more electoral vote
than needed.
Opponents of the popu-
lar vote movement say the
current system has worked
well for more than 200 years
and ensures rural parts of
the country aren’t ignored
in deciding the president.
But the Electoral College
has become a target recently.
Donald Trump and George
W. Bush were elected with-
out winning the popu-
lar vote. Bush lost the pop-
ular vote by more than a
half-million votes while
winning enough electoral
votes to take the election.
That hadn’t happened since
the late 1800s.
The bill was carried on
the fl oor by Rep. Tiffi ny
Mitchell, D-North Coast.
She said she fi rst voted in a
presidential election in 2004
as a Utah Democrat, know-
ing her vote wouldn’t matter.
“It is truly disenfranchis-
ing to know that your vote
won’t mean anything on a
national stage,” she said.
Moving to the popular
vote, Mitchell said, would
give presidential candidates
a reason to visit more than
just battleground states. It
would ensure everyone’s
vote counted equally, and it
would help fi ght voter fraud
because those looking to
infl uence elections could no
longer focus their attention
on purple states.
Debate in the House grew
Democrats used the indi-
vidual liberty argument —
something usually brought
up by Republicans — while
Republicans said the plan
was a knee-jerk reaction.
They said it also violates
the will of Oregon voters: If
Oregon voters support a can-
didate that doesn’t get the
majority of the nation’s vote,
the state’s electoral votes
would still back the popular
vote winner rather than the
candidate who won the state.
Ideology aside, the deal is
dependent on enough states
joining the compact, which
Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer,
said was laughable.
“It’s a neato thing right
now to talk about, but soon it
will wither away and be for-
gotten about,” Post said.
In the end, it passed on
party line.
“Today, we make Oregon
a battleground state,” Mitch-
ell said.
More resources requested for
predicted above-average fi re season
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
(541) 575-5500
By Aubrey Wieber
Oregon Capital Bureau
Last week marked the
offi cial start of Oregon’s
wildfi re season, but with-
out new resources the state
is only incrementally more
prepared to combat fi re this
summer than in past years.
State Rep. Pam Marsh,
R-Ashland, said that’s why
Gov. Kate Brown’s pro-
posed budget “set off” her
constituents. It included
resources to staff a wild-
fi re council, which Brown
created through execu-
tive action this winter, but
that council won’t have
any impact until the fall at
the earliest. Then, fund-
ing would still need to
be acquired to carry out
Brown proposed no addi-
tional funding to bolster the
state’s response to this sum-
mer’s fi res.
Despite a strong snow-
pack, a state analysis pre-
dicts another above-aver-
age fi re season. It’s what’s
referred to as “the new
That’s why Marsh is
working to get $6.8 million
for wildfi re mitigation and
suppression before the 2019
legislative session ends.
The package would give
the Oregon Department of
Contributed photo/Oregon Department of Forestry
A fi refi ghter uses a chainsaw. Lawmakers are calling for more
resources as Oregon heads into another fi re season analysts
say will again be above average.
Forestry more resources to
fi ght fi re, help communi-
ties implement smoke shel-
ters to shield vulnerable
people when heavy smoke
billows into town and pro-
vide more resources to the
front lines to stop fi res from
It’s a stopgap measure,
Marsh said, but a much
needed one. Marsh sup-
ports Brown’s fi re council,
which she hopes will push
the state to a more proac-
tive approach that includes
better land management,
prescribed burns and more
“We are coming into this
session having just experi-
enced the two most expen-
sive fi re seasons in our
state’s history,” Marsh said.
Last summer’s season cost
$514 million.
Marsh is hoping to get
the money in June through
agency budgets rather than
a bill.
She has wide support, but
she’s lacking an endorse-
ment from Brown. Brown
has signaled to lawmak-
ers that she wants the coun-
cil to come up with recom-
mendations fi rst, then get
Oregon closer to making
Daylight Saving Time permanent
By Mark Miller
Oregon Capital Bureau
A proposal to put Oregon
on year-round Daylight Sav-
ing Time passed the House
Thursday, and now the only
hurdles to the change are
outside the state.
Senate Bill 320, which
passed 37-20, now goes to
Gov. Kate Brown. But the
shift away from twice-yearly
changing of the clocks will
only really happen if Cal-
ifornia passes similar leg-
islation and Congress gets
Washington has already
done so, and Gov. Jay Ins-
lee has signed the change
into law.
The California Assem-
bly last month passed a bill
to place the country’s most
populous state on daylight
time, but the state Senate has
yet to take it up.
If California joins Oregon
and Washington, Congress
still must vote to let the three
states abandon Pacifi c Stan-
dard Time. Several West
Coast lawmakers, including
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore-
gon, support the move.
The House vote on
Thursday was somewhat
closer than in the Senate,
with several representatives
opposing year-round day-
light time.
Rep. Jack Zika, R-Red-
mond, is concerned about
the sun rising an hour later in
the winter, already the dark-
est time of the year. He lives
close to where his young
children go to school, and he
doesn’t like the idea of them
going to school in the dark
more than they already do.
“Don’t make my kids
walk to school in the dark,”
Zika said.
Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer,
one of SB 320’s sponsors,
pointed to a chart that shows
when the sun would rise
and set on Nov. 20, Dec. 20,
Jan. 20 and Feb. 20 if Ore-
gon ditches standard time.
The latest sunrises would be
in western Oregon, around
9 a.m., while in central and
Eastern Oregon, they’ll be
closer to 8:30 a.m.
Oregon already observes
daylight time for a majority
of the year, from March to
November, Post noted.
“I really think we’re
talking about a small period
of time here, not a large
change,” he said after the
vote, adding, “I’m not try-
ing to discount those fears,
but I think they’re a little
Post said he’s been hear-
ing for years from con-
stituents who are tired of
“springing forward” and
“falling back” every year.
“People like the longer
afternoons and evenings,”
Post said, gesturing to the
natural light coming in
through his offi ce window.
Gov. Kate Brown has
declared her support for
making Daylight Saving
Time permanent. She said
Thursday she plans to sign
SB 320 into law.
Malheur County, the only
county on Mountain Time,
would not have to follow the
new clock rules and instead
keep its clocks in sync with
neighboring Idaho.
If federal approval is
obtained this year and Cal-
ifornia passes its own bill,
this November would likely
be the last time Oregonians
have to set their clocks back
one hour. Next March, when
the West Coast states go on
daylight time, there would
be no falling back.
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