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Points of the Day

April 30, 2010

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Tax votes may hurt Republican reps

Reps. Bob Jenson and Greg Smith are hoping to keep their seats after the Republican primary in May, as their votes supporting putting Measures 66 and 67 on the ballot have put them in hot water with the eastern Oregonians they represent.

But Jenson and Smith stand by their decisions, saying they knew their careers could be endangered by their votes.

Now Jenson and Smith are fighting to keep their seats beyond Oregon's May 18 Republican primary. Jenson is challenged by Mathisen, a prison food service manager. Smith is defending his seat against Colleen MacLeod, a former Union County commissioner. The two incumbents say they knew their votes on the business and personal income tax increases could jeopardize their political careers. But both maintain that they couldn't, in good conscience, allow the cuts that could have occurred to schools and social services.

This spring, Oregonians who may have never been to these rural districts have taken a keen interest in whether Jenson and Smith keep their seats. Conservative and anti-tax groups, tea party members and even the Republican Party chairman say defeating the two incumbents will send a message to all of Oregon about taxes, trust and anger.

Read the full story OregonLive.com.

More aid for Klamath farmers

The federal government will provide an additional $2 million in drought aid for the upper Klamath Basin.

The funds will be used for pumping water from wells and paying farmers to let their fields go unseeded, reducing demand for surface water.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., praised Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the farmers on the irrigation project for their work to approve the additional funding.

“While there’s no substitute for the water to keep farming, this money will go a long way to help water users make it through the season without losing their farms and livelihoods,” Merkley said.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

Council delays sidewalk vote

The Portland City Council has postponed making a decision on proposed sidewalk restrictions to next week.

The council put off its decision in light of ongoing questions about the right to assemble and vocal community opposition. This is Portland's third attempt to regulate city sidewalks.

Thursday's testimony was overwhelmingly in opposition, with advocates for the homeless saying it reeks of classism. The proposal bans people from sitting or lying down in a 6-to-8 foot zone on sidewalks downtown and in the Lloyd District and Rose Quarter.

Adams stressed that the ordinance carves out space along every sidewalk -- near the curb -- for people to sit. The regulation protects people's right to panhandle, while making sure other sidewalk users, including people with disabilities, have room to move.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Wyden calls for campaign restrictions

Sen. Ron Wyden joined other legislators in introducing a measure to restrict the influence of corporate and special interests in political campaigns.

The measure follows a January Supreme Court decision that ruled Congress could not restrict corporate and union rights in political speech.

The new legislation would require all groups making political expenditures to disclose their donors and appear on camera in support of their ads. It also would ban foreign corporations and government contractors from spending on political ads.

"The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United was a tragic error,'' said [Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.], a co-author of the 2002 campaign finance law that restricted campaign spending by corporations and unions.

Read the full story at the Statesman Journal.

Wineries fight for exports

Oregon wineries and others across the country are fighting federal legislation that could hurt their ability to ship products across state lines.

They say House Resolution 5034, introduced into Congress earlier this month, would shift the balance between state and federal authority over wine and alcohol.

"The vast majority of Oregon and American wineries depend on the ability to ship their product direct to consumers," said David Adelsheim, founder and president of Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg. "This legislation has the power to overturn all of that."

The resolution was introduced April 15 at the behest of the powerful National Beer Wholesalers Association. The Virginia-based organization represents the interests of the country's 2,850 licensed, independent beer distributors.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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