News from around the State of Oregon, from Rogue Valley Magazine
Because Her Life Mattered – Governor Kate Brown Signs Kaylee’s Law
Kaylee Sawyer’s life was cut short in a horrible murder in Bend, Oregon, but her death will not be in vain. Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 576, known as Kaylee’s Law, yesterday. Kaylee’s 16 year old brother was there for the bill’s signing.
The law is designed to ensure that campus security vehicles, uniforms and equipment are not confused with law enforcement and that campus vehicles will not have dividers, known as “cages”. Kaylee was murdered by Central Oregon Community College campus security guard Edwin Laura in Bend Oregon July 24th, 2016 . The law will go into effect immediately.
Stop the Hate – Portland man found guilty of hate crime against African American neighbor boys
A jury found 61-year-old Michael Amatullo guilty of menacing, unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree intimidation after he harassed and threatened his young black neighbor boys with a knife December 18th. Amatullo started by yelling at the 7 year-old boy while the child took out his own trash. Then he proceeded to threaten the child’s older brother with a knife while repeatedly using racial slurs and threatening to kill them.
Arresting officers reported he used the slur 6 more times during the arrest when they asked him if he considered himself racist. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for the felony unlawful use of a weapon charge. Among others, he was found guilty of second-degree intimidation – a hate crime.
No shake, rattle or roll – Magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck off the Oregon Coast
Officials at the U.S. Geological survey said the 5.3 magnitude earthquake was likely “too far offshore for any shaking to be felt on land” as Oregon’s early warning system still waits for funding. The earthquake hit at an estimated depth of 9 miles, 175 miles west of Reedsport.
The quake struck in the area known as the Blanco Fracture Zone, near the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Frequent seismic activity is reported in that area and does not indicate something larger is at bay. Officials say it does serve as a reminder that the Pacific Northwest is overdue and could face a major earthquake at any time.
Improving Lives – Community Health Care Centers and Diabetes programs get the go ahead
The Energy and Commerce Committee passed several bipartisan bills Thursday; legislation that is designed to improve the lives of all who call Oregon home.
The Specialized Diabetes program will get funding to continue lifesaving impacts on Oregonians living with Diabetes. Community Health Centers, who serve almost a quarter million residents, will get 4 more years guaranteed funding. Patients following doctors’ orders will NOT get surprise medical bills should those orders lead to a medical emergency, after the passage of the No Surprises Act. And telemarketers will have to work harder to harass state residents with the passage of the “Stopping bad Robocalls” act. For all of this, Representative Walden says “he’s thrilled.”
Oregon Public Employees could see a 15% more pay over the next two years
New contracts have been negotiated, but not yet voted on, by the Public Employees Unions who represent Oregon State workers. In the contracts, 15% pay increase over the next two years; both step and cost of living increases included. Officials insist that the wage increases are needed to keep Oregon competitive in attracting employees. Melissa Unger, Executive director of the SEIU 503, Oregon’s largest public employee union, said that while the pay hikes would help state workers play “catch up” with private sector wage growth, the increases did not address paying back employees for cost-sharing pensions system passed last spring