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Oregonians for Food and Shelter Legislative Update
Friday, May 15, 2009  
Terry Witt, Executive Director                                                   503-569-3300
Paulette Pyle, Grass Roots Director                                       503-559-1279 
 
Dear Jacqui,
 
This week marks week 18 of the current legislative session.
 
Did you know that you can access a list of bills that OFS is following?  Click here to see the list which was updated on May 15th.
 
Did you know that you can access the text of any bill?  If you have the bill number, click here to do a search.
 
Have a terrific weekend and enjoy the sun!
Paulette, Terry & Sandi
 
OFS Legislative Report for the Week of May 11 - 15, 2009
Salem capital, spring2 

WEEK 18 - Topping this weeks legislative news is the Revenue Forecast which was presented this morning.  To "read all about it" click here.

Today's on-line edition of the Capital Press had this to say:
 
The latest revenue forecast shows the state's income for the upcoming two-year budget period has dropped by more than half a billion dollars.

The number, though not welcome, is better than what lawmakers had predicted. Legislative leaders expected to be down $1 billion or more.

The forecast, announced Friday, held some worse-than-expected news for the current budget period, which wraps up at the end of June.

Tom Potiowsky, Oregon's state economist, predicts that period is down an additional $350 million. Lawmakers have already cut $855 million to balance that budget.

Overall, the economist painted a more hopeful picture than he did in March. He says there are signs the economy is beginning to turn around.
 
 
Sen. Ted Ferrioli                                                     Bruce Hanna
Senator Ferrioli                                                     Representative Hanna
 
House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) and Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) had the following to say regarding the May 2009 state economic and revenue forecast:
 
"Today's revenue forecast underscores the depth of Oregon's economic recession. So far the Democratic leaderships' only response to this crisis is higher taxes, more wasteful spending, and more debt for our children and grandchildren to repay.
 
"Government can't reverse the state's recession; it can only create an environment where entrepreneurs and businesses can succeed and create jobs. Just when we need successful businesses and taxpayers the most, Democrats are committed to driving them away to other states where their capital, innovation and ability to create jobs would be more welcome.
 
"House and Senate Republicans have put a budget plan on the table that funds a full school year, protects public safety and human services, and doesn't require Oregon families and businesses to send even more of their hard earned dollars to Salem.  Unlike the Democrats' budget outline, our Back to Basics plan doesn't rely on fuzzy math. We don't artificially inflate budget numbers to justify tax increases and more unsustainable spending.
 
"Republicans believe the budget discussion should begin at current spending levels and with the revenue we actually have.  We must force agencies to justify increased spending requests, utilize agency cash balances where appropriate, and freeze salaries across state government. The Back to Basics plan reflects these principles, and leaves a surplus to fund higher caseloads, public safety needs and other contingencies that may arise.
 
 "With today's revenue forecast, Republicans firmly believe that the Legislature can balance the budget and fund critical government services without raising taxes.  Until Democrats realize that we can't balance the budget without more employed Oregonians and successful businesses, the state government will face funding shortfalls for years to come."
 
Click here for the updated Back to Basics Budget presented by the Republicans earlier this week.
Expanding Government Not Solution
Bruce Hanna
Guest Viewpoint by House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna from the May 10, 2009 edition of the Eugene Register-Guard.
 
Oregon is one step behind Michigan as the nation's leader in unemployment. Oregonians are losing jobs at a faster rate than at any time in the last 60 years. More than 256,000 Oregonians are desperately searching for work. Many Oregon companies are struggling to stay in business and make payroll, and their employees worry about joining the ranks of the unemployed.
 
During this challenging time Oregonians are looking for leadership from state government. Measuring the 2009 session so far, Salem is failing to lead.
 
Government is the only industry in Oregon seeing a growth in jobs. And based on the hundreds of millions in proposed increases in taxes, fees and government debt, it appears families and small businesses will sacrifice even more in a continued attempt to grow state government.
 
To read the entire Guest Viewpoint, click here.
ACTION ALERT - Request a NO vote on SB 528-A
We have been asked by the Oregon Seed Council, Roger Beyer, to request action by our membership on Senate Bill 528-A.
 
SB-528-A is the bill which would ban field burning.  Please call or email your legislators and ask them to VOTE NO ON SB-528-A.
 
It is especially important to contact the following key legislators:
 
Senators
Betsy Johnson   503-986-1716
Rick Metsger     503-986-1726
Laurie Monnes-Anderson    503-986-1725
 
Representatives
Jeff Barker       503-986-1428
Brent Barton    503-986-1451
Debbie Boone  503-986-1432
Jean Cowan     503-986-1410
David Edwards 503-986-1430
Chris Garrett    503-986-1438
Greg Matthews 503-986-1450
Suzanne VanOrman  503-986-1452
Brad Witt   503-986-1431
Republicans propose budget that protects core services without increasing taxes
Back to Basics Budget lets service areas replay 2007-09 funding levels
 
Click here to review the plan. 

House and Senate Republicans announced a Back to Basics Budget plan on Tuesday, May 12.  The plan funds a full school year, protects prioritized service areas like public safety and human services by giving them the same funding levels they received in the last two year budget and creates a $1.374 billion surplus for targeted legislative add-backs and contingency reserves. 
 
"This budget protects our most important priorities: quality education for our kids, safe neighborhoods and services for the most needy and vulnerable," said Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend).  "Republicans applied the same philosophy that Oregon families and small businesses are applying to their budgets, funding what is most important with what we have, tightening our belt and being fiscally responsible.  If we do those things, we don't have to talk about raising taxes on Oregon families and small businesses in these tough times."
 
Highlights of the Back to Basics Budget include:
        The plan starts with the assumption that Oregon government does not need to increase taxes in order to provide the services that Oregonians need and value. 
        The plan funds K-12 education with $6.245 billion, holding schools harmless with a zero cuts budget that ensures kids can receive a quality education through a full school year.
        The plan protects public safety, human services and other core functions by giving them at a minimum the exact budget they had last cycle.
        The plan leaves a $1.374 billion surplus for legislative add backs, enhancements, contingencies and reserves. 
        The plan leaves $457 million of our state reserves intact.
 
Republicans built the Back to Basics Budget using a philosophy that funds the most important, core services first.  This budget creates a starting point that holds services like K-12 education, higher education, public safety agencies and human services providers harmless from any cuts from their 2007-09 funding levels. 
 
To protect these priorities, the budget uses $911 million in Federal Stimulus money and $457 million from the Rainy Day and Education Stability Funds, leaving $457 million left in reserves.  The budget also uses $429 million in savings and efficiency enhancements.  After funding each core service at their 2007-09 level, the budget leaves $1.374 billion for the legislature to make targeted add-backs to the most important priorities.
 
"The way Oregon budgets must be fixed," said Senator Frank Morse (R-Morse).  "Past practices are simply not sustainable.  Government must find ways to improve performance and demonstrate the ability to reduce costs. Ultimately, core services and functions of government can be preserved without raising taxes. " 
 
In the past, the legislature has started the budget discussion with an automatic, no-questions-asked increase to state agencies, called the "Essential Budget Level."  The legislature doesn't require agencies to come before the budget writing committee and justify why they need increases in their base levels of spending like a business would.  The Legislature has handed out increases without asking tough questions about what drives the cost of state government and how we can better prioritize.  The result is out-of-control spending and insurmountable deficits.  In fact, over the last ten years our state budget has increased by more than 75%.
 
"This is a fundamental change to the way the legislature budgets," said Representative Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg).  "Oregonians are hurting and having to make tough choices in their budgets at home and in their businesses right now.  We think Oregon government should be making the same tough decisions and start managing taxpayer dollars with responsibility." 
Correction to May 8, 2009 Legislative Update 
Goofy
Oops, we goofed! 
 
Last week we inadvertently recognized Representative Jules Bailey for voting No on HB-2186-A.  As much as we would like to give him credit, he DID NOT vote NO on the bill.
 
Rep. Jeff Barker
 
 
 
 
The person we should have given credit for voting NO on HB-2186-A is Democrat Representative Jeff Barker, from Aloha.  Thank you Representative Barker!
Whatever Happened to the WOPR?
Do you remember OFS staff writing you about the BLM WOPR - Western Oregon Plan Revision?  We asked you to contact your Senator and Representative and also members of the Committees where House Resolution 3 and Senate Joint Resolution 24 were housed.  Our thanks to those of you who followed through and contacted the legislators.  Even though there was strong legislative support for both bills, neither one made it out of Committee.
 
SJR-24 sponsored by Senator Brian Boquist was assigned to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, where it died.  Senator Jackie Dingfelder is the Chairman of this committee.
 
HR-3 sponsored by Representative Sherrie Sprenger, was referred to House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee.  Representative Brian Clem is the Chairman of this committee.
 
On April 29th, a motion by the House Republicans was made to withdraw the resolution from committee and bring it to the floor for a vote.  The motion failed on a 29-28 vote.  All 24 R's and 5 D's - Representatives Schaufler, Clem, Roblan, Barton and Stiegler voted "aye"; while 28 D's voted "no".  Three D's missed the vote.  Representatives Cannon, VanOrman and Buckley were excused from the vote.
 
Three D's who co-sponsored HR 3 voted "no" -- Speaker Dave Hunt, and Representatives Greg Matthews and Deborah Boone. What's up with that?  Who would believe the empty promises by the Governor?  Quite frankly, his letter is not worth the paper it's written on.
 
Click here to see the Governor's correspondence with the Department of the Interior on the WOPR.
News from Congressman Walden 
Greg Walden
Relocate wolves to nearest wilderness, keep livestock producers informed
 
'Relocation is in the best interest of the wolves and the communities of eastern Oregon'
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. May 7, 2009 - Greg Walden (R-OR) asked state and federal wildlife officials to exercise the option outlined in Oregon's wolf plan to relocate captured wolves to the nearest federal wilderness and do more to warn communities of the wolves' presence to prevent an attack on domestic livestock.
 
"For Oregon's livestock producers who are, and will be, dealing with wolf kills to their livestock, the recent wolf depredation of 23 young lambs and a young calf in Baker County poses a strong concern," Walden said. "State and federal agencies should follow the protocols laid out for this very situation and work together to trap, remove, and relocate the wolves to a wilderness area free of domestic livestock."
 
The Baker City Herald reported on May 4 that a wolf was captured in the Keating Valley. Wildlife officials collared and then released the wolf on the spot, without relocating it to a nearby wilderness.
 
Page 45 of the February 2005 Oregon Wolf Conservation Management Plan enables the agencies to trap and relocate the wolves to the nearest wilderness.
 
"Relocation is in the best interest of the wolves and the communities of eastern Oregon, and it is my very strong request that you exercise this option in the quickest possible time frame before another attack on livestock," Walden wrote in a letter sent today to state and federal agencies.
 
Walden said that a better job should have been done to give nearby ranchers a heads-up to the wolves' presence.
 
"I understand via discussions with Forest Service officials that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) may have known that these wolves were in the area two months prior to the attacks," Walden said. "With lambing and calving season about to begin, local livestock producers should have been notified and given the opportunity to protect their livestock."
 
Page three of the guidelines found in the Federal/State Coordination Strategy for Implementation of Oregon's Wolf Plan states that "livestock producers who may have stock in the area (are to be) kept informed about the situation and provided information on what they can legally do to protect their livestock."
 
Walden was also critical of the response to the attacks. Page four of the same guidelines designates the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Services' Wildlife Services as the lead agency for "investigating livestock depredation and making the official determination on the cause of death."
 
"It is my understanding that Wildlife Services was not called into the investigation for several days and that the indecision and differing opinions that followed may have come at the cost of additional lamb deaths as well as that of a calf at a neighboring ranch," Walden says in the letter.
 
The full text of the letter is below:
 
May 7, 2009
 
Mr. Paul Henson, Oregon State Supervisor
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2600 S.E. 98th, Ste. 100
Portland, OR 97266
 
Mr. Dave Williams, Oregon State Supervisor
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
6135 N.E. 80th  Ste. A-8
Portland, OR  97218
 
Mr. Roy Elicker, Director
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
3406 Cherry Avenue, N.E.
Salem, OR 97303
 
Dear Mr. Henson, Williams, and Elicker,
 
I have grave concerns regarding the recently confirmed and devastating wolf depredation of 23 young lambs and a young calf in Baker County.  The plan to introduce these predators into the northeastern corner of Oregon has been, from its inception, controversial to say the least.  For Oregon's livestock producers who are, and will be, dealing with wolf kills to their livestock the current situation underscores why the wolves in the area pose a strong concern.  To that end I would ask that your agencies exercise the protocol found in the Federal/State Coordination Strategy for Implementation of Oregon's Wolf Plan (April 2007) in regards to coordinating with local livestock producers.  I strongly urge your agencies to follow the protocols laid out for this very situation and work together to trap, remove, and relocate the wolves to a wilderness area free of domestic livestock.
 
As reported on April 15 in the Baker City Herald, wolf tracks were found near the timberline within five to six miles from the Keating Valley ranch where the multiple attacks took place. I also understand via discussions with United States Forest Service officials that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) may have known that these wolves were in the area two months prior to the attacks.  With lambing and calving season about to begin, local livestock producers should have been notified.
 
According to the guidelines found in the Federal/State Coordination Strategy for Implementation of Oregon's Wolf Plan (under the section titled "Investigating & Monitoring Newly Discovered Wolves" [pg. 3]), the plan states "livestock producers who may have stock in the area (are to be) kept informed about the situation and provided information on what they can legally do to protect their livestock."  As I understand, no livestock producers were informed of the presence of these wolves prior to the attacks on the lambs and one calf.  
 
When a wolf does kill livestock in Oregon, according to the guidelines found in the Federal/State Coordination Strategy for Implementation of Oregon's Wolf Plan (under the section titled "Livestock Depredation Investigation and Response" [pg. 4]), the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services is designated the lead agency for "investigating livestock depredation and making the official determination on the cause of death."  It is my understanding that Wildlife Services was not called into the investigation for several days and that the indecision and conflicting opinions that followed may have come at the cost of additional lamb deaths as well as that of a calf at a neighboring ranch.
 
As I understand now, Baker County and the communities affected by these wolf kills have been informed that your agencies intend to trap, collar, and rerelease these wolves back into the same area where these livestock kills took place.  In fact, this very situation took place over the weekend with the capture, collaring, and release of a young male wolf.  The February 2005 Oregon Wolf Conservation Management Plan (pg 45) enables you to trap and relocate these wolves to the nearest wilderness at the direction of ODFW.  Relocation is in the best interest of the wolves and the communities of eastern Oregon, and it is my very strong request that you exercise this option in the quickest possible time frame before another attack on livestock.
 
Thank you for consideration of my concerns.  If you have any questions, please contact my eastern Oregon director, Colby Marshall, at 541-624-2400.
 
Best regards,
 
Greg Walden
Member of Congress
Oregon Invasive Weed Awareness Week - May 17-23, 2009 
ODA Logo
Oregon uses "TEAM" approach to fight invasive weeds

It takes a TEAM effort to successfully battle invasive noxious weeds in Oregon. TEAM- Together Everyone Achieves More- is the acronym being used as the theme for this year's Oregon Invasive Weed Awareness Week, May 17-23 as proclaimed by Governor Kulungoski. The week is designed to heighten public awareness of the need to eradicate or at least control noxious weeds. That awareness has grown over the years as more partners join the effort to fight invasive plant species.

"Collectively, Oregon has come a long way in dealing with our noxious weed problems," says Tim Butler, supervisor of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Noxious Weed Control Program. "The public is very tuned in to invasive species issues in general. All regions of Oregon- from the coast to the Idaho border and all points in between- have invasive noxious weed issues they are trying to deal with."

Conservatively, annual damage caused by noxious weeds in Oregon exceeds $100 million. Early detection and rapid response is the most effective strategy to keep introductions of invasive weeds from fully establishing. When a noxious weed is in abundance, Oregonians have to learn to live with it. A combination of strategies keeps invasive noxious weeds from becoming an even greater threat to Oregon. But it's clear that a successful response to invasive weeds takes more than one agency or one landowner.
 
"Noxious weeds do not respect ownership boundaries or natural resource boundaries," says Butler. "To be successful, we all need to work together."
A unified approach has successfully played out in all regions of Oregon. ODA, other state agencies, federal partners, cities, counties, and private landowners are all key members of the team.

Northwest Region (which includes the north and central coast along with the Willamette Valley):  Several government agencies have combined with private sector entities to form the Northwest Weed Management Partnership- an active coalition that works on weed issues. An initial focus has been on Japanese knotweed with control of the invasive plant already achieved in several watersheds. Survey detection work has led to a map of infestations allowing successful spot herbicide treatment to effectively keep the weed under control from the upper reaches of the watershed down to its drainage. The partnership is now branching out into garlic mustard and other unwanted non-native plant species.

Southwest Region:  Cooperative work has been the only way to keep the invasive weed Paterson's curse from getting out of control in Douglas County. Spread over 300 acres when it was first detected in 2004, a variety of partners have come together to deliver a comprehensive blow to the weed. ODA has worked with the Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District, Roseburg Forest Products, and the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Indian Tribe to treat the infestation before the weed goes to seed. Paterson's curse is now considered 90 percent controlled in the area. In Australia, where the noxious weed is out of control, officials report a $33 million per year impact on pasture and range land.
North Central Region:  Yellow flag iris sounds like it might be a pretty flowering plant. In fact, it is a more recent edition to the state's noxious weed list. It has been found growing along streams and irrigation ditches. Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes counties have joined forces with ODA, the Oregon State Parks Department, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, PGE, and the group Friends of the Metolius River, and the US Forest Service to make headway on detection and control of the weed in a comprehensive fashion. Funds from the State Weed Board have helped support those efforts.

South Central Region:  A new invader showed up near Klamath Falls in 2007 as Taurian thistle was detected for the first time in Oregon. ODA partnered with the county's weed control program to quickly respond before the weed spread and good progress has been made in eradicating the thistle. In Lake County, a cooperative weed management area has been established that brings together ODA, the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, county entities, and private landowners to focus on pepperweed, Mediterranean sage, and other thistle species. Again, the State Weed Board has provided funds for the efforts.
Southeast Region:  Two cooperative weed management areas have been formed in this corner of the state to bring all parties to the table in forming a battle plan against noxious weeds. One weed of concern is perennial pepperweed that has taken root in the south fork of the Malheur River, spanning the county line between Malheur and Harney. Private ranchers in the area have been eager and willing cooperators in the effort.

Northeast Region:  This is probably the strongest area of the state in terms of weed management activities. It was the early 1990s when Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties formed the Tri County Weed Management Area in response to several weed threats that took root in all three counties. With an impressive collection of state, federal, county, and private cooperators, biological control efforts have been successful in controlling Dalmation toad flax. A stem weevil which is a natural predator of the weed has thrived and been collected in Umatilla, Baker, Grant, and Wallowa counties, then re-distributed in areas of toad flax infestation.

In all regions of the state, the philosophy is the same. Early detection and rapid response are key elements of a successful noxious weed control strategy.
"We need everyone's cooperation," says Butler. "If you let one infestation go without being treated, it continues to be a source of seeds that spread to other areas."

Public education and outreach are also high priorities. On Monday, May 18, the Central Oregon Weed Wagon will be on display at the State Capitol complete with pamphlets, videos, and other educational materials. The wagon will symbolically kick off Weed Awareness Week and highlight the TEAM approach to fighting invasive plant species- a trail blazed by partnerships all across Oregon.

For more information, contact Tim Butler at (503) 986-4621.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces Funding for New Organics Initiative 
Click here for an html version of the following news release. 
                                                            
United State Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
United State Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 900 
Portland, OR 97204
 
Click here to go to NRCS
Webspage
                                                                                                            

For Immediate Release   
 
CONTACT: Bill White, NRCS Program Manager:
(503) 414-3085, Bill.White@or.usda.gov
 
 
More Than $1 Million in Funding Available in Oregon
PORTLAND, May 11, 2009-Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has announced $50 million for a new initiative to meet the Obama Administration's promise to encourage more organic agriculture production.  Funding for the initiative, including more that $1 million for Oregon farmers and ranchers, is being made available as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). 
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is taking applications from organic producers and producers in transition to organic farming between May 11 and May 29, 2009.

"Assisting organic producers is a priority of the 2008 Farm Bill as well as for Secretary Vilsack and the Obama Administration," said Merrigan.  "The objective of this initiative is to make organic food producers eligible to compete for EQIP financial assistance."
 
The 2009 Organic Initiative is a nationwide special initiative to provide financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under the general EQIP program that is open to both organic and non-organic producers.

Through the Organic EQIP signup, farmers, ranchers and dairy operators may apply for financial assistance and technical expertise to plan and install conservation measures, such as:  nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, forage harvest management, cover crops, conservation crop rotations, and more.
A complete list of eligible practices and payment rates and additional information on the 2009 EQIP Organic Initiative are available on the Oregon NRCS Web site at:  www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/organic.html  
 
Interested producers can determine their eligibility and submit an application at their nearest USDA Service Center, listed with federal agencies in the telephone book and posted online at: http://www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/basindir.html 
 
Please contact us with any questions or comments:
Terry Witt, Exeuctive Director          503-569-3300 or terry@ofsonline.org
Paulette Pyle, Grass Roots Director 503-559-1279 or paulette@ofsonline.org
Sandi Schukar, Office Manager      503-370-8092 or sandi@ofsonline.org
 
HAVE A TERRIFIC WEEKEND!
 
Terry, Paulette & Sandi
 
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              Page Updated: Saturday May 16, 2009 01:28 AM  Pacific


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