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Oregonians for Food and Shelter legislative update 6/6/09

This week marks week 21 of the current legislative session. 
 
Have a wonderful weekend.
 
Paulette, Terry & Sandi

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OFS Legislative Report for the Week of June 1 - 5, 2009
Salem capital, spring2 

WEEK  21:  The Democrat leadership is working at warp speed to shut down the '09 legislative session by June 30.  In other words, they have their minds made up on key issues like taxes and climate change.  Both could be extraordinarily expensive to OFS members and all businesses in general.   Please know the natural resource and business lobby are working well together in an attempt to insure that reasonableness rules the day.  Only time will tell if the "good guys" win, lose or draw.   Pesticides, Taxes and Employer Gag Bill are the three topics you will find of interest today.
 
PESTICIDES:  The two pesticide specific bills that OFS had responsibility for this session are in the final stages of passage.  HB 2999-B (PURS) has passed both chambers of the legislature, but still needs to return back to the House for concurrence to address the Senate amendment further extending the sunset from 2016 to 2019.

 

SB 637-B (IPM in schools) is awaiting a vote on the House floor but has been carried over on the House calendar daily since last Friday.  We fully expect the bill to pass the House next week.  It too will need to return to its chamber of origin, the Senate, for concurrence.  The House added an amendment to clarify that janitors and kitchen staff did not need a pesticide applicator's license to clean toilets or disinfect food prep surfaces!!!  OFS staff does not see any impediments to its passage as well. 
 
TAXES:  This has become the $20 billion gorilla in the room.  Many of us believe that the Democrats have decided "the public just doesn't know how much they will appreciate the tax increases" so they're going ahead with plans to increase them.   Somehow they believe Oregonians don't really understand the economics when they say "no" to taxes.   Some Democrats have the attitude that the public will ultimately thank them for knowing what is really in their "best" interest!   Boy, are they in for a surprise!  However, if you do not want your taxes increased, please have a discussion with your legislator.  The business lobby under the leadership of Associated Oregon Industries are doing all they can to stop the tax madness.   
 
EMPLOYER GAG BILL:  We have received many questions about SB 519.  This bill is AFL-CIO sponsored and will dictate that Oregon employers will not be able to discuss political matters or religion in the work place.  We don't know how many of you discuss "religion", but we do know that discussions on "political matters" do take place from time to time.   With some clever use of embedding definitions within definitions, the term "political matters" also covers "the decision to join, or not join, support or not support any lawful constituent group or activity" - and then defines "constituent group" to include "labor organizations."    Put it all together and an employer will be prohibited from discussing union membership with his/her employees.   Please see the review Associated Oregon Industries has shared with us, "ACTION ALERT:  SB-519 Will Undermine Employer Ability to Talk to Employees" found elsewhere in this newsletter.

THE LABEL IS THE LAW!
Capital Press Logo
 
5/27/2009  
States issue fines for pesticide violations on onions
Mitch Lies, Capital Press

The Oregon and Idaho departments of agriculture have issued 10 fines totaling nearly $200,000 for pesticide violations on onions during the 2008 growing season.

Officials in the two states said all the fines were for improper or erroneous application of two chemicals - Furadan and Basagran - that are not labeled for use on onions.

Two of the growers, in Malheur County in Oregon, were penalized two years ago for similar violations.

The fines for off-label applications of Furadan and Basagran in Oregon range from $10,000 to $70,000. The $70,000 fine is the largest civil penalty ever issued by the department for an applicator infraction.

The Oregon growers have 10 days to appeal the penalties.

Stemming from the same investigation, the Idaho Department of Agriculture fined two Idaho growers, a field consultant, a chemical supplier and an applicator for pesticide infractions involving Basagran and Furadan.

The Idaho fines ranged from $500 to $6,000.

The highest fine the Idaho Department of Agriculture can issue is $3,000 per infraction.

In Idaho, field consultant Boyd Peterson of Payette was fined $3,000 for recommending a grower apply Basagran off-label to onions. Grower Darin Walker of Weiser was fined $6,000 for applying Basagran off-label to onions. Grower Rick Michael of Weiser was fined $6,000 also for applying Basagran off-label to onions.
 
Farmers Supply Cooperative of Weiser was fined $3,000 for distributing Basagran for use on onions. And James Jennings was fined $500 for a faulty aerial application after Furadan being applied to alfalfa drifted onto an adjacent onion field.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, used new authority granted it by the 2007 Legislature in fining the Oregon growers $10,000 per violation. The department must determine a violation was willful and negligent to issue the $10,000 maximum fine.

The previous maximum fine in Oregon was $1,000 for a first violation and $2,000 for a repeat violation.

The Oregon growers were fined the maximum in all 18 infractions.

Kris Yano of Ontario, Ore., was fined $70,000 for seven cases of allegedly misusing the herbicide Basagran. Brent Wagstaff of WBH Farms in Nyssa, Ore., was hit with $60,000 in fines, including $10,000 for allegedly misusing Furadan and $50,000 for five incidents of allegedly applying Basagran off-label.

Froerer Farms of Nyssa was fined $30,000 for three cases of allegedly misusing Basagran. Craig Crawford and David Navarrete, both of Ontario, both were issued a $10,000 penalty - Crawford for allegedly misusing Basagran, and Navarrete for allegedly misusing Furadan.

Crawford and Froerer Farms were fined in 2007 for off-label application of Furadan to onions.

ODA tested 86 samples of soil, weeds, onion foliage and bulbs from 60 fields in uncovering the 18 positive tests. The investigations were initiated based on a tip.

The Oregon and Idaho penalties come two years after a sweeping investigation in 2006 uncovered evidence that more than a dozen Oregon growers and several Idaho growers misused Furadan on onions.

Sixteen Malheur County growers were fined a total of $112,000 in 2007 for off-label applications stemming from the 2006 investigation.

Also resulting from the 2006 investigation, Land View Inc., an Ontario, Ore., pesticide dealer, was fined $89,910 for selling Furadan to an unlicensed applicator 81 times over a 30-month period.

Following those incidents, the Oregon agriculture industry asked the state Legislature to grant the Oregon Department of Agriculture authority to increase the dollar amount it can fine growers for off-label pesticide application.

Lynn Jensen, Oregon State University Malheur County Extension onion specialist, said the vast majority of onion growers in the area are "extremely disappointed" over the recent developments.

"The onion industry is very concerned about these practices," he said. "The honest people pay for the dishonest ones. ... That's what happened with the Furadan case (in 2006) is the honest people are having to pay to prove they're honest."

Jensen said onion shippers are considering imposing mandatory testing on all Malheur County onions at growers' expense to ensure no illegal materials are present.

Jensen suspects growers used the broad spectrum, systemic insecticide Furadan for thrips control. Furadan contains carbofuran, which the Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out.

Thrips vector the potentially devastating iris yellow spot virus.

Several alternatives are available to control the pest, Jensen said. But the alternatives require multiple applications - typically once every seven to 10 days for eight to 10 weeks.

"With Furadan, you don't have to be in there as frequently to get the job done. It's cheaper for them," Jensen said.

In the case of Basagran, which growers use to control yellow nutsedge, few options exist, Jensen said.

The weed has mushroomed in recent years and now is a major pest in the area.

Growers gain some control using fumigants in the fall and coming back with Dual Magnum and Outlook in the growing season, he said.

"But if a field gets bad, you just have to take it out of onion production," Jensen said.

Onions from fields with positive soil or foliage tests were embargoed and prohibited from entering commercial channels until tests confirmed they contained no pesticide residue.

Growers plowed out two fields with bulbs that tested positive for the pesticides.

"We'll be having close surveillance in the area (this year)," Mitchell said.

"We cannot allow this practice to continue. I'm surprised it happened a second time," he said.
Action Alert: SB-519 Will Undermine Employer Ability to Talk to Employees.   Information from Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) 

SB 519 Will Undermine Employer Ability To Talk To Employees - Unless You Help Convince Seven Senators Today To Vote NO On SB 519!

In the next two days, the Oregon Senate is expected to vote on SB 519. While we initially defeated this legislation a month ago, the labor unions have since prevailed on several senators to approve the bill.

SB 519 is a union-sponsored bill designed to hinder the ability of employers to inform employees of its perspective on union organization.

In its current form, SB 519 undermines an employer from requiring attendance at an organization's meetings concerning the employer's opinions on "religious or political matters." It does so by creating an unlawful employment action against an employer who makes an adverse employment action against an employee who refuses to attend the mandatory meeting or take part in an employer's "communication." SB 519's prohibition also extends to the employer's use of mandatory meetings or communications to inform workers of the organization's perspective on union organization; an employer right allowed under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) for more than seventy years.

AOI opposes the bill for the following reasons:

  • SB 519 is an unconstitutional infringement on federal labor law, which guarantees the right of employers to communicate freely with employees on labor matters.
  • SB 519 is an unconstitutional infringement of employer free speech rights by curtailing an employer's political speech.
  • SB 519 creates a new protected class of workers - workers who refuse to attend mandatory meetings. These employees will now have a cause of action against employers if they are ever laid off or their employment is terminated for cause.
  • SB 519 is entirely one-sided, totally favoring unions. It tilts the workplace communications balance far in favor of organized labor.
  • SB 519 levies punitive penalties, including triple damages and "all appropriate relief," which is far in excess of federal unlawful labor practice penalties.
  • SB 519 will curtail critical employer communications on issues vital to the survival of the business.
  • Faith-based private companies will face undue hardship and would not be able to compel meetings regarding the company's mission, etc.
  • Oregon would be the only state in the nation that burdens employers with such a law!

This bill hinges on the vote of a few select Senators.
Please call or email these seven Senators today and ask them to vote NO on SB 519.

Senator Betsy Johnson (D - Scappoose)
sen.betsyjohnson@state.or.us 503-986-1716

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D - Gresham)
sen.lauriemonnesanderson@state.or.us 503-986-1725

Senator Joanne Verger (D - Coos Bay)
sen.joanneverger@state.or.us 503-986-1705

Senator Alan Bates (D - Ashland)
sen.alanbates@state.or.us 503-986-1703

Senator Rick Metsger (D - Mt. Hood)
sen.rickmetsger@state.or.us 503-986-1726

Senator Mark Hass (D - Beaverton)
sen.markhass@state.or.us 503-986-1714

Senator Bill Morrisette (D - Springfield)
sen.billmorrisette@state.or.us 503-986-1706
Wildlife Services Letter sent to Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Dave Hunt from Oregon Cattlemen and other agricultural organizations:
May 28, 2009
 
Senate President Peter Courtney    Speaker of the House Dave Hunt
900 Court St. NE, S-201                 900 Court St. NE, H-269
Salem, OR 97301                          Salem, OR 97301

Dear Speaker Hunt and President Courtney;
 
Natural resource industries have grave concerns about the funding level of USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services.  We are certainly conscious of the current budget concerns; however, this program is vitally important to agricultural producers who are not only an economic force in Oregon but also provide food and habitat to over 70% of the state's wildlife. 
 
Predator depredation is a growing problem and will only be intensified with the migration of the gray wolf into Oregon.   The Department of Fish and Wildlife anticipated increased wolf conflict in eastern Oregon and requested additional funding to address wolf depredation in the Governor's budget.
 
The benefits of Wildlife Services exceed costs by ratios ranging from 3:1 up to 27:1.[1]   When Wildlife Services prevents natural resource losses, they are increasing natural resource revenues that ripple through the local economies.  This should be a serious consideration during difficult economic times.
 
In the Ways & Means Co-Chairs' Budget there is a devastating cut for Wildlife Services between the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) budget (from $455,000 to $120,000) and the Oregon Department of Fish &Wildlife (ODF&W) budget (from $240,000 to $120,000); however, the overall budget cuts for both agencies is only 18%.  Please fund Wildlife Services at no more than an 18% total cut.  We are asking for $553,500 (full funding $675,000 X 18% cut) to be split equally between ODA and ODF&W, $276,750 each. 
 
We believe that Wildlife Services is a great investment for agriculture, for natural resources, and for Oregon's economy.   Simply put, we need the assistance of Wildlife Services today more than ever.
 
Sincerely,
 
Oregon Cattlemen's Association
Douglas County Livestock Association
Oregon Farm Bureau
Klamath County Cattlemen's Association
Oregonians for Food and Shelter
Umatilla County Cattlemen's Association
Oregon Sheep Growers Association
Wallowa County Stockgrowers' Association
Water for Life
Harney County Stockgrowers' Association
Oregon Wheat Growers League
Grant County Stockgrowers' Association

cc:  Senator Ferriolli, Senator Margaret Carter, Senator Betsy Johnson, Senator Walker, Representative Bruce Hanna, Representative Peter Buckley, Representative Nancy Nathanson, and Representative Bob Jenson

 
[1]Government Accounting Office report to Congress (GAO-02-138)
Genetically Modified Crops Get the Vatican's Blessing 
Vatican
New Scientist, June 4, 2009

'Pope Benedict XVI's scientists have given their blessing to
genetically modified crops as a possible solution to world hunger and
poverty"

THE Vatican seldom approves of scientists meddling with God's
creation. So the decision of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to
back oft-demonised genetically modified crops as an answer to world
hunger and poverty may come as a surprise.

GM crops were heartily endorsed at a week-long seminar held by the
academy in mid-May. Participants agreed that the crops offer food
safety and security, better health and environmental sustainability.
That verdict is not shared by the International Assessment of
Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, a
global UN-backed think tank that last year rejected GM as a solution
to hunger.

Some say the seminar excluded dissenters within the church who fear
that GM technology allows multinationals to control agriculture at
the expense of the poor. But participants deny bias: they also
concluded that regulations are too strict, so only big companies can
afford to get GM crops approved, whereas non-profit organisations
that want to help the poor cannot.

Read all the anti's comments and feel free to leave your own at end.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227114.200-genetically-modified-crops-get-the-vaticans-blessing.htm

 
ODA Events and Opportunities - 2009 Specialty Crop Grant Program
ODA LogoThe Oregon Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce that it is now accepting project proposals for the 2009 specialty crop grant program.
 
 
We encourage projects that address the following funding priorities:
 
Market development and access
Product and varietal development
Value-added initiatives
Innovation and productivity
Consumer education
Food safety and traceability
Certification and producer outreach  
 
Applicants should submit 1-2 page concept papers that provide a problem statement, goals and objectives of the project, project description, measurable outcomes and attach a detailed budget.  
 
Deadline:  Concept papers are due by 5:00 pm on June 29, 2009.
 
 
 
Eligible projects:
 
$25,000 - $100,000 projects for a duration of up to two years.
Matching funds, either cash or in-kind are preferred.
Multi-state, multi-commodity or sector collaboration is encouraged and given preference.
 
Projects cannot provide benefit to only a single organization, company or individual.  They must seek to provide benefit to the industry as a whole.
Administrative costs and purchases of equipment are prohibited.
 
For the purposes of this program, specialty crops are defined as commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture and horticulture). See a complete list of eligible crops under the grant program at the USDA specialty crop block grant Website at: 
Additionally, you may call the Agricultural Development and Marketing Division at (503) 872-6600 or check our Website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/ADMD for further information.
American Capitalism gone with a whimper
27.04.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru URL: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.
True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.
 
Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.
 
First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a Burger King burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.
 
Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.
 
The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.
 
These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?
 
These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman" whimper.

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.
 
The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.
 
Stanislav Mishin
 
The article originally appeared on the author's blog, Mat Rodina http://mat-rodina.blogspot.com/
Public Employees Retirement System burden to double 
From the Salem Statesman-Journal
May 30, 2009
By Dennis Thompson, Jr.

Pension contributions, now 12% of payroll, likely will rise to 25% even as governments cut back

The economic downturn will cause pension costs to double in coming years for employers participating in the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, consultants for the agency said Friday.

State agencies, local government, school districts and other public entities likely will be required to pay an average 25 percent of their total payroll in pension contributions to PERS by the biennium that begins in July 2013, according to an economic projection by the Portland firm Mercer.

By comparison, the average pension contribution for the 2009-11 biennium is set at 12 percent of payroll.
 
To read the entire article click here.
 
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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