Oregon government corruption
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Salem, OR On October 7, 2010, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger released his 2010 transparency report, which was compiled from a series of open meetings and public records open forums the Attorney General held over the past year. To read the full report, please see, 2010 Oregon Government Transparency Report.
Oregon lawmakers have taken steps in pushing back the policies by suspending for two years sections of a voted-in law mandating longer sentences for repeat property offenders and drug dealers. The lawmakers passed a new set of restrictions keeping costly initiative measures at bay.
Washington lawmakers passed a law to save almost $1 billion by essentially ignoring some state education initiatives. One of these called for annual teacher raises.
Washington Democrats suspended a initiative that makes requirements for training for home-care aides who serve the elderly and disabled.
"One of the biggest concerns that lawmakers have is the financial straitjacket that initiatives can put on legislatures through big spending proposals or through spending and revenue caps," said Jennie Drage Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Salem, OR An Oregon Court of Appeals, ruled this past week that lists of individuals who have received concealed handgun permits are in fact public records and subject to release. The decision is an appeal from a 2007 request by the Mail Tribune for records.
The state legislature gave its final approval to the measure the morning of June 29, 2009 and this House Bill 2500 is a bi-partisan effort of a group of lawmakers. The group includes State Representatives Arnie Roblan, Jefferson Smith, Kim Thatcher, and Gene Whisnant. The measure is on its way to the Governor’s Desk. 
Oregonians will be able to watch where their tax dollars are allocated online. Though the state already provides public contracts, employee salaries, audits and other data online, it is buried deep within the files and pages of its website.
The movement will not open the information gates wider, the same accessible information will now be more easily accessible and online.
The Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit is a state program that offers businesses, nonprofits and government agencies a tax credit for 35 percent to 50 percent if they “go green”. An investigation by the Pamplin Media Group from January 2004 through February 2008 state agencies were awarded $4.4 million in BETCs for a range of projects that cost more than $20,000 each, yet cost Oregon taxpayers $1.2 million in lost tax receipts. 
The measure was endorsed Monday after supporters said making that information public would jeopardize the personal safety of concealed handgun permit holders."
The measure endorsed Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee was sought by Oregon sheriffs who want to prevent newspapers and others from getting lists of people with concealed handgun permits."
"For going on two decades now, the significant government act of granting a citizen a license to carry a concealed handgun has been a public record in Oregon.
In all that time, there's been no documented case, nothing, demonstrating that including concealed handgun information in the state's public records law has caused any real harm to the holders of those licenses.
Yet Oregon lawmakers of both parties are rushing anyway to exempt the concealed handgun records from public records, throwing a veil of secrecy over the process of granting licenses to carry concealed guns."
"In Oregon, public records are open to everyone and in many cases are free.
So when KATU received a quote of $1.5 million from the city to pull public records from Mayor Sam Adams' office, you can imagine the sticker shock.
It all started weeks ago when the mayor issued a public apology over the scandal involving his relationship with a young intern. During the press conference, KATU requested Adams' phone, calendar and e-mail records from the spring of 2005, when the then city commissioner was developing a relationship with 17-year-old Beau Breedlove."
"Sheriffs around Oregon have been sending an unusual letter to holders of concealed weapons permits with this message: If you don't want the public to know you've got a permit, we'll try to help you out.
The letter from the sheriffs says newspapers and others are trying to get lists of people who have concealed handgun permits, sparking a legal challenge that's pending in the Oregon Court of Appeals.
And as the appeals court mulls the issue, Oregon lawmakers are pursuing legislation to take those records completely out of public view by prohibiting their release under the Oregon public records law."
Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, St. Paul, Newberg, and Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, announced their bipartisan legislation as an "effort to protect gun owners."
"Disclosure defeats the whole point of having a concealed weapons permit," Thatcher said. "The private information about these Oregon gun owners should also remain concealed.""
"A former Multnomah County morgue supervisor filed a federal lawsuit last week against county prosecutors for releasing public records alleging he used a state data system to snoop on his boss.
Robert Boggs, a former chief deputy medical examiner, was fired in 2007 after an investigation by the Multnomah County District Attorney's office into morgue workers misusing the state Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS).
As reported in The Oregonian and elsewhere, the investigation found that morgue employees had used LEDS to look up background info on neighbors and celebrities, including Charlie Sheen and KOIN-6 reporter Amy Frazier."
"Oregon Attorney General John Kroger is being urged to change the way state agencies respond to public information requests.
University of Oregon economics professor Bill Harbaugh says the state's public records laws are "horrible," but can be fixed immediately.
In an op-ed published Friday on the left-leaning blog Blue Oregon, Harbaugh said just as U.S. President Barack Obama overhauled the federal Freedom of Information Act, Oregon's attorney general can similarly ease access to the state's public documents."
"Oregon has horrible public records laws. Attorney General John Kroger can fix them overnight.
In his inaugural speech President Barack Obama said that he would make sure our federal government would "do our business in the light of day." He meant it. His first official act was an executive order strengthening the federal Freedom of Information Act. Oregon needs to do the same thing."
"The city of West Linn will receive $385,000 under a settlement agreement with Pauly Rogers and Co. and accountant L. Parry Ankersen, who signed off on financial audits as $1.4 million was embezzled from public funds.
The city released a copy of the five-page agreement Friday in response to a public records request filed by the Tidings in October, when city councilors authorized City Manager Chris Jordan to sign the final draft of the settlement agreement, release and covenant not to sue. The last party signed off on the deal Dec. 15."
Matthew Lowe, with the firm of O’Donnell, Clark & Crew, confirmed Wednesday morning that he had withdrawn the request. He also cleared up a widely reported misunderstanding.
He said he had filed the request on behalf of Oregon Gun Owners, whose formal name is Oregon State Rifle Association. The couple who are the principals in the group wanted the names of concealed license holders so they could make up a mailing list, Lowe said.
Earlier reports had suggested the request was a ploy in a campaign to exempt the licenses from disclosure."
"Central Oregon correspondent Ethan Lindsey reports on the controversy over concealed weapons.
The debate really boils down to this: should concealed handgun licenses be public or private?
According to state law, the licenses are public records just like hunting licenses or marriage licenses.
But OPB surveyed every sheriff's office in the state, and it is clear they're all working to keep the documents private."
"Many sheriff's departments in Oregon, including Umatilla County, have embarked on a campaign to get people with concealed weapons permits to sign letters or documents asking that the public record of the permit not be made available to the public.
It's not often you'll find law enforcement officials lobbying people to take advantage of what may be a temporary loophole in the law."
"Portland lawyer Matthew Lowe said his law firm wants to know the name of everyone in Oregon who has a concealed weapons permit.
Why? Lowe said it’s to protect their identities.
Legislators need to change Oregon law to make sure concealed weapons permits are not considered public records, he said. His law firm O’Donnell Clark & Crew — acting on behalf of a confidential client — wants to contact permit holders directly and rally support for these changes, he added."
"Washington County jumps the gun with its dire warnings over concealed-weapons records.
Other than scaring the bejeebers out of them, it's hard to see what Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon achieved this week in a mass mailing to some 10,000 concealed-weapons permit holders."
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