Hill to Hall April 29–May 3

May 1: Oregon Republicans delay tax vote

Democrats’ new tax bill—House Bill 3427—has the potential to raise billions of dollars in tax revenue from businesses to be spent on early childhood and public school programs. The bill was recently voted out of committee and onto the House floor according to Statesman Journal. However, in an attempt to show dissatisfaction with the bill, Republican lawmakers have stalled the vote by not waiving the requirement that bills must be read in their entirety. The bill would require that businesses in Oregon with at least $1 million in sales must pay a .57% tax on sales. The vote will eventually move forward, and if passed, will move to the Oregon Senate.

May 1: Portland Police reports May Day protest peaceful

According to The Oregonian, approximately 200 people gathered in Holladay Park on Wednesday afternoon to protest Immigration and Customs Enforcement. May Day protests—an annual occurrence in Portland—commonly focus on labor rights, but Portland protesters focused on immigration after controversial decisions made by the Trump administration in the past year. The 2019 protest remained peaceful, according to the Portland Police, but some protesters reported and posted videos of instances of violence and pepper-spraying between protesters and counterprotesters.

May 3: New report reveals where marijuana tax money is going  

In 2016, Oregon voters approved a 3% tax on marijuana products that was anticipated to benefit business owners and those who previously had legal charges relating to marijuana. A new report published in May and reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, revealed the money is instead going toward police and transportation. The tax revenue came in at $3.6 million in 2018 and $4.6 million in 2019. According to Associated Press, voters feel the tax was intentionally broad to convince voters the money would go toward drug treatment and serving communities of color despite no intention to follow through on those measures.

May 3: New Oregon wilderness protection bill

The Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D–Ore., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D–Ore., aims to protect and expand wilderness protection efforts in Oregon. The bill would specifically add recreation areas around the Rogue and Molalla rivers and expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness, while also outlawing mining on 100,000 acres in southwest Oregon. Statesman Journal reports while the bill aims to increase Oregon’s outdoor recreation economy, opponents worry it may also increase wildfires, which has been a previous issue in the region.