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Hill to Hall Feb. 5-12

Feb 5—Oregon State Representative to face a vote to expel after sexual harassment accusations

After a unanimous vote, members of the Oregon House Conduct Committee are recommending that the full House expel Rep. Diego Hernandez, amid sexual harassment allegations. According to The Oregonian, this is the first time a vote to expel a Representative has been brought to the House floor. The committee determined 18 specific acts by Hernandez that constituted sexual harassment or contributed to a hostile work environment, including pressuring two women to engage in a relationship, or risk losing their professional positions. 2/3 of the House Vote, or 40 members, are required to expel Hernandez.


On Feb 12, OPB reported that Hernandez is fighting back against the allegations, and filed a lawsuit against the Oregon State Legislature Friday, arguing that he was not given a proper chance to defend himself. 


Feb 12—Oregon US Attorney to resign this month

At the request of the Biden Administration’s acting attorney general, most U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Trump—including Oregon’s U.S. attorney, Billy Williams—will resign at the end of the month. As the top federal law enforcement officer in the state, U.S. attorneys are typically replaced at the start of a new presidential administration, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Williams, however, was first appointed by Obama in May of 2015, and was later appointed again by Trump, making him one of few attorneys to work under multiple administrations. According to Willamette Week, Oregon’s two Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, will select recommended candidates for his replacement. 


Feb 13—Winter Weather prompts a state of emergency in Willamette Valley

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in nine counties Saturday night, in response to extreme winter weather across the state, according to The Oregonian. The declaration allows the Oregon Office of Emergency management to use resources from across government agencies to respond. Over the course of the storm, the hardest hit counties, including Multnomah, have dealt with widespread power outages and public transportation shutdowns. Trimet suspended all bus and MAX lines Saturday, and continued to experience disruptions Monday. According to Willamette Week, due to the winter weather over the weekend, over 225,000 households were without power.