Hill to Hall May 21–May 25

May 21: Oregon Senate passes election security bill

Senate Bill 944 “overwhelmingly passed” the Oregon Senate on the day of Oregon’s special election for local positions and tax laws according to AP News. The bill would require county clerks to perform hand-count or risk-limiting audits after every election, as opposed to just general elections. The bill’s primary purpose is to help ensure accurate election results. The bill will be voted on in the Oregon House of Representatives in the following months.

May 22: New bill changes Oregonian tax exemptions

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill stating Oregon residents will no longer be free of Washington’s 6.5% sales tax. Currently, Oregon residents can have sales tax taken off items that will be used outside of Washington, such as clothing and electronics. Now, Oregonians will have to submit an annual form to the State of Washington asking for the reimbursement of sales tax over purchases of $25. Inslee said he believes it will generate more revenue for the state, but opponents of the bill are hesitant, saying businesses along the Oregon-Washington border will suffer. This does not include local sales tax, such as the 1.9% charged in Vancouver. The bill goes into effect on July 1.

May 23: Gov. Kate Brown intends to reverse Oregon State Police funding cuts

After Oregon police officer Nic Cederberg was awarded the national Medal of Valor, Gov. Kate Brown announced her intent to reverse funding cuts to Oregon Police Department. Officer Cederberg was the sole state trooper to pursue a man who had shot and killed his wife. Cederberg was left in critical condition after the shooter opened fire. Brown said if rural police departments were better funded, Cederberg wouldn’t have been alone that night, yielding a different result. Funding cuts have left Oregon with only 380 troopers to patrol more than 6,400 miles of highways and often do not have the budget to employ troopers 24/7.

May 24: Changes made to Oregon juvenile justice system

Senate Bill 1008 passed the Oregon House in a 40-18 vote, reversing the decades-old practice of automatically sending youths accused of serious crimes to adult court. This is an overturn of Measure 11, a mandatory minimum sentencing law that requires that anyone 15–17 years old arrested for certain crimes be charged as an adult. This decision is being hailed as significant progress toward reforming the juvenile justice system. Gov. Brown is expected to sign the bill in the upcoming week.