Hill to Hall May 28–May 31

May 28: Oregon Public Schools now required to teach material on Holocaust

Oregon Lawmakers unanimously voted to add mandatory Holocaust instruction to the school curriculum starting in the 2019–20 school year. This decision comes after new surveys show one in five American millennials surveyed were unfamiliar with the Holocaust, as well as the quadrupling of anti-Semitic incidents at K–12 schools from 2015 to 2017, according to The Anti-Defamation League. The bill is written in honor of Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener who died last year. Oregon will officially be the 11th state in the country to require Holocaust curriculum.

May 29: Temporary ban placed on fracking practices

The Oregon Legislature approved a temporary ban on the controversial oil exploration tactic known as fracking until 2025. Otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, the practice involves injecting high-pressure liquids into underground rock to extract oil and gas. Environmental advocates in opposition to this practice claim it can contaminate groundwater and cause other potential environmental risks. The bill previously banned fracking for 10 years but was shortened to approximately five, where it passed 17-11. According to Statesman Journal, New York, Vermont and Maryland have already passed fracking bans, and Florida and New Mexico are considering banning the practice.

May 30: Oregon looking to reduce marijuana production  

The Oregon Legislature is attempting to reduce marijuana production by passing a bill that would allow the Oregon Liquor Control Commission more flexibility to deny new growing licenses based on supply and demand. As of January, OLCC estimates Oregon has six and a half years worth of supply of recreational marijuana. The OLCC attributes this to Oregon’s head start in the legal marijuana market, its rich climate and soil, as well as the long history of growing in Oregon. The bill is not only aimed at reducing surplus but also preventing unsold legal marijuana from going onto the black market. The bill passed the Senate and now heads to the House.

May 31: Oregon lumber company cuts workers by 40%

The Stimson Lumber Company announced it would cut 60 jobs from its Forest Grove operations because of the state’s regulations and taxes. CEO Andrew Miller has since come out and said environmental permit fees, the Oregon Clean Fuels Tax, pending cap and trade legislation are responsible for the increase in cost that is forcing the company to cut workers. The company plans to move to Idaho and Montana where they can produce lumber for 5–6% less than in Oregon.