Hill to Hall May 6–9

May 6: Oregon Republicans shut down Senate over tax bill

Oregon Republicans have shut down the Oregon Senate in protest to House Bill 3427, a bill that would tax businesses with revenues over $1 million and give an estimated $2 billion to schools, according to Associated Press. Many senators have refused to show up to the capitol, resulting in not enough members for a formal vote. Many say they will not appear on the floor until the bill comes back from committee with changes. Sen. Mark Hass, D–Beaverton, has expressed worry over ensuring that the money will actually be put toward schools, which would take a constitutional amendment.

May 7: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denies permit for pipeline

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied a water quality permit for the Jordan Cove LNG project, a 229-mile natural gas pipeline in southern Oregon’s Coos County by Canadian fossil fuel corporation Pembina. This decision comes in celebration from some groups, such as the Klamath Tribe and environmental protesters, who are concerned about leakage of drilling materials disrupting the water supply and fisheries. Opposition to the pipeline has been going on for 15 years. It is currently unknown if Pembina will reapply for the water quality permit.

May 8: 25,000 teachers protest in Portland

Oregon Public School teachers participated in a walkout to protest the lack of funding for education. According to Associated Press, Oregon public schools have one of the lowest graduation rates and some of the largest class sizes in the country. The May 8 protest was scheduled after the Oregon state budget was released, nearly $9 billion for K–12 education, which school administrators say will not be sufficient. Teachers and students protested in Portland for increased funding as well as in response to cuts of student services such as counseling services. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, several local school districts around Portland canceled school for the day.

May 9: Disability rights group pushes back against e-scooter complaints

According to the disability rights group Disability Rights Oregon, Portland’s decision to put e-scooter companies in charge of handling citizen complaints is potentially problematic. According to DRO, the latest attempt to regulate the scooters was not done through a public process and did not allow input from those who need a motorized vehicle to get around the city. The City of Portland has required companies to maintain a 24-hour complaint line, but DRO is worried about having a private company in charge of the complaints because it’s a violation of public records transparency.