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Dec 10 2018 thru Dec 16 2018

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OREGON POLITICS December 15
Senator's anonymous delivery under doors triggers Capitol worries
The Oregon Legislature's chief lawyer has warned state Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, that his recent conduct borders on workplace harassment.
OREGON GOVERNMENT December 15
Change in Oregon's DNA law could free wrongly convicted defendants, legislators told
A restriction in Oregon law makes it challenging for those convicted of murder to win approval for new DNA testing of evidence. Advocates want that changed to clear a path to innocence.
CITY GOVERNMENT December 14
Salem library review paused following outcry from residents
Salem Public Library paused its new review of items following concerns it could needlessly purge books. The Library Advisory Board is slated to talk about the policy at its next meeting Jan. 9. The meeting is open to the public.
COLUMN December 14
COLUMN: Have a minute for a cup of coffee?
Reporters rely on many tools to perform their jobs. Troy Brynelson of Salem Reporter counts coffee as one of his most important in learning about Salem.
OREGON GOVERNMENT December 14
Oregon education reforms could cost $3 billion, legislators told
Legislators map ambitious plan to improve Oregon schools, but shortage of trained employees looms.
STATE GOVERNMENT December 13
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson releases video updating the public on his cancer
In his latest video update, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson said his brain cancer is impacting his ability to communicate, but MRIs show the tumor isn't growing and he is optimistic.
YOUR HEALTH December 13
After more than year-long search, Medicaid director returns
Oregon has chosen a familiar face to lead the state's Medicaid program as it heads towards the next phase, with a focus on mental health, value-based payments that reward outcomes instead of performing procedures and social determinants of health like housing.
COUNTY GOVERNMENT December 13
Marion County outlines upcoming review of workplace culture
A cultural audit, stemming in part from recent sexual harassment claims, could start in March. Documents released Wednesday show the county wants an investigator to conduct focus groups.
LOCAL BUSINESS December 13
Salem chamber names former employee Tom Hoffert new CEO
Hoffert, the chamber's former public affairs director and now an executive at a Mexican food manufacturer and distributor, will take over the business group starting Jan. 2.
OREGON STATE GOVERNMENT December 12
BOLI execs struggle to explain last-minute act on major Oregon pay law
Oregon senators peppered officials from the state Bureau of Labor and Industries with questions on why state rules to help employers obey a new pay law were shared just five weeks before the law takes effect. Labor bureau officials conceded they didn't have good answers.
STATE POLITICS December 12
Oregon Senate president tags Boquist with cease and desist for hostile conduct
State Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, has persisted in seeking details about the Legislature's staff pay, admitting to a "harsh" tone in one communication. Senate President Peter Courtney recently told him to stop.
SPECIAL REPORT: A SICK SYSTEM December 12
Criminally insane in Oregon attack twice as many people as previously known, new data shows
Each year, the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board frees dozens from custody who had been deemed criminally insane in felony cases -- far more often than most states. New data released by the state reveals that the risk to the public is greater than what we found in an analysis last month.
SPECIAL REPORT: A SICK SYSTEM December 12
UPDATED: Oregon board says those found criminally insane rarely commit new crimes. The numbers say otherwise.
The Psychiatric Security Review Board questioned how many people it discharged from state custody returned to crime. But it did not share its findings or change policies even as former clients killed or raped.
LOCAL SCHOOLS December 12
Salem-Keizer School Board gives Superintendent Christy Perry three more years
With a salary of $239,126, Perry is among the top paid superintendents in Oregon.
STATE GOVERNMENT December 12
Union bargains 14 percent pay increase for rural workers in government-subsidized childcare
In its new contract, rural workers providing services to low-income families will see a dramatic pay increase, aligning them with workers in urban areas. Organizers fought for the pay increase for years.
HOUSING December 12
Rent unaffordable in half of Salem neighborhoods, Census data shows
Despite a political focus on homelessness and public investments in affordable housing, the data show Salem has had a housing affordability problem since at least 2009, and the situation isn’t improving.
OREGON GOVERNMENT December 12
Auditors hope opioid findings will light fire under Oregon legislators
State auditors say low-cost fixes could make a prescription database more useful in battling Oregon's opioid abuses. Legislators need to act on reforms they have nixed in the past, auditors say.
OREGON GOVERNMENT December 11
Oregon labor commissioner rushes employers to digest new pay rules
Brad Avakian, Oregon labor commissioner, started working last January on new rules to guide employers on a new pay law. He finally released 11 pages of rules just before Thanksgiving -- giving employers five weeks to absorb them as they prepare for a way to pay employees mandated by Jan. 1.
OREGON STATE GOVERNMENT December 11
Audit finds Oregon keeps vital opioid information under wraps
The state created a system to track prescriptions to identify suspicious patterns. State auditors say limits on who can get the information impairs efforts to get opioid abuse under control.
SALEM GOVERNMENT December 11
Salem moves to dismantle, replace commission overseeing federal dollars
Two months after the federal government highlighted potential conflicts of interest on the Community Services and Housing Commission, Salem may scrap the commission altogether in favor of ad hoc work groups.
SALEM GOVERNMENT December 11
Neighbors prevail over Costco after years-long push for south Salem project
The Salem City Council voted against the nearly 200,000-square-foot plaza in south Salem, with councilors arguing that the new Costco would be a regional lure that would clog area streets.
OREGON POLITICS December 11
Courtney hopes to temper politics in Oregon's Legislature
Poised for another stint as Oregon Senate president, Peter Courtney is ambitious not only for big issues but also to ensure civility. He says Oregonians want their government to function, not be disrupted by partisan battles.

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