New Management Plan for Oregon Wolves

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife commission met in Salem today to continue discussing the states wolf conservation and management plan. The plan establishes a deadline for when wolves can be killed for preying on livestock, with the overarching goal being to protect wolves while also protecting social and economic interests.

County commissioners, ranchers, and wild life experts testified and debated throughout the day and the new wolf management plan has now been approved with a six to one vote coming down right before 6 pm.

District Attorney’s Office Plans Cuts

The Deschutes County Budget Committee has agreed to give more money to the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, but only enough for half the amount of staff that was originally asked for.

The six positions District Attorney John Hummel hopes to have filled by the end of the summer include two new attorney positions, administrative support positions, a victim’s rights advocate and an office manager.

However, three DA Office programs will be impacted by the new cuts, as well as a victim’s impact panel will end after the august session. Two of the biggest prosecution changes coming in July will be probation violations, which will now primarily be handled by probation officers rather than the DA’s Office, and misdemeanor driving while suspended charges, which will be handled primarily by law enforcement in traffic court.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan sat down with Hummel this afternoon and has more.

Governor Brown Signs Kaylee’s Law

A proposed law, named after Kaylee Sawyer, a Bend-woman murdered in 2016, was signed into law today by Governor Kate Brown.
Sawyer was abducted and murdered by a Central Oregon Community College security guard, and the proposed law aims to restrict the power of campus security guards, distinguish them from local law enforcement, and require mental health and background checks.
The law was proposed and backed by Sawyer’s family and law enforcement officials from Central Oregon and a ceremonial signing with Sawyer’s family is scheduled for the summer.

Speed Limit Bill Heads to Senate

A new bill is making its way through Salem that would allow cities, like Bend, to lower speed limits below the limits set by the state. Proponents of the bill think that slower speed could be beneficial for historic neighborhood or neighborhood with lots of car and foot traffic.
Bend’s representative Cheri Helt added amendments to the bill that would specifically allow Bend’s North West Crossing neighborhood to take advantage of the bill if it is passed.

Bend Activists Join National Abortion Ban Protests

Highly restrictive abortion bans have been proposed, and in some cases passed, in states across the country, reigniting the debate over abortion in recent weeks. Pro-choice activists across the country have organized protests, including one right here in Bend. Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan spoke with one such activist and also with an anti-abortion activist to hear both sides of the issue.

Wildfire Prevention Programs Could Lose Funding

An $80 million budget that would’ve gone toward nationwide fire prevention programs may be set back to zero after the US Forest Service announced this morning that it was planning to cut the funding.
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has more on what those cuts could mean for fire season here in Central Oregon.

HB 3427 Passes After Democrats Strike a Deal with Senate Republicans

State lawmakers in Salem have confirmed with Central Oregon Daily that Senate Republicans negotiated a deal to return to the Senate floor on Monday for a discussion and vote on a new tax bill in exchange for Senate Democrats dropping high-profile bills on vaccine exemptions and gun safety.
The Senate convened on Monday afternoon, and voted on House Bill 3427, also known as the Student Success Act, a new business tax to bring in revenue for education. The bill passed 17 to 11. It now Heads to Governor Kate Brown’s desk, where she is expected to sign the bill.
In exchange for providing a quorum, Senate Republicans asked Democrats to keep House Bill 3063 and Senate Bill 978 from reaching the Senate floor, effectively killing those bills during this legislative session.
House Bill 3063 would have removed all non-medical exemptions for vaccinations for school-age children and Senate Bill 978 was a gun-control bill that would have banned “ghost guns” assembled by 3D printers, regulated gun owners who did not secure their firearms and give gun sellers the right to not sell guns to people under 21.
Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel has the latest on Monday’s developments in Salem.

House Bill 3063 Passes in the House

In front of a large, and occasionally loud, audience in the gallery, the Oregon House passed HB 3063, a bill that would get rid of all non-medical exemptions for vaccines. Proponents of the bill, including Bend representative Cheri Helt, say this law is critical in order to prevent outbreaks like this year’s measles outbreak. However, opponents feel it takes the freedom of choice away from parents.
Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel has more.