The Oregon House of Representatives today passed the largest-ever budget for the state’s public schools. The budget is a $1 billion increase over the last biennium, and will allow many school districts across the state to re-hire teachers and stabilize programs after years of cuts, according to a press release from the Office of the House of Representatives.
“The last half decade has seen over 7,000 teacher layoffs and seemingly endless cuts to school days,” says House Speaker Tina Kotek. “With this budget we’re offering school districts certainty and stability; we’re positioning Oregon schools to turn the corner so we can begin reinvesting in the most critical element of our future prosperity.”
The $6.75 billion budget directly allocates $6.55 billion for the state’s public schools, coupled with $200 million in school district savings to the Public Employee Retirement System enacted in SB 822, which passed earlier this session.
Rep. Peter Buckley is quoted saying, “When we crafted the state budget, we prioritized schools with a $6.75 billion investment. I’ve been pleased to learn what that means for many school districts across the state, including those I represent, who are adding teachers and programs. After years of cuts, it’s time to start rebuilding. We still have more to do, but today marks a turning point in Oregon’s recovery.”
The budget passed 53-5 with two excused and now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.
This is Rep. Phil Barnhart's report sent to weekly newspapers this week:
With the end of the legislative session fast approaching, we are still working to accomplish what Oregonians sent us here to do.
Oregon voters have spoken loud and clear about their priorities. They want us to close tax breaks for the rich and to make our tax code fairer for the middle class. I hear this routinely at coffee meetings from constituents in all parts of my district. Democrats hold a slight majority in both chambers, but Oregon’s Constitution requires a supermajority to pass revenue raising bills. That leaves lot of questions unanswered.
Can we rein in tax breaks to strengthen education funding? We still have an opportunity to take action to strengthen budgets for schools. To date, Republicans have blocked any revenue for schools from moving forward.
Will we be able to provide health care and long term services for senior citizens? By renewing existing assessments that support hospitals and nursing homes, HB 2216 would bring in $2 billion(much of it coming from the federal government) to cover services for senior citizens and hospital patients, and protect and create thousands of jobs in the healthcare industry. But despite receiving broad bipartisan support from the state House, Senate Republicans are holding up that bill in the name of partisan political games.
Can we give schools the stability and certainty they need? Senate Bill 5519 would begin to turn the corner and stop the recent disinvestment in education by allocating $6.55 billion to school districts in addition to $200 million in PERS savings we created with the passage of SB 822 That is $1 billion more than the budget passed in 2011,. But Senate Republicans are blocking that bill too.
All of these questions are still up in the air because Senate Republicans are using the equivalent of the filibuster to obstruct important bills from passing. We could help schools reduce class sizes, support our medical sector, and make our tax code fairer for the middle class. But Senate Republicans have chosen partisanship over solving our state’s problems. I will continue to work for honest solutions, and to make Oregon a better place to live.
At the end of a session things can move very fast. By the time you read this we may have resolved some of these problems, or not … stay tuned.
During the legislative sessions Rep. Phil Barnhart can be found at the Oregon State Capitol, Salem, (503)986-1411, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This just in from the Oregon Department of Ag: ODA is temporarily restricting the use of 18 pesticides containing dinotefuran while it investigates the death of thousands of bees near Portland this month. Dinotefuran is a neonicontinoid, a class of pesticides that have been linked to honeybee die-offs.
In the wake of large bee kills, ODA takes steps in an abundance of caution
ODA restricts use of certain dinotefuran pesticides
June 27, 2013... The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees in Wilsonville and Hillsboro this month. By adopting a temporary rule, ODA is taking action, in an abundance of caution, to avoid the potential of similar large bee kills this summer due to specific pesticide applications.
“I have directed the agency to take this step in an effort to minimize any potential for additional incidents involving bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more information,” says ODA Director Katy Coba. “Conclusions from the investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps need to be considered.”
The ODA restriction focuses on ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products that are used by both professional applicators and homeowners. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction. ODA’s concern is focused on those uses that may impact pollinators.
By statute, ODA has legal authority to establish limitations and procedures deemed necessary and proper for the protection of bees and other pollinating insects. The temporary rule, which goes into effect immediately, will be enforced for 180 days, by which time ODA is expected to complete its pesticide use investigations of the Wilsonville and Hillsboro incidents. Those investigations will determine if the pesticide applications were in violation of state and federal pesticide regulations, and will assist ODA in addressing any potential future actions.
ODA’s Pesticide Program has established a website with more information on the dinotefuran restriction, including a list of specific products affected as well as instructions for those who may have purchased these products. Go to <http://oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx>.
"Alternative spirtuality was taught to kindergarteners in Oregon."
F-bomb is bleeped, sort of.
As we wrote about in last week's EW, forest scientist Norm Johnson, upon finding out that the Cascadia Forest Defenders were protesting the White Castle Project, came and talked about the loggin with the tree sitters. Here is CFD's video.
I'm not that into kids, but I'd hang out with this cute little girl on America's Got Talent.
She's singing her own song "Zombi Skin," and she has also written the words to "Lullabye Crash." Her facial expression when Howard Stern says "I can't wait to hear your sweet music" is priceless. Parenting done right.
Oregon State University has just announced that it is establishing an open-source policy "requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU."
This will allow the public more access to all the rsearch coming out of OSU, or as the school puts it, “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”
OSU says that it is "the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so."
Will the UO follow suit?
According to the press release, OSU has been working on the open source issue for a while, but calls for open access to research nationally increased after the January suicide of internet activist Aaron Swarz, who was facing "thirteen charges including wire fraud and computer fraud after he downloaded 4.8 million scientific and literary papers from the subscription service JSTOR via MIT's open campus network and MIT's JSTOR subscription."
By: Theresa Hogue, 541-737-0786; email@example.com
Source: Michael Boock, 541-737-9155; Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
This release is available at: http://bit.ly/11EXJMG
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has officially adopted an open access policy requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU.
The policy applies to all future scholarly articles authored or co-authored by faculty members at OSU.
OSU is the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so. About 58 percent of eligible OSU-produced scholarly articles are already placed in ScholarsArchive@OSU. Faculty members may obtain waivers from the policy at their discretion.
The OSU Faculty Senate unanimously approved the motion to establish the policy at its June 13 meeting. The policy was passed eight years after the faculty senate originally passed a resolution in support of open access. OSU also was one of the first American universities to sign onto the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, which is an international statement in support of open access.
OSU Provost and Vice President Sabah Randhawa has been a long-time supporter of open access on campus.
"As a land grant and a comprehensive research university with international impact, OSU is committed to disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible,” Randhawa said. “The policy enables our faculty to make its creative work more accessible to a wider audience, including other scientists and educators, the public, and policy-makers – and in a more timely manner."
Michael Boock, head of the OSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Services, has been working for several years on issues related to open access at OSU. Along with Shan Sutton, associate university librarian for research and scholarly communication, Rich Carter in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty Senate library committee chair Marit Bovberg and a number of other OSU employees dedicated to open access, Boock has been pushing for the university to broadly embrace open access as a practice that seamlessly merges with the land grant mission.
“As a land grant institution, we feel it’s important to have our work available to the citizens of the state, and the world,” Boock said, “For much of our research at a land-, sea-, space-, and sun grant institution, the people who will ultimately read it and benefit from it are practitioners and decision-makers, or in some cases, school teachers and students.”
Another reason for the push to adopt open access is the escalating cost of maintaining subscriptions to major academic journals. OSU and other colleges and universities are being priced out of purchasing annual subscriptions to important and prestigious journals because of budgetary concerns. That means access to the top work in many fields is hidden behind a paywall, Carter said, which is what originally propelled him to start advocating for open access at OSU.
“We know that open access policies are going to allow the public to have more ready access to research being done at OSU,” Carter said. “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”
Sutton said there are ongoing, discernible shifts in the world of scholarly journals as more publishers recognize that open access is here to stay. That means that most journals are allowing work to be made available via repositories like ScholarsArchive@OSU, although often that version may be embargoed for months or years after publication in the journal. More faculty members are also requesting an addendum to their publishing contracts with journals, allowing them to make their work available via open access.
But OSU supporters of open access also recognize that publication is essential to tenure. The fact that some noteworthy journals still staunchly refuse to allow open access to their articles is why waivers are in place for OSU faculty members.
“The intention of the policy is we want faculty to continue to publish wherever they want to do so,” Carter said. The policy is not intended to prevent or discourage a faculty member from attempting publication in certain journals, he added, but to consider open access as another facet of being a land grant faculty member.
“This policy wasn’t passed in a vacuum,” Sutton said. “The universities that employ scholars and the granting agencies that fund much of their research are increasingly embracing open access as a common value to ensure research findings across disciplines are more widely accessible to the public and global research community. Academic libraries like OSU Libraries are key contributors to this movement in managing institutional repositories, advocating for publishers to adopt reasonable open access positions, and assisting faculty with issues such as publication agreement addenda.”
"The timing of this policy's passage couldn't be better," said Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian at OSU. "OSU's policy has situated us to respond proactively to mandates from funding agencies to make sponsored research available to the public. With this new policy and workflows in place, as well as a robust institutional repository, OSU can be part of a solution like SHARE (a potential network of digital repositories from around the country)."
OSU has a long history of supporting open access to faculty-produced research. OSU library faculty were the first university librarians in the nation to pass an open access policy for their own work, and several OSU colleges, including the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and College of Forestry, have open access policies as well. Since 2006, graduate students have been required to deposit a copy of their thesis or dissertation into the university’s open-access repository, ScholarsArchive@OSU.
Webometrics recently ranked the ScholarsArchive@OSU digital repository seventh among U.S. single institution open access repositories. The Webometrics ranking is produced by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Spanish National Research Council located in Madrid and is based on indicators such as the number, visibility and impact of repository holdings.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down rulings on two cases involving same-sex marriage Wednesday, June 26, and a Eugene rally is being planned at 5 pm at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at 8th and Oak. Other rallies are happening tomorrow in Portland and Ashland. The rallies are being planned by the ACLU of Oregon and Oregon United for Marriage. Portland contact is Amy Ruiz, (503) 929-1036.
The Oregonian's new media company Oregon Media Group (OMG, its acronym is OMG) is hiring. The second thing listed after "a sold understanding of news writing, journalistic ethics and story structure …" is "mastery of social media and digital interaction." That comes before the ability to work on deadline (which comes in at number four.
This listing comes only days after The O is reported to have laid off 95 staffers, including 45 from the newsroom. Willamette Week reports that Scott Learn, the enviroment reporter who has been heavily covering the coal controversy, and Eric Mortenson on the forest and ag beat are among the layoffs. Sports reporters, community reporters and arts journalists are among those axed. WW has been listing the layoffs as names come in on its blog.
Music critic Ryan White, who was among the layoffs last week, pointed out on Twitter that the paper is already advertising for a new music critic.
On the postive side, the website name "MyDigitalO," which has led to speculation on just how one achieves a "digital O" has been axed.
Media pundits say this layoff and hiring strategy is in keeping with other Advance papers that lay off more expensive experienced journalists for new, cheaper and younger ones. The ad makes clear what its focus is:
"While we value experience, talent is the pivotal factor, and we are proactive about professional development, whether you are a 10-year veteran or just starting your journalistic career. One way or the other, you will report on a variety of topics, including maintaining live blogs, tweeting, shooting video and otherwise engaging audiences across multiple platforms."
One of the jobs listed is for "advertorial."
Here's the job listing.
The Oregonian has announced it's changing its delivery schedule for its print additions, laying off employees — among the layoffs are environment reporters Scott Learn and Eric Mortenson, (no relation to me,) Willamette Week reports). WW also reports that The O has decided NOT to call its online version TheDigitalO after all. Nope that's not a joke, nor is the fact that editors are now apparently being called "managing producers."
The O is owned by Advance, which has been roundly criticized for its attempt to go to a three-day-a-week print schedule in New Orleans.
Former Oregonian reporter and current Oregon Emerald publisher (who moved that college daily to an online focus and a reduced print schedule) Ryan Frank raised $3,500 for a bar tab for The O's staff at Higgins, a bar across the street from the paper, Romenesko reports. Donations can be made at oregonianfund.com. After tonight Franks says the money will go to supporting families of those laid off.
Willamette Week is updating the layoffs on its blog.
Let's all support our local papers (and yes, that means the R-G, too) and make sure this doesn't happen in Eugene. We need good, local news coverage!
Somebody (or bodies) destroyed Roundup Ready sugar beets in southern Oregon. No communiqué yet that EW knows of has claimed responsibility.
The news came out when the FBI put out a press release (and on a side note, since when is pro-pesticide group Oregonians for Food and Shelter a "community group"? Check out its board of directors). From worries about the health effects of genetical modification (GM) and pesticide use, to fears over superweeds, famers, foodies and other folks have a host of concerns over GM crops like wheat, alfalfa and sugar beets.
FBI Asks for Help in Identifying Suspects in Genetically Engineered Crop Destruction
Community Group Offers up to $10,000
Reward FBI Portland
June 20, 2013 Beth Anne Steele
Over the course of two nights in early June, an unknown person or group of people did significant damage to two plots of land used to grow genetically engineered sugar beets in Jackson County, Oregon. The plots are on private farmland leased and managed by Syngenta.
Sometime during the night of June 8, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 1,000 sugar beet plants on one property. During the night of June 11, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 5,500 plants on another property. The financial losses are significant, but the actual estimates will not be released at this time due to the needs of the investigation. The FBI considers this crime to be economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises.
The group Oregonians for Food and Shelter (http://ofsonline.org) is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person and people involved. OFS will evaluate any reward claims and will make the final decision on dispersal of funds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (541) 773-2942 during normal business hours or the FBI in Portland at (503) 224-4181 24 hours a day. Tips may also be e-mailed into Portland@ic.fbi.gov.
The statement from Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba was interestingly put, in that she acknowledges that biotech such as GMO seeds (in the wake of the recent GMO wheat issue) is problematic for many: “To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture."
Prolific EW music writer Will Kennedy passes along this gem of "What Phish sounds like to people who don't like Phish."
You ate my fractal.