Senate bipartisanship deal to restore order in Salem

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Monday marked a very important day for Oregon’s senators as senate Democrats made a deal with Republicans to restore order to Salem.

After Republican walkouts which lasted five days – senate Democrats made a deal to kill two bills in a show of bipartisanship.

Both Democrats and Republicans will be working together once again.

The now-dead bills are as follows:

Senate Bill 978, which would change the gun purchasing age to 21 years of age. It would also add new guidelines on the storage of firearms.

House Bill 3063, which would eliminate non-medical self-exemption of vaccines requirements for school entrance.

While two bills were scrapped, the Senate did pass the Student Success Act which would create an estimated one billion dollars annually by taxing Oregon’s wealthiest businesses.

A LOOK ON LOCAL BUSINESSES

Businesses making over one million dollars annually would be taxed a rate of .057%, this half percent tax rate will then be allocated to school funds.

Brad Hicks from the Medford Chamber of Commerce talked about what this can mean for local businesses.

“Around 40,000 businesses are going to carry the load for the whole state,” Hicks said.

Many people are skeptical, however, with worries about the current existing Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) deficit and if this newly taxed money would go into paying that deficit. It was one of the reasons for the Republican Senate walkout.

“There’s no clear or specific or strict instructions as to the things they should and the things they shouldn’t spend those dollars on," said Hicks. “And I think the question people should be asking themselves right now is how long will it take before dollars that we all wish were going to go into the classroom and go into early education get sucked up by PERS.”

We also talked with former state senator Alan DeBoer who works a car dealership in Ashland. He talked about the effect of this taxation on a business such as his.

“I support education immensely I spent eight years on school board and education is probably one of the biggest economic drivers we have,” DeBoer said. “But I don’t know about taxing a business that’s losing money which forces layoffs as the business closes and puts more people under government subsidies."

Governor Kate Brown plans on signing this bill into law after it now passed both the Oregon house and senate.

THE EFFECT ON LOCAL SCHOOLS

Schools would receive an estimated one billion dollars per year from the Student Success act which would help create smaller classrooms and better conditions for students excel in academic performance.

Medford School District’s public relation specialist Natalie Hurd tells News 10 how this helps schools.

"We are very pleased to hear about the passage of the Student Success Act. This is a historic investment in public education and it’s a big deal for districts across the state,” Hurd said.

Specific details on funds would be ruled out in the future.

“We are looking forward to more details from the state about how that money would look specifically for our district," Hurd said.

A LOCAL RESPONSE ON THE KILLED GUN BILL (SENATE BILL 978)

The scrapped gun bill would have made changes to the purchasing age and firearm storage requirements.

News 10 spoke to a local gun advocate, Ryan Mallory, to see what this means for some people in southern Oregon.

"The bill is wrought with holes and problems that really leaned more towards making the average law-abiding gun-owning citizen appear to be a criminal, and potentially create problems for them so I and most of my friends,” Mallory said.

Gun purchasing laws would and storage guidelines remain unchanged now.

“Most people that are gun advocates in the area are very happy that that fell through," Mallory said.

LOCAL LOOK ON SCRAPPED VACCINATION BILL (HB 3063)

One of the last components mentioned in the bipartisan effort to restore order to Salem was killing the vaccination bill which would take away non-medical exemptions for school vaccinations. One example of this would be for religious reasons.

News 10 spoke with Jennifer Margulis who is an author and local health advocate who rallied in Salem for the bill not to pass, in April.

She talked about how this can affect the community, personal privacy, and choice.

"We are so glad that this bill didn’t go through because it felt like government overreach,” Margulis said.

Margulis said it is not about being against vaccines.

“We want people to vaccinate their kids and we want them to be as healthy as they possibly can, but we think those decisions need to be made in the privacy of a doctor’s office, not in the state legislature," Margulis said.

Ashland Democrat Sen. Jeff Golden tells News 10 the scrapped bills are dead for the legislative session but could be back next year.

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