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What the health exchange bill means for business

March 31, 2011 --

By The Oregon Prosperity Project

What exactly is a health insurance “Exchange?”   Right now, the Oregon legislature is hard at work trying to create a health insurance exchange for health insurance consumers. It is contained in Senate Bill 99. But that begs the question – What exactly is a health insurance “exchange?”

The “exchange” is simply a new marketplace where individuals or small employers can shop for health insurance using simple, standardized cost and benefit comparisons between plans so that consumers can easily compare health insurance plans. The “exchange” is an attempt to bring retail competition into the health insurance marketplace. The desired result is to increase the number of Oregonians insured while bringing down costs for all health insurance consumers.

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The legality of Medical Marijuana Advertising

March 30, 2011 --

Advertising Medical Marijuana on Broadcast Stations – Is It Legal, What Will the FCC Think?
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Oregon law firm

As medical marijuana has become legalized or decriminalized in many states, broadcasters have looked at advertising for the services of clinics and dispensaries as a potential new revenue source. As some community newspapers and other local media have begun to advertise dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal, we’ve been asked many times whether broadcasters can start to run such ads as well. Many radio and TV stations have even been approached by the operators of these clinics, seeking to run advertising schedules. Should broadcasters accept such ads? We urge caution.

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Lawsuit: NIKE vs. Lebron Jordan

March 29, 2011 --

Startup Company Lebron Jordan files suit against Nike
By Oregon Small Business Association

A new customizable shoe maker called Lebron Jordan, Inc. is now suing LeBron James and Michael Jordan for interfering in their business to the tune of $150 million each. Lebron Jordan is also suing Washington County-based Nike, Inc. and its Converse subsidiary.

Lebron Jordon, Inc., a Brooklyn based startup company, offering customizable sneakers on their website. CEO Aaron Fraser of Lebron Jordan insists that the company’s name is not related to the Basketball stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Fraser’s godsons were the motivation for the business name, as they are named Lebron and Jordan.

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10 Business Bills in Oregon Legislature

March 28, 2011 --

By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

SB 301 – Connection to the Federal Tax Code for Business Tax Incentives
AOI Position: Support
Passage of SB 301 has been the biggest achievement of the business community in the early going of the 2011 Legislative Session. SB 301 connects Oregon businesses to key federal tax incentives for purchasing capital equipment and putting it into operation. Under the bill, Oregon companies can now take advantage of accelerated depreciation for capital purchases and increased Section 179 expensing allowances offered by the federal government.
How SB 301 impacts jobs in Oregon: SB 301 is a significant job creation bill. It allows for easier compliance with state and federal tax laws, but more importantly, it incents the purchase of capital equipment for use in Oregon companies. Capital investment is a key job creator in Oregon.

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Oregon unmployment: Who they are

March 27, 2011 --

Unemployment Insurance Recipients in 2010
by Mary Bernert
Oregon Employment Department

This analysis is based on data for every UI benefit recipient who also received a 1099g from the Oregon Employment Department. The form 1099g is a tax record, like a W2 for wages which shows how much was paid to the individual during the calendar year. This file is used because every individual is represented only once.

The unemployment insurance program has numerous reports that come out weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. One of the monthly reports, the ETA 203, is on the demographics of claimants on regular benefits who were unemployed during the week of the 12th of the month. Regular benefits are the benefits available to all covered employees during all periods. Looking at regular claim activity allows you to compare claim trends during periods when there are and are not extension programs. Data from this report is used to underscore some of the trends observed in comparisons between the 1099g data.

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Top 20 Billionaire List by Forbes

March 26, 2011 --

Top 20 Billionaire List by Forbes
See whole list in greater detail here

1. Carlos Slim Helu, $74 B, telecom, Mexico
2. Bill Gates, $56 B, Microsoft, USA
3. Warren Buffett, $50B, Berkshire Hathaway, USA
4. Bernard Arnault, $41 B, LVMH France
5. Larry Ellison $39.5 B, Oracle , USA
6. Lakshmi Mittal, $31.1 B, Steel , India
7. Amancio Ortega, $31 B, Zara Spain
8. Eike Batista, $30 B, mining, oil , Brazil
9. Mukesh Ambani, $27 B ,petrochemicals, oil & gas, India
10. Christy Walton, $26.5 B, USA

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Health Care Reform: Year review, what’s next

March 25, 2011 --

Happy Anniversary – Health Care Reform One Year Later
By Barran Liebman
Oregon law firm

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the health care reform bill, popularly known as “Obamacare,” after being passed by the Senate and House as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. This alert provides a summary of what has occurred, what is next, and where health care reform is likely going in the future.

What Has Occurred
Health plans have already or will over the next few months (first plan year beginning after September 23, 2010) begin:
• Coverage for dependent children up to age 26;
• Removal of lifetime limits and restricted annual limits for essential health benefits;
• Limitation of rescissions of coverage to fraud or misrepresentation;
• Removal of preexisting conditions of children under age 19;
• Restricting reimbursements from FSAs for over the counter drugs;
• Determining if the health plan is integrated with dental and vision plans, requiring compliance with health care reform for dental and vision plans; and
• Determining if the plan is grandfathered and if not:

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State Treasurer releases Rainy Day Fund plan

March 24, 2011 --

State Treasurer asks Legislature to increase the savings in Oregon’s ‘rainy day’ reserves
— Senate Bill 553 would dedicate the interest earnings from state’s general fund
By Oregon State Treasurer

SALEM – State Treasurer Ted Wheeler on Monday asked legislators to increase the state’s ‘rainy day’ reserves, which will help to save more money in good times as a buffer against budget downturns.

Oregon relies on the notoriously volatile income tax for the lion’s share of funding for state programs such as schools, public safety and public healthcare. Allowing more money to be saved in good economic times will help to reduce the budgetary deficits in times when the economy sours.

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Japan quake and U.S. manufacturing impact

March 23, 2011 --

Japan’s Earthquake and American Manufacturing Businesses: Economic Impacts
By Bill Conerly,
Conerly Consulting
, Businomics

Japan’s terrible earthquake has economic implications for American manufacturers, in addition to the terrible human consequences. Japan’s economy is large and diverse, with strong business ties to the United States. The key point to ponder is that Japan’s businesses play three roles with respect to American manufacturers: customers, suppliers, and competitors.

Japanese Businesses Are Customers of American Businesses

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Oregon Ruling: Homeowner negligence claims for construction defect

March 22, 2011 --

Homeowner may pursue negligence claim for construction defect, Oregon Supreme Court holds
By Ater Wynne LLP,
Oregon law firm

Last week the Oregon Supreme Court held that a homeowner seeking to recover against a builder for damages caused by construction defects may sue for common law negligence, absent a contractual provision that forecloses such a claim. In Abraham v. T. Henry Construction, Inc., plaintiff homeowners hired defendant contractors to build a house. When plaintiffs discovered defects in the construction years later, they sued for negligence.

The Court of Appeals held that the parties’ contractual relationship did not prevent a negligence claim, and that plaintiffs were entitled to pursue a negligence per se claim based on a violation of the Oregon Building Code.

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