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Will Portland’s straw ban backfire?

July 30, 2018 --

By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation,

Will Portland’s proposal to outlaw straws be an environmental milestone like Oregon’s historic bottle bill or will it be a public fiasco like the California coffee cancer label which became a national mockery and scientifically rebuffed by the state’s own Environmental Health Office?

Critics nationwide are questioning straw bans  saying that it is unfair to those with disabilities while others see Santa Barbara’s 6-months maximum jail time as quite draconian.  The science behind the straw bans have come under fire as the leading claim that Americans use 500 million straws a day originated from a 9-year old.

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3 new Oregon business laws


By Chris Morgan & Johnny Hong
Barran Liebman
Oregon Employer Law Firm

Starting on July 1, a number of key legislative updates take effect. Below are a few key reminders for employers.

Transit Tax

Starting with the first paycheck given to employees that accounts for wages earned in the month of July, employers must withhold an additional 0.1% of wages earned – or $1 for every $1,000 earned, for each employee. This statewide tax applies to wages of both Oregon residents and nonresidents who perform services in Oregon, unless the employee’s wages are exempt from the definition of wages pursuant to ORS 316.162. Employers who fail to withhold this tax appropriately or file and pay on time may face penalties of $250 per employee, up to $25,000 for each tax period.

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Chamber cheers House vote on Jobs Act 3.0

July 27, 2018 --

US Chamber Press Release,

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of the Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) Tom Quaadman issued the following statement upon House passage of the “JOBS and Investor Confidence Act of 2018,” commonly known as the JOBS Act 3.0:

“The House took an important step forward today by passing the JOBS Act 3.0. Lawmakers acted to pursue pro-growth policies that help new businesses get started and grow into bigger businesses as well as to create new opportunities for American entrepreneurs. This bipartisan legislation will help small and mid-size businesses raise the capital they need to expand, innovate, and hire new employees. It is a win for entrepreneurs, businesses, and job creators across the country.

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6 reasons why Oregon can’t fill vacant jobs

July 26, 2018 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

Each year we summarize the key findings from our job vacancy survey into a report, with specific emphasis on the challenges businesses face filling their job vacancies. In 2017, Oregon businesses reported 60,700 job vacancies at any given time in 2017. Of these vacancies, 38,700 job openings (64%) were reported as difficult to fill.

For each of their difficult-to-fill vacancies, employers offered open-ended responses to identify what they thought was the primary reason for the unfilled opening. A lack of applicants was the most common challenge filling vacancies. Nearly one out of every three (30%) difficult-to-fill job vacancies had an insufficient number of applicants or no applicants at all. That makes sense, given the state’s continued job growth and historic low unemployment rate. The point was made clear by the construction business that was having difficulty hiring heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers because, “The heating industry is busy and anyone who has experience is already working elsewhere.”

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Fred Meyer bomber sentenced

July 25, 2018 --

US Attorney, Oregon District
Press Release

Monte Robin Kaija, Jr., 47, of Portland, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for detonating a small explosive device at a Fred Meyer store in Southeast Portland, and later possessing a homemade metal pipe bomb.

According to court documents, on May 21, 2016, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) received a report of an individual placing a small pipe bomb made of PVC in an aisle of a Fred Meyer store on SE 82nd Avenue in Portland. Portland Fire & Rescue were dispatched to assist PPB with their response. Kaija detonated the device shortly before police arrived on scene, causing damage to a single aisle. Nobody was injured in the explosion, and Kaija fled. While processing the scene, PPB officers identified several fragments of white plastic PVC pipe, pieces of white plastic PVC end caps, electrical tape, and a granular, power-like substance.

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How Oregon fares in the big trade skirmish

July 24, 2018 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

Tariff proposals and enactments continue to build in recent months. The situation has not risen all the way to a full-blown trade war, or at least not yet.  But we need to call it something. Trade fisticuffs doesn’t quite sound right, so let’s go with trade skirmish for now. This post largely builds upon previous work from our office on global supply chains and Oregon’s direct trade exposure to China.

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Bad math behind $652M Metro bond

July 23, 2018 --

By John A. Charles, Jr.
Cascade Policy Institute

Metro recently decided to refer a $652.8 million bond measure to the November ballot. If approved by voters, it would authorize Metro to borrow money either to purchase existing housing units or to subsidize the construction of new ones. The loans would be paid off by higher taxes on every property owner in the region for the next 30 years.

Unfortunately, of all the things Metro could do to reduce the price of housing, borrowing money is likely to be the least effective.

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Where Oregon work gaps are

July 19, 2018 --

By Oregon Employment Department

Continued job growth and record low unemployment are making it difficult for Oregon businesses to fill current vacancies, and Oregon’s economy is expected to create 263,000 total job openings each year through 2027. These are the findings of two new reports released by the Oregon Employment Department. One report is based on a survey of businesses that is designed to measure Oregon’s current workforce gaps. The other is based on economic trends and forecasts, and is designed to predict Oregon’s future workforce needs.

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English literacy by Job type

July 18, 2018 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

In Oregon, about 124,000 workers speak English less than “very well” according to the American Community Survey responses collected from 2012 to 2016. This represents 7 percent of all Oregon workers. This group includes workers who don’t speak English, speak English “not well,” and speak English “well.” About 167,000 workers (9%) speak another language and speak English “very well,” while about 1.5 million workers (84%) speak only English.

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Lake Oswego restaurant guilty in forced labor case

July 17, 2018 --

By Oregon US Attorney Office,

Oregon Woman Pleads Guilty for Role in Forced Labor and Visa Fraud Scheme Involving Thai Restaurant Workers
Defendant financially benefited from co-defendant’s use of debts, fraud, threats of financial and reputational harm, and other means to compel victims to work at restaurants

Tanya Jumroon, also known as Thunyarax Phatanakit Jumroon, 59, of Beaverton, Oregon, and a naturalized citizen originally from Thailand, pleaded guilty today in a U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, to financially benefitting from forced labor, visa fraud conspiracy, and filing a false federal income tax return, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams of the District of Oregon, Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon of the FBI in Oregon, and Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation’s Seattle Field Office. Jumroon waived indictment by a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty to an information filed by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division.

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