KWSO News for Tue., Dec. 21, 2021

As the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads across the country, University of Oregon students, faculty and staff will be required to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible. That’s according to an announcement Monday by school officials. Currently the university and the state’s six other public universities require COVID-19 vaccinations for those on campus. As of Monday afternoon, the University of Oregon is the only public university in the state to publicly announce a booster requirement. Last Friday, Gov. Kate Brown and state health officials urged Oregonians to get booster shots immediately. The Warm Springs community COVID-19 Update for Monday (12/20/21) reports no new cases of COVID-19 from 35 tests conducted on Friday (12/17/21) at the Health and Wellness Center.  There were no positive reports from Outside Facilities. There were 10 people with active COVID-19 in Warm Springs and 14 close contacts receiving daily monitoring as of the end of the day on Friday.

A federal judge sanctioned a lawyer representing St. Charles Health System this month / last week [Dec 16]. The penalty is the latest fallout from an historic worker strike at the Bend hospital in March. Emily Cureton [puritan] Cook reports. “St. Charles is the largest employer and the sole hospital system in Central Oregon. In an unusual move, it tried to stop a labor strike by asking for a restraining order against the union organizing it. Last week U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane found this legal strategy was pursued in bad faith, because the lawyer for St. Charles, Mark Hutcheson, did not disclose precedents that went against his argument.  McShane ordered the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm to pay more than $40,000 in legal costs incurred by the union.The Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals represents about 150 technicians and technologists at the Bend hospital. A spokesperson for St Charles said in an email the judge’s order was directed at outside counsel, not the health system. Emily Cureton Cook reporting”

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden says West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin isn’t the only person responsible for the apparent failure of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. The $2 trillion social and climate program bill appears to be short of the necessary votes after Manchin said he wouldn’t vote for it during a Fox News interview on Sunday. Wyden says Republican opposition shouldn’t be overlooked. He said Oregon families who won’t be getting another child tax credit payment in January should remember that. “Ron Wyden: “My proposal to continue it, I offered on the floor of the Senate, and the Senate Republicans objected. So we’re just going to stay at it until we address these key kinds of issues.” Wyden says he’s in favor of continuing talks on the bill to try to reach an agreement. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he plans a floor vote in January, despite its lack of votes needed for passage.

The city of Portland, Oregon, could pay $100,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed against police by a man who said he was pepper sprayed, thrown to the ground and unlawfully arrested during a September 2020 protest. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that 40-year-old Dmitri Stoyanoff sued the police, saying he was arrested because he refused to relinquish the “Vote Register Here” sign he was holding during a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The City Council is set to vote Wednesday on the settlement, which is the latest in a string of payouts this year stemming from police actions during protests dating back to 2016.

Oregon voters next year could face competing ballot measures aiming to limit money in politics. As Dirk VanderHart reports, progressive groups have split on how to rein in campaign spending. “Last year, voters overwhelmingly chose to allow campaign finance limits in Oregon, which currently has none. But the question of what those limits should be is proving divisive. After negotiating for much of this year, a coalition of labor unions, good government groups and advocacy organizations recently reached an impasse on what a plan should look like. Now some of them are pressing forward anyway.  This month alone, six proposed ballot measures on campaign finance have been filed by three different groups. All of those proposals limit how much money can be given to campaigns, but they vary wildly in their specifics. And right now it’s far from clear which, if any, might make it to the November 2022 ballot. Organizations have until July 8 to collect more than 112,000 signatures. I’m DV reporting.”

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