Rep Nathanson joins fellow Lane County legislators for a town hall at Lane Community College.
In this Newsletter
- Capitol News
- Legislative Committee Days
- Oregon Healthy Kids
- Bits of news from around Salem
- District News
- Committed Partners for Youth - Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Scam Alert
- Upcoming Events
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope all of you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Along with the holidays, the month of November was filled with another set of legislative committee days, a joint town hall with fellow Lane County legislators, and meetings to discuss passenger rail and primary health care, local business concerns, and with local judges to talk about courts and the criminal justice system. Appointment requests and work assignments for our office have increased in preparation for a Special Session planned for February.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, I had a great discussion with some constituents in the River Road neighborhood at Cal’s Donuts and Pastry. Throughout this past year I have hosted a number of coffees in North Eugene. These coffees have been a great opportunity for me to visit the different neighborhoods and chat informally with my constituents. My last coffee of the year is coming up this weekend, Saturday, December 5th, at Brewed Awakening in the Cal Young Neighborhood. I hope you can join me and I look forward to another informative discussion.
Rep Nathanson chairs a lively and productive first meeting of the Task Force on Effective and Cost-Efficient Service Provision.
Legislative Committee Days
In November the legislative assembly held the second set of committee days. I spent an afternoon in the House Health Care Committee receiving a number of updates including the status of the H1N1 virus and the roll out of Oregon’s Health Kids program. According to DHS, the number of incidences of H1N1 appears to be slowing; however they cautioned that it is common for there to be a second wave of infections. In addition to dealing with the H1N1 virus, DHS has also been rolling out the new Healthy Kids program, which extends health insurance to thousands of Oregon’s children. They have reported over 16,829 new children have enrolled since October 1st. Following the updates, the committee had a presentation on the role of family physicians in health reform. I want to share one point that has stuck with me: primary care practices currently pay an average of 10-15 cents of every dollar they collect to pay for billing systems that are excessively bureaucratic
and inefficient. This is yet another reason for much needed reform to the health care system.
I also chaired the first meeting of a new government efficiency task force that was created under my bill which passed during the 2009 legislative session. This new task force will be reviewing state and county shared services in four areas: Assessment and Taxation, Elections, Human Services, and Criminal Justice. We will re-examine our system of delivering services, with a focus on restructuring government to be more effective and cost-efficient.
Oregon Healthy Kids
As mentioned above, DHS has been rolling out a new program to provide insurance coverage to thousands more of Oregon’s children. This new program is a result of legislation passed this year by the Oregon Legislature. Healthy Kids covers medical, dental and vision care; regular checkups; preventive care; prescription drugs; mental health and chemical dependency services; and medical equipment and supplies, even for children with existing medical conditions.
Since October 1, families at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, ($44,100 per year for a family of four) can now apply to have their children covered by Oregon Healthy Kids. In January, families between 200% and 300% will be able to apply. A family’s level of income will determine how much coverage will cost. You can visit the Oregon Healthy Kids
website for more information on the program and how to apply.
Bits of news from around Salem
Recently I met with the Attorney General and Labor Commissioner. I'd like to share some news from their offices, and from the State Treasurer as well.
Attorney General John Kroger and Oregon Treasurer Ben Westlund announced on November 19th that Oregon families will recover losses due to the mismanagement of the Oregon 529 College Savings network by Oppenheimer Funds. A settlement of $20 million will be divided upon 45,000 account holders who can expect the recovered dollars to be posted to their accounts in the first quarter of 2010.
At the beginning of November the State Treasurer’s office released some good news for Oregon.
National credit scoring firms Moody’s, Fitch Inc. and Standard and Poor’s have reaffirmed Oregon’s strong and stable credit rating, which has allowed the state to continue to finance job-creating public works projects statewide, and at attractive long-term interest rates. The firms said Oregon is benefiting from wise fiscal management including maintaining reserves as a contingency in the event of a deeper economic downturn, and adoption of a budget-reduction strategy in the 2009-11 biennium that relies on significant program cuts of more than $2 billion, as well as new revenue. An article in the international “The Bond Buyer” publication has also attributed Oregon’s favorable position, compared to California, to “lawmaker’s political will to fix budget gaps as they appeared.” The article noted, “the difference between states has seems to have more to do with governance than economics.”
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian also has good messages coming out of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. In the Commissioner's message sent on November 23rd he recognized BOLI's challenge of balancing the interests of both employees and employers, however he acknowledged that they are striking a good balance between these sometimes competing interests. Commissioner Avakian points out that open lines of communication and reaching out to diverse interests are the keys to managing this challenge in a constructive way.
Rep Nathanson celebrates with a mentor at the open house for Committed Partners for Youth-Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Committed Partners for Youth & Big Brothers Big Sisters
Earlier this fall I attended a ribbon cutting and open house for the joining of two great organizations in Eugene. Committed Partners for Youth, which was founded in 1991 by a local mother and psychologist, joined efforts with Big Brothers Big Sisters in order to serve more youth in Lane County. These mentoring programs have partnerships with Eugene/Springfield elementary schools, middle schools, social services and the juvenile court system.
The mentors at CPY-BBBS dedicate their time to helping youth and making a positive impact on their community. The help and support provided by mentors can result in decreased alcohol and drug use, increased school attendance, reduced negative peer relationships, and increased trust in parental relationships.
The Attorney General’s office continually releases consumer alerts for scams circulating in Oregon. You can sign up online to join the Oregon Scam Alert Network . Here are recent alerts that you may find helpful.
Fake US Census Scam
Attorney General John Kroger is warning Oregonians about con-artists, posing as U.S. Census workers. Conducted every ten years, the U.S. Census is an important process that helps to both define legislative districts, and determine how to allocate $300 billion to local, state and tribal governments each year. The U.S. Census will ask for a name, age, gender, race, ethnic origin, birth date, marital status, employment status, and other similar information. Con-artists posing as Census employees ask for donations, personal financial information, and/or Social Security numbers. US Census workers will have identification; a copy of the notification letter you received, or should have received, in the mail describing the survey; and, depending on the area, a laptop and laptop case bearing the insignia of the U.S. Census Bureau.
If you are unsure whether or not you are the target of a Census-related scam, please call the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.
Tips for Wise Internet Holiday Shopping
Holiday shopping is getting under way and the Attorney General is reminding consumers to use caution when purchasing big ticket items on the internet. Since the first of the year the Oregon Department of Justice has received well over 600 written complaints about internet retailers. Here are a few tips to follow when shopping on-line:
Research prices. Similar items typically fall into a general price range. Scammers will try to entice victims to their websites with ridiculously low prices.
Know the seller. Anyone can set-up shop online. Confirm the seller's physical address and phone number in case you have any problems or questions.
Update your anti-virus software. Make sure you have installed the latest firewall and anti-virus software to protect your computer from online attacks.
Transmit financial information only on secure sites.Do not e-mail financial information, like your credit card or checking account number. Look for indicators that the site is secure. No indicator is fool-proof, look for a small icon of a "lock" on the browser's status bar, or a URL (website) address that includes an "s" (ie. https//: instead of http).
Do not send cash or wire money for payment. Pay by credit or charge card. The Fair Credit and Billing Act protects purchases made with a credit card.
Keep a paper trail. Print and save records of all your on-line transactions, including product description, price, on-line receipt, and e-mails.
Review the refund policy and delivery rates. Look to see if you can return a product for a full return if you are not satisfied. Check out who pays for the cost of shipping a returned item. Is there a "restocking" fee?
I hope you can join me for coffee and conversation this Saturday at Brewed Awakening in the Cal Young Neighborhood.
What: Coffee Meet and Greet
When: Saturday, December 5. 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Where: Brewed Awakening, 2532 Willakenzie Rd, Eugene, OR 97401
Contact: 541-343-2206 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to access my legislative website.