Rep Nathanson enews
Celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouting in U.S.A.

April 2012

Dear Friends, 

It's been more than a month since the 2012 "short" legislative session ended.  I'm working on several topics related to my ongoing assignments, and I have some new things on my plate, too, in preparation for committee hearings in May.


For 60 days prior to a primary or general election, elected officials running for re-election are limited in how they communicate with their constituents. The intent of this rule is to ensure public resources aren't used for  campaigning. I use campaign funds during this period to produce and send newsletters like this one, or other announcements, including legislative or government information that I want to provide to you.


In This Issue
Health care and education
Consumer forum in Eugene, Helping Non-profits, & Tax scams
District news: Chinook salmon, NAACP, federal funds for Eugene school district, and charitable grants
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Oregon Legislature


Health Care and Education
Health Care. The federal health care reform effort has a number of provisions that are helping consumers in Oregon. A recent article in the Lund Report  highlights some of those changes in our neighbor Washington, and that are also working here in Oregon. They include removal of lifetime caps on health benefits; extending the age for young adults to remain on their parents' health plan; eliminating copays and deductibles for preventive care; and saving money on prescription drugs for Medicare recipients. Money is also available for the new Oregon health exchange, which was authorized during the 2012 session.

Education. Among the set of education system reforms put in place with Senate Bill 1581 is achievement compacts between the state and school districts.  One specific provision requires schools to closely track absenteeism rates. The objective is to learn more about why students miss school days, and how to address students' health needs. More information 
Consumer protection, and Helping non-profit organizations

Helping non-profit organizations. State Treasurer Wheeler recently highlighted lower-cost financing options for community non-profits through the Oregon Facilities Authority. The Authority offers oversight of the financing for nonprofits and helps to prepare and evaluate necessary paperwork. It also offers financing with Small Nonprofit Accelerated Program ("SNAP") bonds. If you work with a non-profit organization, you can find more information in the State Treasurer's news release.


Consumer forum: Spend Smart - Tips to manage and safeguard your money.  The Department of Consumer & Business Services will host a forum in Eugene to provide consumers with unbiased information and resources on insurance, Medicare, reverse mortgages, the prevention of consumer and Medicare fraud, and identity theft. News release from DCBS.

Tuesday, April 24, 6:30 - 7:30 PM
LCC Downtown Center, 1059 Willamette Street, Room 302

Town Hall on home foreclosures


Tax scams. The tax filing deadline is upon us: April 17 for state and federal returns (and thanks to our eagle-eye constituent for noting this). The Attorney General recently warned of tax preparation scams and ways to avoid it. The Department of Justice has prepared some useful information about this.

District News
Stimulus Funds in Eugene
The federal Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus program, continues to help local communities around the country. The Eugene School District used stimulus funds to leverage its own limited funds to install direct digital controls on school bus electrical outlets and in its Transportation Building. This saves the Eugene School District an estimated $31,000 per year. The District used additional stimulus funds to upgrade its data center, changing the configuration to reduce cooling by more than 60 percent and save up to $18,000 per year from a reduction in use of natural gas.
Chinook Salmon return to Delta Ponds and Heron Slough
Delta Ponds
Delta Ponds
Major restoration work on the Delta Ponds and Heron Slough has led to the return of juvenile spring Chinook salmon for the first time in over 60 years.  The Eugene Natural Planning Division reports that a consultant (hired thanks to a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center) noticed the salmon in January.  The restoration project provides benefits to many different wildlife species, but both were primarily designed to create a wintering habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon.

NAACP Dinner
Oregon Chief Justice Paul de Muniz, speaking at recent NAACP annual dinner, spoke about Clifton Taulbert's book, Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing Values that Build Strong Families and Communities.  In his remarks, the Chief Justice urged Rep. Val Hoyle and me to continue and expand our legislative efforts to reduce the number of children going to foster care by advocating for early community involvement, and helping the 93% of prisoners returning to communities without a place to live or a job.  Working on those very ideas since my first term as a legislator, I was pleased to hear the Chief Justice's support for those priorities and encouragement to "keep at it."

Grants to two Eugene organizations
The Meyer Memorial Trust (MMT) is a charitable foundation created by the late Fred G. Meyer, who built the chain of retail stores bearing his name throughout the Pacific Northwest. The charitable trust, funded through his will, awards grants to non-profit organizations. At its March meeting, MMT announced 23 more grants, including two to Eugene area non-profits. Centro Latino Americano received funding to support crisis intervention for low-income Latinos and improve the organization's financial sustainability. The Rural Development Initiative, based in Eugene and providing services throughout the Northwest, received an award to help market its services that strengthen rural Oregon communities.