Thursday, May 17, 2007

OR GOP legislative agenda: Grab yer ankles

I can't decide if the Republicans in the Oregon legislature have simply given up all pretense of shill-ness for their corporate contributors or if they're just running home to instinct. Either way, the last two days in their caucus have been a demonstration in how the GOP expects Oregonians to bend over for big business.

First came the Responsible Employer Act also known affectionately as the "Wal-Mart Bill". This piece of legislation compels the Oregon Department of Human Services to generate an annual report which ranks the 40 Oregon employers with the greatest number of workers on state public assistance.

House Bill 3252 is the bill in question. Every single House Republican voted no on this bill. Based on the inane statement given to the Eugene Register Guard by Fred Girod (R-Stayton), they're having trouble coming up with a good excuse:

Rep. Fred Girod, a Stayton Republican who called the Oregon bill "The I Hate Wal-Mart Bill," said the reports it requires would result only in the unnecessary use of public dollars to embarrass the companies on the list.

Taking Girod at his word here, its perfectly acceptable to use public funds to augment the income of hard working Oregonians who aren't paid a living wage--but we shouldn't use public funds to out companies who don't pay a living wage to Oregonians-cuz it might press them to pay people more so they can get off of public assistance.

This is the best that Stayton has to offer? Really?

The second bill this week which demonstrates the GOP corporate/instinct conundrum is Senate Bill 118, which up for a vote in the House today. The bill would keep companies from raising their prices more than 15% when the Guv declares of a state of emergency. The bill is in response to local price gouging in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina.

Again--every House Republican voted no. And again they trot out Girod to remind us why Oregon keeps trending blue:

Republicans like Representative Fred Girod of Stayton said the idea was okay in principle, but lacked specifics.

Fred Girod: "This is way too broad and way too much power. I would not give this much power to a king, and I sure as heck am not going to give it to a Governor."

Girod doesn't want the governor to have the power to keep companies from price gouging Oregonians--even though the bill specifically allows the legislature to OVERTURN his decision?

The only reason to vote against keeping track of non-living wage employers and against price gouging is to appease corporations. It certainly has nothing to do with raising Oregon's economy or doing what's right for rank and file Oregonians.