PORTLAND, Ore. (NNPA) - Rep. Chip Shields (D-Portland) this week
introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide oversight of how
state-chartered banks are spending money disbursed through the Troubled
Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The move comes at the same time another new bill would create a
statewide “stimulus czar” to oversee the influx of money expected from
President Barack Obama’s economic plan.
If passed, Shields’ House Bill 2784 would convene a bipartisan
group of Oregon state senators and representatives, as well as members
of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and
representatives of the financial industry, to provide oversight and
evaluate the need for regulation of operations of financial
institutions licensed, certified or chartered in this state that
receive funds from the TARP program.
Salem, OR - Representatives of some national "good government" groups will be in Salem today for the first hearing on two bills that would tighten requirements for who gets government contracts and how they use the money. The Oregon legislation could be used by other states that are looking for ways to track job creation and increase accountability.
In fact, Oregon has some ideas that other states may soon be anxious to copy. This morning, a House committee in Salem discusses two bills that propose turning up the heat on government contractors by setting quality standards and tracking their progress. With billions of dollars of federal stimulus money at stake — and a president who says it must be used to create jobs — states are scrambling to figure out how to meet federal requirements.
Salem, OR — Amidst renewed calls from the Obama administration
for accountability from private contractors on the federal level, the
Oregon State House of Representatives is considering a bill that would
far outstrip the contractor accountability provisions maintained by any
state governments to date.
This Monday at 8am, leading transparency experts from the national
Coalition for an Accountable Recovery (CAR) will testified before the
Oregon House Business and Labor Committee in support of the bill, HB
2037, which would require private contractors in Oregon to disclose the
number of employees and the wages, they pay. This is especially
important with the federal government requiring transparency on jobs
created through the $6.48 billion in federal funds set aside for Oregon
under the recovery plan.
In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law. In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor.
Washington State minimum wage workers got a raise January 1st to $8.55
per hour -- now the highest minimum wage in the country. Like nine
other states, Washington automatically increases its minimum wage each
year at the rate of inflation to make sure families don't face a de facto pay
cut as rising costs eat into family budgets. Because the federal
minimum wage is not indexed to inflation in this way, we have seen a
decline in its value from $9.34 in inflation-adjusted dollars down to
just $6.55 per hour this past year. This trend highlights why state
efforts to index the minimum wage to keep up with inflation are so