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Exciting news from Basic Rights Oregon this morning!
BRO has officially launched the 2014 Oregon United for Marriage campaign. Look for them in Salem (and around the state) when they kick off their signature gathering on Thursday, Valentine's Day. You can join them by signing up here.
What you need to know about Salem as you start your week:
The 2013 legislative session is in full swing, which means the capitol is buzzing with lobbyists, legislators, and advocates of all stripes. If you want to know who’s going above and beyond to try to influence Oregon lawmakers, follow the money:
As it turns out, corporations and business groups spent more than $28 million lobbying the Oregon legislature in 2011 - 2012, accounting for a combined 56% of all lobbying expenses reported to the Ethics Commision.
Head over to The Sockeye for the full report.
► Oregon's making national news for last Friday's gun rights rally at the state capitol. News of the rally, where protestors openly carried guns around and in the capitol building, was picked up by the Think Progress blog.
► A new report from the Legislative Counsel's office was issued last week on the Governor's proposed PERS changes. As it turns out, balancing the budget on retiree' backs isn't just unfair, it's also likely unconstitutional, according to the Legislative Counsel's Office.
► A coalition of organizations-- including AARP, Oregon PTA, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Health Care Association, SEIU Local 503 and others-- is releasing a detailed report tomorrow that identifies nearly $300 million in efficiencies and savings that can help stop cuts to education, health care services, and public safety programs.
►Tuition Equity (HB 2787) gets support from some big players. In a press conference this morning, Governor Kitzhaber addressed Tuition Equity, with business leaders from around the state, stressing its importance in helping Oregon achieve its educational goals to lead to long-term economic success for the future. A public hearing on the bill will be held Wednesday at 8am in HR D.
► The March revenue forecast will be announced Friday at 8:30am in HR A. This is the last revenue forecast before the Ways and Means Committee puts together their budget proposal.
If you can't make it to Salem, you can live stream the hearings here.
► Suzanne Gallagher, the new chair of the Oregon Republican Party, has been making the press rounds, including KATU's "Your Voice, Your Vote" show, where she claims that the Republican Party will register 200,000 new voters. That would equal about a 30% increase in GOP registration. Gallagher hasn't revealed any details about how they would achieve those numbers.
► Despite losing his position as a budget co-chair, Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) is still attempting to insert his voice into the budget conversation, with guest opinions and emails to half a million Oregonians.
But what's really got people talking is this: Now that Allen Alley has left the Oregon Transformation Project, is Richardson running the group by himself? The Oregon Transformation Project is a conservative political group that lays claim to some of the worst election flops in history, including their offensive women's voter guide, ads portraying paid staffers as constitutents, and more.