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Posts published in June 2013

A case for closure

idaho RANDY
The Idaho

Since 1981, the four states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana have – under terms of a federal law signed into effect early that year – created and formed a joint agency aimed at planning for electric power production and resource (especially fish) production, and meshing the two goals together. It is now, after a name change a while back, called the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and it is based at Portland.

It's a fair-sized agency, starting with a council that has two members from each of the four states, and including staff at Portland and elsewhere. For decades, it has rolled along, often not much noticed by the public or many other people aside from the Bonneville Power Administration, with which it is required to work. It delivers occasional reports and recommendations.

Here's a little secret few people probably have ever realized: All it would take to eliminate this agency is for three of the four state governors to agree to end it. That's it: The Council would then vanish.

That's one point about the council that its very first member, Idahoan Chris Carlson, makes in his new book Medimont Reflections: 40 Years of Issues and Idahoans. (Disclosure: I'm the publisher of that book, which is being released right about now, through Ridenbaugh Press.) You can find this highly obscure dissolution provision in the Northwest Power Planning Act at section 839b(b)(5)(A). If the governors invoked it the Council would be gone, period.

Here's another point Carlson makes: The governors should use that authority and eliminate the council. (more…)

First take: Sentence changes


SENTENCE CHANGES There's talk that serious changes in sentencing might not make it through this year's Oregon legislative session. But when you have the hard-nosed coalition of DAs, who have been most opposing to relaxing the sentencing rules, getting behind some serious compromises, you have to think that something may be coming. Something, along the lines of figuring that the prosecutors wouldn't be doing this if they didn't some wall handwriting. Not that it's all a settled deal. But a useful piece in the Eugene Register Guard does suggest some lines along which a final substantial bill may emerge.