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At least 23 dead in tornado-spawning storms sweeping central US, new report finds OR workforce grows, but gaps should be addressed; AM radio in every car? The debate hits Missouri; Proposal would make MI State Capitol a 'gun-free zone.'

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President Biden delivers a Memorial Day address, former president Trump's hush money trial is poised for jury deliberations, and the Justice Department warns of threats to election officials.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Democracy Scorecard: Mixed Results for OR Congressional Delegation

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Friday, September 18, 2020   

SALEM, Ore. - The 2020 Democracy Scorecard from Common Cause is out - and Oregon's congressional delegation does very well, with one exception.

The nonpartisan watchdog group ranks lawmakers on their support for bills that would overhaul voting, ethics and campaign-finance rules and laws. The state's sole Republican congressman, Rep. Greg Walden - R-Hood River - scored just one out of 15.

Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs with Common Cause, said conservatives have turned away from bipartisan issues they used to support - from disclosure of campaign spending to strengthening the Voting Rights Act.

"The Republican Party has mostly done a 180 on those issues," said Scherb. "So, it's unfortunate that it's really only in Washington, D.C, where some of these issues to strengthen our democracy are seen as partisan."

The House of Representatives has passed 10 democracy reform bills in recent years, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring them to a vote in that chamber.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Earl Blumenauer - D-Portland - and Rep. Peter DeFazio - D-Springfield - all got 100% on the Democracy Scorecard. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici - D-Beaverton - and Rep. Kurt Schrader - D-Canby - weren't far behind.

Scherb said the third annual ranking highlights for voters just where their elected representatives stand on the major issues of democracy reform.

"What are members of Congress doing to get big money out of politics," asked Scherb, "to help strengthen and protect the right to vote? How are they ending partisan gerrymandering? How are they creating more ethical and accountable government?"

Some of the proposals now in Congress are intended to override decisions handed down by the Supreme Court over the past decade.

HR 1 would supersede the Citizen's United decision from 2010, which said political donations are a form of free speech and opened up the floodgates for so-called "dark money" in American elections.

HR 4 would undo a 2013 high-court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, giving control back to states with a history of disenfranchising minority voters.



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