12-03-2022  3:18 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

Portland Settles Lawsuit Over Police Use of Tear Gas

The lawsuit was originally filed by Don't Shoot Portland in June 2020. “Our freedom of expression is the foundation of how we make social change possible,” Teressa Raiford said in a news release. “Black Lives Still Matter.”

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

PBS Genealogy Show Seeks Viewers’ Brick Walls

The popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” is putting out a nationwide casting call for a non-celebrity to be featured on season...

The James Museum Opens Black Pioneers: Legacy In The American West

This first-of-its-kind-exhibition explores Black history in the West with a timeline of pictorial quilts. ...

Use of Deadly Force Investigation Involving Clackamas County Sheriff and Oregon State Police Concludes

The grand jury’s role was solely to determine whether the involved officers’ conduct warranted criminal charges; questions...

Scientists call for action to help sunflower sea stars

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — Scientists along the West Coast are calling for action to help sunflower sea stars, among the largest sea stars in the world, recover from catastrophic population declines. Experts say a sea star wasting disease epidemic that began in 2013 has decimated about...

To address wealth gap, Wash. to consider K ‘baby bonds’

SEATTLE (AP) — Jennifer Bereskin dropped out of high school when she was 17. Her family was homeless, and she needed to get a job to buy food and afford bus fare. Couch surfing with friends in Everett, Lynnwood and Seattle, her dreams of college were put aside. “I was merely...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

Rivalry week should bring SEC bowl forecast into clear focus

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s rivalry week for most of the Southeastern Conference. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Palmetto Bowl. The Sunshine Showdown. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. The Battle Line Rivalry. It’s a chance for everyone to either avoid or add to the powerhouse...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Antisemitic celebrities stoke fears of normalizing hate

A surge of anti-Jewish vitriol, spread by a world-famous rapper, an NBA star and other prominent people, is stoking fears that public figures are normalizing hate and ramping up the risk of violence in a country already experiencing a sharp increase in antisemitism. Leaders of the...

Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being warned about the potentially dire consequences of a case next week involving a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples. Rule for the designer and the justices will expose not only same-sex...

GOP's Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just...

ENTERTAINMENT

Prince William, like his father, prioritizes the environment

BOSTON (AP) — Prince William capped a three-day visit to Boston by meeting with President Joe Biden to share his vision for safeguarding the environment before attending a gala event Friday evening where he sounded an optimistic tone about solving the world’s environmental problems through...

LGBTQ chorus in Colorado Springs unifies community with song

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Below the vaulted dome and dark wood beams of a church in Colorado Springs, a gay men's choir rehearsed for a concert that's taken on new meaning after an LGBTQ night club became the site of a shooting that killed five and wounded 17. “There is no...

Britney Spears' massive pop songs to land on Broadway, again

NEW YORK (AP) — A stage musical about woke princesses that uses hit songs by Britney Spears will land on Broadway this summer. "Once Upon a One More Time," featuring Spears' tunes, including “Oops!… I Did It Again,” “Lucky,” “Stronger” and “Toxic,” will start...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Polynesian pride: Three-day canoe voyage in mid-Pacific

RAPA NUI, Chile (AP) — The causes are worthy, the course is daunting – almost 500 kilometers (about 300 miles)...

Defeated election conspiracists seek to lead Michigan GOP

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republicans who lost their races for Michigan's top three statewide offices after...

Messi scores, Argentina reaches World Cup quarterfinals

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Lionel Messi was pushed into the middle of a joyous post-match huddle as Argentina’s...

AP PHOTOS: Residents face new reality in retaken Kherson

KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — When Ukraine wrested back Kherson from Russian occupiers nearly a month ago, it was a...

Russia rejects -a-barrel cap on its oil, warns of cutoffs

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian authorities rejected a price cap on the country's oil set by Ukraine’s Western...

Thousands protest in South Korea in support of truckers

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators representing organized labor marched in South Korea’s...

By Halimah Abdullah CNN




WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Colorado state Rep. Tony Exum thought he was being punked.

The voice on the other end of the line claimed to be Vice President Joe Biden. It said it wanted to underscore the broader national importance of the heated gun control policy debate raging in Colorado.

"He asked me if the gun control laws we were debating had a chance of being passed, and I told him I thought it did. He talked about what gun control laws would mean and the difficulty of getting those passed in the country," Exum said of the call he received from Biden late last week. "At first I thought it was a prank call."

The brief exchange between Exum -- who represents a small section of southeast Colorado Springs where he once responded to shootings as a firefighter -- and the vice president, who heads up the Obama administration's gun control reform efforts, wasn't a chance encounter.

Calls to state lawmakers by the vice president are "unusual," but not necessarily a bad thing, said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

"It's clear that the administration has placed gun violence prevention near the top of its agenda," Webster said. "States passing stronger gun laws builds momentum for change in other states and at the federal level. Colorado is an important state not only because it has experienced two of the most high-profile and deadliest mass shootings, but because it is a purple state with a lot of gun owners."

(A shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, last July killed 12 people and injured 58. In April 1999, two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killed 13 and wounded 23 others before killing themselves.)

The state battles are important because the administration needs to send a signal back to Washington that the gun laws the White House supports need not have negative political consequences, gun policy experts say.

Having the vice president reach out to local lawmakers "may provide cover for some states that are passing these types laws so that there is some national conversation on this," said economist and pro-gun advocate John Lott.

In many ways, Colorado is ground zero for states' battles over gun control policy.

As the nation awaits congressional action on a slate of gun control measures ranging from an assault weapons ban to expanded background checks, many states have taken matters into their own hands.

"Some very pro-gun states are passing legislation that says, in essence, we won't follow certain federal laws," Webster said.

There are more than 1,000 gun policy bills pending in the nation's state legislatures, according to an analysis by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The measures run the gamut from assault weapons bans and expanded background checks to proposals allowing guns in schools and in churches.

More than half of the nation's state legislatures have had measures introduced that aim to nullify the effect of any federal ban on firearms, assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, according to data collected by the he National Conference of State Legislatures.

For example, on January 21, Mississippi lawmakers introduced nearly a dozen such proposals. All of the measures failed, most of them in committee.

Most of these types of proposals hit state legislatures within days of the White House's January announcement of 23 executive actions on gun control and the introduction by California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of a proposed ban of some assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.

"The bluest states are being aggressive -- New York with the broadest prohibitions relevant to the mentally ill and lowest maximum ammunition capacity and broadest assault weapon ban," Webster said.

Biden traveled to a gun policy conference in Connecticut last month in the aftermath of December's Newtown school shootings, to underscore the administration's push for tougher laws as the state considers a broad set of gun control bills. Similar efforts are under way in New Jersey.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has spent tremendous political capital in his effort to enact several pieces of gun control legislation including stricter handgun purchaser licensing, banning the sale of assault weapons and ammunition-feeding devices with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, and expanded prohibitions for the dangerously mentally ill.

Across the country in California, state lawmakers are considering measures that would expand the categories of high-risk people who cannot legally purchase or possess firearms -- including repeat drug and drunk driving offenders and people who violate domestic violence restraining orders.

The debate has been especially heated in Colorado, where memories of Aurora and Columbine run deep.

On Monday, a small plane flew above the Colorado Capitol building pulling a banner that advised Gov. John Hickenlooper, "Hick: Do not take our guns." Opponents packed the Capitol's halls and honked horns in the parking lot.

Inside the statehouse, Mark Kelly -- the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Democratic congresswoman who was shot while meeting with constituents in Arizona in January 2011 -- stressed the importance of universal background checks. Like Congress, the Colorado state legislature is considering a package of gun control legislation designed to broaden background checks to include private sales and limit the size of ammunition magazines.

There are at least seven gun control measures up for a vote before the state Senate by the end of the week that, if passed, could potentially be on the governor's desk by the end of the month.

Back in Washington, the fate of several pieces of similar gun policy legislation wending their way through a Senate committee could foreshadow the nature of the upcoming congressional gun control debate. But the politics of all of these measures is tricky and the stakes are high, said Alan Lizotte, dean and professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Albany.

"Both Democrats and Republicans are in a tough spot on this," Lizotte said.

The speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Mark Ferrandino, a Democrat, says though he too was surprised to receive a call about his state's gun control battle from Biden last week, he understands the stakes.

The vice president "definitely said they were paying attention to all states that were having the debates, including Colorado," Ferrandino said.

However both he and Exum added that though they appreciated the White House calls, they were already staunch supporters of stricter gun control legislation.

"Our goal is to pass the best policy for Colorado," Ferrandino said. "If the vice president wants to take that and help at the national level, or other legislators want to see if that will help with their state, then we'll gladly talk with them."

 

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