07-08-2020  3:34 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon DOJ to Hold Listening Sessions on Institutional Racism; Leaders Wary

DOJ will hold 11 virtual listening sessions for underserved Oregonians.

Portland Black Community Frustrated as Violence Mars Protests

Black leaders condemn violence from small group of mostly-white activists as Rose City Justice suspends nightly marches

Protester Dies After Car Hits Two on Closed Freeway

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died and Taylor and Diaz Love of Portland were injured. The driver, Dawit Kelete has been arrested

Police Union Contract Extended, Bargaining to Continue

Negotiations will resume in January 2021.

NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center Announce Artist Fund

The fund will help support artists during COVID crisis and beyond ...

The OHS Museum Reopens Saturday, July 11

The Oregon Historical Society museum will reopen with new hours and new safety protocols ...

Meyer Memorial Trust Announces New Trustee

Amy C. Tykeson of Bend, will oversee management of the 38-year-old Oregon-serving foundation. ...

African American Alliance for Home Ownership Announces New Board Member

AAAH has announced the appointment of Carl Anderson, M.D., a staff physician specializing in occupational medicine with Northwest...

Ploughshares Fund announces over $1 million in Grants to Stop Nuclear Threats

The global security foundation’s board of directors awards grants to 15 organizations working on nuclear weapons issues ...

Police: million lost due to ongoing Portland protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Downtown businesses in Portland, Oregon, have sustained about million in damages and lost customers because of violent nightly protests that have wracked the city, authorities said Wednesday.At a police briefing, Deputy Chief Chris Davis said the intensity of the...

Coronavirus kills funding of 37 projects in Oregon

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A steep drop in lottery funds due to the COVID-19 crisis has killed the sale of 3 million in state bonds to pay for major projects in Oregon, the Bulletin newspaper of Bend reported Wednesday.The 37 projects authorized by the Legislature at the end of the 2019 session...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

Letter to the Community From Eckhart Tolle Foundation

The Eckhart Tolle Foundation is donating more than 250,000 dollars to organizations that are fighting racism ...

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Biden-Sanders task forces unveil joint goals for party unity

WASHINGTON (AP) — Political task forces Joe Biden formed with onetime rival Bernie Sanders to solidify support among the Democratic Party's progressive wing recommended Wednesday that the former vice president embrace major proposals to combat climate change and institutional racism while...

Indiana governor defends officer response to assault report

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb defended the state's Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday amid criticism that the agency's conservation officers did not adequately respond to the reported assault of a Black man by a group of white men at a southern Indiana lake last...

Five takeaways from Facebook's civil rights audit

A two-year audit of Facebook’s civil rights record found that the company’s elevation of free expression — especially by politicians — above other values has hurt its progress on other matters like discrimination, elections interference and protecting vulnerable users....

ENTERTAINMENT

Coppola and Henson companies get loans for winery, puppetry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — From a godfather of cinema to Kermit the Frog, the U.S. government’s small-business lending program sent money into unexpected corners of the entertainment industry. While legendary names like Francis Ford Coppola and Jim Henson hardly evoke the image of...

Review: Hanks lends steady, sober hand to taut naval drama

He’s Forrest Gump. He’s Mr. Rogers. He’s Woody.But with all the famous titles Tom Hanks has owned, few have fit as snugly and as smoothly as “captain” — whether it’s fending off Somali pirates in “Captain Phillips,” landing a plane on...

How many people saw 'Hamilton'? For now, that's a secret

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney+'s streaming of “Hamilton” was surely the biggest event on television screens over the holiday weekend.Just how big, however, remains a mystery.Disney knows, but it's not telling. Data is coming in to the Nielsen company, too, but won't be released until...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ivy League suspends fall sports due to coronavirus pandemic

The Ivy League on Wednesday became the first Division I conference to suspend all fall sports, including football,...

Health official: Trump rally 'likely' source of virus surge

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of...

Window into virus surge: Death, recovery at Houston hospital

HOUSTON (AP) — A few weeks after more than 100 people attended her husband's funeral, the widow herself was...

Ivory Coast PM, presidential candidate Amadou Coulibaly dies

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the presidential candidate of Ivory...

UK gets creative: Job bonus and eating out schemes announced

LONDON (AP) — The British government unveiled a raft of measures Wednesday it hopes will limit an...

Hong Kong inaugurates Beijing's national security office

HONG KONG (AP) — Beijing’s national security office was inaugurated in Hong Kong on Wednesday, just...

McMenamins
Alan Fram the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Merchants triumphed over bankers in a battle for billions Wednesday as the Senate voted to let the Federal Reserve curb the fees that stores pay financial institutions when a customer swipes a debit card. It was murkier, however, whether the nation's consumers were winners or losers.

As a result of the roll call, the Fed will be allowed to issue final rules on July 21 trimming the average 44 cents that banks charge for each debit card transaction. That fee, typically 1 to 2 percent of each purchase, produces $16 billion in annual revenue for banks and credit card companies, the Fed estimates.

The central bank has proposed capping the so-called interchange fee at 12 cents, though the final plan could change slightly.

Victorious merchants said the lowered fees should let them drop prices, banks said they could be forced to boost charges for things like checking accounts to make up for lost earnings and each side challenged the other's claims. Consumer groups were not a united front, either: While the consumer group U.S. PIRG said consumers would benefit, the Consumer Federation of America took no formal stance but said it was concerned about what both industries might do.

Travis B. Plunkett, the consumer federation's legislative director, said the amount of savings that stores pass on to consumers would depend on how competitive their markets are. He said he also worried that the Fed's current proposal might be too restrictive, which might tempt banks to "use that as an excuse to increase charges on customers they value the least, low- to moderate-income customers."

In Wednesday's vote, senators trying to thwart the Fed's rules needed 60 votes to prevail but fell six votes short, 54-45. That delivered a victory for Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, who muscled the provision into last year's financial overhaul law requiring the Fed's action.

Durbin's support on Wednesday represented an erosion from last year, when the Senate included Durbin's provision in the overhaul bill on a 64-33 vote. Much of the drop was explained by a dozen senators - including nine Democrats - who switched from backing Durbin in 2010 to voting to delay the Fed action on Wednesday.

Of the 12, just four are seeking re-election next year: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

Thirty-five Republicans joined 19 Democrats in backing the unsuccessful effort to block the Fed. Thirty-two Democrats, 12 Republicans and an independent voted to let the central bank move ahead, while Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., did not vote.

Wednesday's roll call shot down a proposal by Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., that would have delayed the Fed rule for a year. In the meantime, the Fed and three other agencies would have studied whether the Fed's current proposal is fair and rewritten it if at least two agencies decided it wasn't.

Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director for US PIRG, which represents state public interest research groups, said some banks might curtail the rewards programs that many attach to their debit cards, such as awarding cash back or airline miles. But he said checking account fees would not rise.

"There will be competition," Mierzwinski said. "Banks will be forced to come up with innovative ways to lower costs in their card networks."

Camden R. Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, challenged that, saying the Senate vote would mean that "consumers of lower socio-economic status will get hammered" because bank fees would rise.

"Where do people think banks get the money to subsidize these products" like free checking accounts, he said. He also challenged assertions that stores would pass the savings from lower fees to customers.

"Does anybody not smoking dope believe merchants will pass some big windfall to consumers?" he said, adding later, "I mean, what are they going to cut prices by, a penny?"

Merchants, however, argue that they will be forced to lower prices to reflect the curbed debit card fees.

"The retail industry is the most competitive business environment going today," said Brian Dodge, spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents many large merchants like Target and Home Depot. "There is no doubt competition would drive any interchange savings out of the system, which would be reflected by lower prices."

Affirming that was Dennis Lane, who has owned a 7-Eleven store in Quincy, Mass., for 37 years. He said he pays $7,000 to $10,000 annually in credit card swipe fees.

"Whenever I can reduce my cost of doing business, any responsible retailer reduces costs to the consumer," he said. He also said those savings could allow him to hire summer workers.

On the other hand, the head of a credit union in Mountain Home, Idaho, said slashing debit cards fees would have a huge cost for his business.

Curt Perry, president of Pioneer Federal Credit Union, says cutting the fee to 12 cents per swipe would cost him $780,000 a year. The new fee system would not take into account such expenses as covering fraud, which he said cost him $170,000 last year, leaving him considering options like charging a fees for debit cards or checking accounts.

"We'd have to pass that on, we'd need to generate that revenue from somewhere," he said.

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AP reporter Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.

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