Debt Collection Legislation; Campaign Limits; City Council Meeting; Razor Clamming; New Nursing Director for Surgical Services

Debt Collection Legislation

Consumer advocates in Oregon are praising recently passed legislation they say changes the landscape on debt collection. Senate Bill 1595, known as the Family Financial Protection Act, gained approval from lawmakers during this year’s short session. It provides a number of protections for consumers against debt collection practices, including ensuring that collectors don’t come after people for debt that isn’t theirs or is for the wrong amount. Head of Oregon Consumer Justice Jagjit Nagra says it also changes the period of time consumers have to file a complaint.

“Originally, it was a one-year statute of limitations and in many debt collection scenarios that’s pretty problematic. So, if you think about medical billing, it can take a long time for, often, just those bills to be produced and then that clock has already started ticking. So we extended that from one to three years.”

The legislation provides other safeguards as well, such as from overwhelming legal fees and more garnishment protections. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.

Campaign Limits

Oregon lawmakers took a step toward limiting the impact of money on elections during the legislative session. Lawmakers passed House Bill 2024, a campaign finance reform package that limits the amount single donors can contribute to campaigns. Limits haven’t existed in the state since the 1970s. Contributions will be capped at 33-hundred dollars – per candidate – per election. House Speaker Representative Julie Fahey, a Democrat from Eugene, championed the bill. In her first campaign for office, she faced candidates funded by large donations from wealthy donors, and says the experience inspired her to change the law.

“It really was that first challenging election cycle that cemented in my mind how important it was that we reform our campaign finance system, in part because we need to make running for office more accessible to brand new candidates like I was.”

Oregon voters have shown they’re ready for limits on campaign contributions. They wrote them into the the state constitution in 2020. This year, Honest Elections and the League of Women Voters had collected nearly enough signatures for a measure to put campaign finance reform on the November ballot. Fahey notes the bill doesn’t just limit contributions.

“We also created new kinds of small donor pacs and membership organization pacs that will make sure that we can incentivize the kind of pro-democracy campaigning that we really want to see more of.”

The new campaign finance laws go into effect in 2027.

City Council Meeting

The Florence City Council will have a full slate of agenda itmes for this evening’s City Council meeting. The Council will review the rules and practices for public contracting and consider a Resolutions  that will amend the practices. The updated rules will allow the city to “efficiently and effectively” carry out the work of the city. The Council is also considering a resolution to approve moving forward on a new round of funding for the Safe Routes to School program. The council will also recognize the winners of the 2024 If I Were A Mayor contest, Employee recognitions and a series of proclamations for Military Child, Vietnam Veterans Day and Women’s History Month.

Razor Clamming

If you enjoy Razor clamming the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has once again deemed it safe to harvest those clams along most of the entire Oregon coastline.  It had been closed just north of Waldport to Astoria and Cape Blanco to the California border.  The portion south remains closed.  Crab, mussel and Bay Clam harvesting are open statewide.

New Nursing Director for Surgical Services

Peace Harbor Medical Center has announce the arrival of a new director of Nursing for Surgical Services.  Lisa Wood had been at Riverbend for more than 20 years. VP of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Peace Harbor, Ruth Franke gives Wood a glowing recommendation saying she is a caring, fair, hardworking leader.  Woods first day is March 24th.