All blog posts created by Communications Office
  • Ron calls for renewal of CHIP at Randall Children’s Hospital

    As part of Ron’s work to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), he spoke on Friday in Portland with pediatricians, medical officials and healthcare advocates for the African-American and Latino communities.

    What Ron heard during his meeting at Randall Children’s Hospital was agreement on the need for Congress to extend CHIP -- and to do so quickly so that state legislatures nationwide can know they can count on the federal program as they put together their budgets.

    “What I am hearing from advocates like you is the need for certainty and predictability,’’ said Ron, who also toured the children’s hospital--Oregon’s largest provider of pediatric inpatient and trauma services. 

    About 10 million children rely on CHIP for access to comprehensive, affordable health care. In Oregon, that includes 128,000 children, a number that would fill each seat in Portland’s Moda Center six times over.

    The uninsured rate for children has dropped dramatically since CHIP’s enactment, nationally from 14 percent in 1997 to a record low of 7 percent in 2012--and in Oregon over the same time period, the rate of 10 percent in 1997 has been nearly cut in half.

    We should build on this success,” Ron said, “not put it at risk.”

  • Reviews are in: Cyber Bill Fails Security, Expands Spying on Americans

    Privacy and security experts agree: the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act doesn’t make us safer and flings open the door for even more surveillance of law-abiding American citizens. It is a surveillance bill by another name.

    “All of those vague terms, Greene argues, widen the pipe of data that companies can send the government, expanding CISA into a surveillance system for the intelligence community and domestic law enforcement”

    “A coalition of nearly 50 technologists, privacy groups and campaigners wrote to the committee earlier this month urging rejection of a bill that would “significantly undermine privacy and civil liberties” and potentially permit corporations to “hack back” at perceived network intrusions.”

    “The bill also allows companies to bypass DHS and share the information immediately with other agencies, like the intelligence agencies, which ensures that DHS's current privacy protections won’t be applied to the information. The provision is ripe for improper and over-expansive information sharing.”

    “Instead of focusing on ways to make our data (and the devices we store it on) more secure, Washington keeps offering up "cybersecurity" proposals that would poke huge holes in privacy protections and potentially funnel tons of personal information to the government, including the NSA and the military.”

    “Jake Laperruque, a privacy and surveillance fellow at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said that, despite the revisions, CISA still amounted to a "cybersurveillance measure." Of particular concern, Laperruque said, was that the committee-passed legislation "required real-time 'insta-sharing' with the NSA" once data is handed over to the government—a mandated scheme that he said gained even more authority under the amended language.”

    “But civil liberties advocates say the bill needs more safeguards to protect consumer information that is being shared with government entities. If corporations are legally protected when they share data into the government, where does the individual user look for recourse?”

    "Reading through the latest publicly available draft of the bill, CISA’s provisions seem unusually broad and designed to allow future invasions of privacy. Although the bill says its purpose is to prevent hacker attacks, it encourages the sharing of all sorts of user information with wide swaths of the federal government. The bill's language is extremely vague, and could include everything from user account information to IP address login history to geolocation and even what type of phone a customer uses."

  • Ron Gets Wildfires Briefing, Also Tours Portland Mercado

    The calendar may still say winter, but Ron  heard troubling news last week in Medford and Eugene, where he was briefed about the potential wildfire season that could loom ahead for Oregon this spring and summer.

    The March 5th briefings presented by the federal Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service highlighted  that conditions in southern Oregon have not been this dry for 25 years, and that the snowpack outside Eugene is only about 10 percent of normal.

    Both statistics, Ron  said, spotlight how dire wildfire conditions could be in Oregon during the months ahead, and demonstrate the importance of the wildfire funding legislation he is co-sponsoring with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). That legislation would boost funding for fire prevention and treat the largest wildfires as natural disasters.

    In Medford Ron praised the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project as a collaborative model that well deserved the $2.2 million in federal funding he and fellow Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley worked to secure for the project. The economy and the environment in the Ashland area will both benefit from the forest thinning project..

    Ron also  had the distinct privilege of touring the Portland Mercado, the city’s first Latino public market, before its opening April 1! The indoor-outdoor market, which Ron  strongly supported, will have food carts and retail space for 15-20 new start-up businesses in Portland’s Lents neighborhood.  It also features Micro Mercantes, an affordable commercial kitchen that will help emerging entrepreneurs translate their visions into viable enterprises.  The Mercado promises to enrich our community through its offerings of exceptional Latin American food, art, music and culture.

    “The Portland Mercado is something with very good taste,” he said, “in terms of its location and in the wonderful products it will offer the community and the entire state.”