Federal judge rejects bid to block Oregon vaccine mandate

A federal judge has denied a last-minute bid by more than three dozen state employees, healthcare providers and school staff to temporarily block the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon rejected their motion for a temporary restraining order. It marks the first federal judge’s ruling after several state court decisions thwarting similar efforts to block Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s and the Oregon Health Authority’s power to require certain workers to get the vaccines or risk losing their jobs. The judge’s ruling does not end the lawsuit. It allows state enforcement of the vaccine mandates as the case proceeds.

Cities seek to loosen rules on spending federal pandemic aid

Some cities are urging President Joe Biden's administration to loosen its rules for spending $350 billion of coronavirus relief money directed toward state and local governments. The American Rescue Plan already provides significant leeway on spending decisions. But local governments that can show revenue losses have even greater flexibility to spend the money as they see fit. Some cities say the Treasury Department's rule for calculating revenue losses masks the depth of their financial problems. They want the Treasury to allow them to exclude newly enacted tax hikes from the formula and to count losses on a fund-by-fund basis. The Treasury has not said when it will release a final version of its rule.

Biden: 'Democracy survived' Capitol riot because of police

Standing in front of the Capitol, President Joe Biden paid tribute on Saturday to fallen police officers and honored those who fought off the Jan. 6 insurrection at that very site. Biden said that because of the actions of law enforcement officers on that day, "democracy survived.” The president spoke at the 40th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service to remember the 491 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020. It was at the Capitol nine months ago that a violent mob tried to block his ascension to the presidency. Biden singled out the 150 officers who were injured and the five who died in the attack’s aftermath.  

Proof of vaccination to be required at all large events in Washington starting November 15

Ted S. WarrenWashington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., before signing a bill into law that prohibits openly carrying guns and other weapons at the state Capitol and protests statewide.OLYMPIA, Wash. — Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required at all large events in Washington starting on November 15.  Governor Jay Inslee…

Republicans sue over new Oregon U.S. House maps

Former Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno and three other Republicans have filed a lawsuit to challenge new congressional districts recently passed by state lawmakers. They say the new maps are partisan gerrymandering, unconstitutional and contrary to state law. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the suit, filed Monday in Marion County Circuit Court, is the first such attempt to alter the six-district map that Democrats pushed through during a contentious special legislative session last month. Democrats passed a map that could lead to Democratic control of five of the state’s now-six seats in the U.S. House. Oregon picked up an additional seat because of population gains recorded by the recent U.S. Census.

Survey: 88% of WA health care workers are fully vaccinated

Most of Washington’s health care workers have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with a week left before the state’s immunization deadline. As of Monday morning, 88% of health care workers had showed proof of vaccination, the Washington State Hospital Association reported. The results include data from 94% of the state’s hospitals, collected after Oct. 4. All health care workers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face “nondisciplinary dismissal” for failure to meet job requirements, Gov. Jay Inslee announced in August.