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In Other News

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One would think the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) might have learned to cool its lobbying jets, having been on the wrong side of pretty much every major policy issue in Portland for the last 12 months. But the PBA once again distinguished itself as the city's most vociferous lobbyist in last week's quarterly lobbying reports, released by the city auditor's office. PBA lobbyist Bernie Bottomly met with or telephoned city staffers no less than 26 times between October and December 2009. Bottomly's colleagues and bosses met with council a further 12 times, according to the report. Next to the PBA, the Port of Portland's 19 lobbying visits seem rather anemic. Meanwhile the League of Women Voters, which only made eight haranguing trips to discuss issues like the James Chasse incident and affordable housing, are being made to look like chopped liver. MATT DAVIS

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The Oregon Senate passed the Job Applicant Fairness Act on Monday, February 15, sending along a bill to the House that would ban businesses from digging up credit histories of potential job applicants. About 43 percent of companies look at an applicant's credit history (up from 25 percent in 1998) despite there being no research showing poor credit history—which can result from things like medical bills, credit card debts, or divorce—has any impact on job performance. Sponsor Representative Tina Kotek, who is openly gay, also raised privacy concerns: Her own credit history shows she co-signs on multiple credit cards with the same female partner. "That would be an easy way for an employer to know whether you're in a same-sex relationship," says Kotek. SARAH MIRK

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The James Chasse court case will be tried this summer in Portland after all, following a ruling by Federal Court Judge Garr King on Tuesday, February 16. The city had asked for the case to be tried outside Portland, citing media articles as evidence that a fair jury could not be found in Portland, but King ruled that the city had not met its burden of proof. "It's my experience that jurors take their oath seriously, and if there is any question about a juror's prejudice it can be inspected and challenged," said King. MD

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