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Side Notes 3/5-3/11 

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The Oregon Senate passed a bill Monday that would reconfigure the way it assesses property taxes for large data centers (think: Apple, Google, etc.) in an effort to incentivize more of the tech companies setting up shop or expanding in Central Oregon. Supporters of Senate Bill 611, including Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend), say it would give a boost to economic development in hard hit areas like Prineville. But the League of Oregon Cities is not entirely on board. It's concerned that capping property tax revenue would hurt local governments by reducing needed funds. The bill now goes to the Oregon House.

This week in "Things you thought were already illegal," the Oregon House voted Monday to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, which apparently was not already a thing. Interestingly, 8th graders are now more likely to have tried smoking an electronic cigarette than a conventional one. The bill, which is now headed to the Oregon Senate, also seeks to prohibit vaping in places where smoking cigarettes in not permitted, such as bars, even though they create vapor rather than smoke. Some opposed to the bill argued that vaping should be allowed in establishments that have obtained a special permit, such as retail locations where a person might want to try before they buy.

Move over, Hobby Lobby. Four female Oregon legislators announced late last month plans to introduce a bill requiring the Oregon Health Plan to offer a broad spectrum of reproductive services including contraception, abortion, child birth and post-partum care. According to a fact sheet distributed by the bill's supporters, a lack of access to comprehensive family planning services leads to higher rates of unintended pregnancy, particularly among teens. An estimated 266,690 Oregon women would benefit from having access to these services through the Oregon Health Plan.

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