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Think Out Loud

Live from Salem

Pete Springer/OPB

There have been a number of interesting (and well-attended) hearings in the Capitol this week. On Monday, the House Rules Committee heard testimony on the subject of sobriety checkpoints. The last time Oregon police officers randomly stopped drivers to check their sobriety was 1982. That’s when the ACLU of Oregon brought a lawsuit against Lane County. The case was eventually decided in the Oregon Supreme Court, which found sobriety checkpoints to be unconstitutional. In order to bring back the checkpoints, lawmakers would need to pass a Joint Resolution that would put the issue before voters in 2012. This issue has been raised many times, most recently in the 2010 special session, but has yet to pass out of committee.

A hearing on another high profile issue took place on Tuesday. Students, administrators, University of Oregon’s president and others traveled to Salem to discuss two proposals that would affect the U of O. Senate Bill 559 would allow the university to be an independent public university with its own governing board. (All public universities in the state are currently governed by the State Board of Higher Education.) Senate Joint Resolution 20 would put a constitutional amendment before voters in 2012, asking them to decide whether or not universities could use bond money to fund their endowments. These complex proposals are part of a larger effort to restructure Oregon’s higher education system. The University of Oregon proposal has met with a mixed response from legislators even before the session got underway.

On this show, we’ll also continue our Capital People feature, where we meet interesting people who work in the Capitol building but are not elected officials. This time it’ll be Kevin Boyles, the manager of the Cafe at the Capitol. He’s met some interesting customers over the years, including his wife, who also works in the Capitol building.

Have you ever eaten at the Cafe in the basement of the Capitol building? What would you like to ask someone who works there?

Are you a student at the University of Oregon? Do you work there? How would SB 559 and SJR 20 affect you? Have you lived in a state that uses sobriety checkpoints? How effective are they?


  • Chris Edwards: Democratic State Senator representing Oregon’s 7th district and sponsor of SB 559
  • Marc Nisenfeld: Development engineer at Portland State University, president of the Portland State University SEIU Local and chair of the SEIU Higher Education Council
  • Rod Monroe: Democratic State Senator representing Oregon’s 24th district
  • David Fidanque: Executive director of the ACLU of Oregon
  • Chris Lehman: Reporter for OPB News
  • Kevin Boyles: District manager of The Sassy Onion, which operates the Cafe at the Capitol
2011 session legislature university of oregon

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