Legislature hears strippers’ concerns about workplace standards

LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP: Stripclubs are inspected about every 40 years; proposal made to require high school students to pass citizenship test; should daylight saving time be abolished?

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A group of dancers testified in Salem Wednesday about the hazards they face working at strip clubs throughout the state.

Lawmakers were dismayed to learn that the typical strip club is slated for inspection about every 40 years, the Associated Press reports.

“Performers have adapted to a broken system because they are afraid that government interference would infringe on their income and the amount of control they have over how they earn it,” Paris Hoover, a Portland dancer, told the House Business and Labor Committee.

Hoover and other dancers have been working for months with lobby­ists hired by the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. They have proposed a bill that would require strip clubs and other live entertainment venues — such as music halls and comedy clubs — to display a poster outlining the rights of performers. It would include a hotline that performers could call to report problems. Claude DaCorsi, a club operator and president of the Oregon chapter of the Association of Club Executives, said he supported the bill and was appalled by some of the conditions he heard dancers describe. The problems tend to come from “a couple rotten apples” who tarnish the industry’s reputation, he said.

Sunriver lawmaker proposes bill that would require high schoolers to take citizenship test

House Bill 2977 would make high schoolers take a 100-question civics test.

The bill that has bipartisan support had its first committee hearing Wednesday, the Statesman Journal reports.

Led by committee chairwoman Rep. Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, the committee first discussed HB 2977, which requires school districts and public charter schools to implement a statewide system to assess civics and require students to show the level of proficiency required by the U.S. naturalization test. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, who spoke before the committee on the bill’s significance. Whisnant brought up the all-too-often occurrence of a talk show host asking people on the street basic geography questions, and their answers being embarrassing.

“Recently there have been several states where it’s a high school requirement to pass a U.S. civics test,” he said.

Another bill proposed by Rep. Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) would also require students to pass a civics test.

Bills seek to abolish daylight saving time

A Senate committee heard arguments to do away with daylight saving time in Oregon.

It isn’t an idea unique to Oregon, as six other state governments have addressed the issue, the Statesman Journal reports.

“A great number of people have written in saying, ‘We should just abolish this. We don’t need to have this archaic practice any longer,'” said Sen. Kim Thatcher of Keizer, a Republican who sponsored one of the bills on behalf of a constituent. “There are also a lot of people on the other side of the issue saying, ‘I would miss daylight savings time.’ “

Time-change lovers say it would be chaotic for Oregon to depart from its West Coast neighbors, with which it shares the strong economic and cultural ties, making it more difficult to commute or plan meetings. They say daylight saving time allows more sun for evening recreation and family activities, and it pushes more driving trips into daylight hours. Critics of daylight saving time point to the irritating ritual of resetting clocks each time we “spring forward” or “fall back.” They say it causes health problems by disrupting the body’s natural timekeeping, and it likely contributes to diminished productivity in the days following a time change.