Morning Roundup: Legislature to consider flexible scheduling; Zoom+ leaves insurance marketplace

In today’s news, the Legislature will take on flexible scheduling requirements, Zoom+ has left the insurance marketplace and a lawsuit alleges Oregon violated the Endangered Species Act.

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1. Oregon to tackle employer scheduling 

With paid sick leave approved and a higher minimum wage in place, flexible scheduling might be the next employee issue during the 2017 session, the Oregonian reports. The legislation could require employers to give two weeks notice for any schedule changes. The practice is already law in Seattle and San Francisco, cities that Portland often emulates. The proposal is likely to face intense opposition, especially as business groups that agreed to participate in the work group have withdrawn.

2. Zoom+ will not offer health plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace next year

The Portland Business Journal reports Zoom+ informed the Department of Consumer and Business Services of its decision in August, although the reason for withdrawing is unknown. The alternative healthcare provider, described by OB writer Amy Milshtein as the urgent care provider for the on-demand generation, isn’t the first to stop offering health plans on the marketplace. Insurance companies around the country are struggling to adjust to post-ACA market realities. In some areas, like Deschutes County, only three carriers remain for 2017.

3. Conservation group files suit for gray wolves

Oregon’s decision to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list has sparked another lawsuit. Cascadia Wildlands first challenged the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision last year in the Court of Appeals, but the state passed a law blocking judicial review of the delisting. This rendered the suit moot. The Bend Bulletin reports the new suit comes as the ODFW reviews its wolf management plan. Oregon ranchers say they want the plan to be more aggressive and a faster response when wolves attack livestock.

4. Speaking of endangered species, the first bee is being considered for the list

The rusty patched bee has been recommended for the endangered species list after Portland’s Xerces Society petitioned federal officials. The Statesman Journal reports about 90% of the bee’s population has disappeared in the last 20 years. If the rusty patched bee makes the list, it would be the first bee listed as an endangered species in the U.S.

5. New York says Oregon has the best sour beer

Cascade Brewing has once again earned a four-star review from the New York Times. The Portland sour beer brewer’s Kriek was rated the best of its kind in the U.S. Cascade earned the No. 1 spot in 2011 as well. The Oregonian reports there are only 48 bottles left of the award-winning brew.

6. ODOT audit finally on track

A contractor has been chosen to audit the Oregon Department of Transportation. The agency spent almost year trying to launch the audit and initially picked a different contractor in August despite a conflict of interest. The Bend Bulletin reports ODOT wants the audit completed in time to forward to the Legislature in March when a roads funding bill is will be  under consideration. Gov. Kate Brown first asked for the audit last November.

7. Oregon company leaving ConAgra

In 1988, ConAgra Foods purchased Lamb Weston, the frozen potato giant of Eastern Oregon. The East Oregonian reports that after 28 years the two companies will split and Lamb Weston will become an individual, publicly-traded company once again. The decision was first announced in November 2015. Lamb Weston is on track to become independent next month.