Morning Roundup

Shell company legislation progresses under the wire, H1-B visas quickly reach annual cap and Oregon judge condemns ICE presence at courthouses.

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Shell company legislation moves forward in legislature

Lawmakers scheduled a work session for the bill Friday just before the final deadline to move bills forward, the Portland Business Journal reports. House Bill 2191 would require companies to disclose an owner and physical address on incorporation records. It was filed pre-session by former Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins. It would also give the Secretary of State more authority to regulate those who form multiple companies, a reoccurring issue in Oregon.

H1-B visa applications reach program cap

The program reached its annual 65,000 cap for applications in just five days, the Oregonian reports. H1-B visas allow businesses to hire foreigners with specialized skills. Many Oregon high-tech companies rely on the program to find enough workers to fill positions. The program is under threat by the Trump Administration, which argues it takes jobs away from U.S. residents. 

Oregon Supreme Court Judge condemns ICE agents at courthouses

Justice Thomas Balmer says federal ICE officers have been a deterrent for individuals trying to access the criminal justice system, OPB reports. Balmer sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions reprimanding the presence of federal agents. Sessions replied that ICE agents would continue to arrest immigrants at courthouses as local ordinances prevent law enforcement from cooperating.

Commissioner Nick Fish issues all-access bathroom challenge to businesses

Fish asked the Portland business community to create 1,000 all-access bathrooms during a press conference Friday, the Portland Tribune reports. Fish says Portland converted 600 single-stall bathrooms to all-user restrooms, and challenges the business community to beat the city. Creating all-access bathrooms is one of the largest issues employers are considering when evaluating a trans-friendly workplace, according to employment lawyer P.K. Rankles-Pearson. To complete the challenge, businesses only need to change the sign on single-stall restrooms to indicate all-access rather than single gender.

Nineteen lawmakers speak out against wolf hunting proposal

A proposal from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife would allow ranchers and members of the public to hunt “problem wolves” now that the population has bounced back to acceptable levels. At the moment, any wolf kills must be conducted by ODFW. Nineteen Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the ODFW commission denouncing the proposal, the Statesman Journal reports. Lawmakers say the proposal is a slippery slope to open wolf hunting.

Port names Executive Director finalists 

The commission releases a list of replacements for Bill Wyatt’s position; the executive director will retire in June. Wyatt’s second-in-command Curtis Robinhold is a candidate for the job, as expected. The Port will accept public comment on the list for two weeks. 

Klamath opens entrepreneur center

The Inspire Development, Energize Acceleration (IDEA) Center officially opens its doors today, according to the Herald and News. The center offers business training workshops  and resources for small businesses. IDEA was funded largely by a grant from Business Oregon.