Sen. Merkley tackles key issues; Stillbirth Prevention Act next to Biden’s desk


EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley nears the finish line on helping the country prevent stillbirths.

A signature from President Biden is the last hurdle for Merkley’s Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act.

Merkley says America is among the countries with the highest stillbirth rates, and his bill works to do the research to try to reduce those stillbirths including understanding why they happen and creating provisions to reduce them.

From public safety to housing, Merkley tells us he’s taking aim at pressing issues for Oregonians.

That includes the Supreme Court’s move to strike down a ban on bump stocks.

“This is an absolutely ludicrous decision because we have a federal law banning machine guns. What it’s for is shooting down a mass of people in a room. That’s why it’s banned by law, and the bump stock turns a regular rifle into a machine gun,” said Merkley. “For the justices to rule that the truth is not the truth because they have their conservative cultural objectives, and they want to be the super legislature is real damaging to their credibility.”

The theme of public safety is a key one for Merkley who announced a $16.5 million grant for Douglas County’s emergency communications system to upgrade.

That funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Currently, the county runs a decades old analog radio system which will be switched to digital improving communications between first responders.

And after several town hall meetings this month in areas like Coos, Crook, Klamath, and Lake counties, Merkley walked away with housing costs as one of residents’ top concerns.

“People should be outraged about the cost of housing, and a huge driver is what we refer to as hedge funds. Basically funds for millionaires and billionaires to put their money to take great opportunities to get enormous returns that the rest of us can only dream about. And these hedge funds are buying up the housing in markets all across the country including in Oregon. My bill on this would remove the hedge funds from the single family housing market,” said Sen. Merkley.

Merkley tells us drought and the availability of ground water, behavioral healthcare, and the price of prescription medications were also on the minds of town hall attendees.

He says his next town hall will bring him to Lane County, but no date has been set.