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Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle Rights’

Senate Bill 805 - Bureaucracy In Action

I’m talking about the Oregon legislature!

But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself and should provide background on Senate Bill 805.

In the U.S., 78.5 billion eggs were produced for eating in 2010. The breakdown is that 2.5 billion were exported, 6.3 billion went to food service use, 24.8 billion were processed into liquid, dried, and frozen products and 44.9 billion went to retail.  There are 187 companies who “lay” claim to about 95% of egg-laying hens in the U.S. Thirteen of these manage flocks of more than 5 million and sell specialty eggs under other names. Cal-Maine Foods, the country’s largest egg producer, owns the brands Eggland’s Best, Farmhouse, and 4-Grain.  Oregon (2.5M) doesn’t even make the top 10 producer list (as measured by number of egg laying hens) and the top 5 egg production states are Iowa (54M), Ohio (27M), Pennsylvania (23M), Indiana (23M) and California (19M).  In fact, at retail, more and more businesses and consumers are demanding organic eggs from hens that are either cage-free (hens able to run about inside huge chicken houses but not outdoors) or free-roaming (hens have access to the outdoors for at least 51% of their lives (~18 months, but there are no regulations on the quality or size of the open-air space)).

It turns out the tastiest, healthiest, most humanely produced eggs come from your local farmer’s free-roaming small flock.  Eggs contain varying amounts of 39 vitamins and minerals—many of which don’t even make it onto the nutrition facts label. Some eggs are healthier than others and it’s really all about what the hens are fed, which ranges from corn and soybean meal to a chicken’s more natural diet: a blend of grains and whatever the hen finds by foraging the pasture.  Again, egg nutrition value is determined by the feed, not breed.

Oregon’s Senate Bill 805 (SB 805) provides hens with a few more inches of space for laying eggs, but may well cost the farmers (which will be passed on to consumers) who will need to purchase/prep for the incremental space mandate.  It’s hard to imagine given the current budget issues facing the state how this matter rises to the level of debating a bill that is largely being determined by consumer purchases of the best tasting eggs.  But, I’d like to congratulate the Oregon legislature for displaying so much intellectual honesty, storming the farmland and solving an issue that isn’t even a problem. It’s another “teachable moment” for those who went to Salem for a life-long political career to do nothing.

I’d bet a Grande Coffee at Starbucks that the next bill after SB 805 will be mandating the quality and size of the open-air space.  Maybe they’ll even look to mandate ambient noise levels so the hens can breathe without excessive sound…hopefully no flocks are near a highway where a group of motorcycles may travel as OSP will be ask to single out motorcycles and set up an EPA-compliant exhaust check point!

The point of this post is not directly related to the Oregon egg industry, but about the unending government proposals, rules, and regulations that affect or creep into the motorcycle lifestyle.  Today there is more bureaucracy about eggs/hens and the amount of breathing space.  Tomorrow it’s about how and what we ride and drive. From taking away off road land areas, to the Federal Register re-defining what is a motorcycle, to performance modifications, and denial of insurance benefits — everywhere you look there is a current or proposed law that will negatively impact all of us. Every day as a result of the current economic collapse I get reports about home foreclosures and short sales, but Oregon lawmakers would rather waste tax payer money debating topics on chickens vs. being “compassionate” to the residents of the state.  Is a chicken’s well being more important?

All this ranting and talk of eggs in the morning made me hungry.  Who’s up for breakfast?!

Photo courtesy of the egg industry.  Fun fact: Did you know that 300,000 eggs go to Peg’s Glorified Ham N Eggs on South Sierra Street in Reno, NV., every year, where they are transformed into heaping breakfast platters piled with hash browns and homemade salsa.

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abate_toy_runI missed this over the weekend, but wanted to provide a shout out after the fact.  Details are available in a great article from Tom Hallman Jr., of The Oregonian on the Musician’s Toy Run Benefit Concert which was held this past Saturday. 

The event was put on by ABATE of Oregon.  It’s nice to see/read a positive news article about bikers.  Both Art West (Brothers Speed MC) and Mike Friend (ABATE Chaplain) provided inspiring quotes along with perspectives on the type of help ABATE has been behind over the years with the Shriners Hospital.

Note that on December 6th the Toy Run for the Portland Shriners Hospital will occur. The public is welcome. Riders will start gathering about 10 a.m. at the TriMet parking lot at 4012 S.E. 17th Ave. Raffle tickets ($10) for a chance to win a Harley-Davidson will be sold there. The drawing will be at noon, and then a ride to deliver toys to the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children will begin about 12:30 p.m.  More information and updates will be posted on the event calendar HERE.

The ABATE/Shriners Toy Run has been in existence since December 1980.  ABATE is a not-for-profit motorcycle organization devoted to raising member and public awareness about motorcycle issues and safety through education and community involvement.

It’s a great example of motorcycle riders doing a lot of good in/for the community!

Poster courtesy of ABATE web site.

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Like many “Average Joes” on the street, if you ask them to name a well-known motorcyclists I suspect most would connect-a-dot with actors who have played bikers in movies (Brando, Fonda, McQueen, Travolta), but if you ask them to name something relevant about the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) or what they have done for motorcyclists — I believe you’d get the perverbial deer-in-the-headlight look.

In the early days (circa: 1920’s) only members of AMA chartered motorcycle clubs were permitted to race, and professional racing with its world-class competition was a prime factor in the formation of motorcycle clubs. The AMA imposed strict rules on its members in the interests of racing safety as well as for public image, specifically to promote an image of a family-friendly and wholesome sport.  This was especially true after an organizational rift within the AMA apparently occurred in reaction to media coverage of the 1947 incident in Hollister, CA.  

So what is AMA today?  Basically they promote and protect the motorcycling lifestyle and freedom on two wheels. AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations and the court of public opinion. Through its member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions many motorsports competition events around the world.

It’s the AMA promotion of motorcyclist interest and the HIPPA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act that brings me to blog today.  There is a rule making it possible for health care benefits to be denied to those who are injured while participating in motorcycling.  That’s not right and I’m soliciting your help.  Write your Congressman.  I’ve supplied a form letter below or you can go HERE and leverage the easy to use form at AMA.

 

Subject:  Cosponsor S. 616, “The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act!”

Dear,  [Congressmen Name HERE] Oregon is: Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

I live, ride and work in your district and I am urging you to support motorcyclists by co-sponsoring S. 616, “The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act.”  

U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) recently introduced S. 616, “The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act.” Identical legislation passed the full Senate in the 108th Congress and obtained 177 bipartisan cosponsors in the House. 

S. 616 aims at ending health care discrimination for individuals participating in legal transportation and recreational activities-activities like motorcycling, snowmobiling, skiing, horseback riding, and all-terrain vehicle riding. 

This legislation addresses a loophole caused by a Department of Health and Human Services’ rule making it possible for health care benefits to be denied to those who are injured while participating in these activities. 

On August 21, 1996 an important opportunity arose when President Clinton signed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), prohibiting employers from denying health care coverage based on a worker’s pre-existing medical conditions or participation in legal activities, such as motorcycling. 

In 2001, the Department of Health and Human Services released the final rules that would govern the HIPAA law.  The rules recognize that employers cannot refuse health care coverage to an employee on the basis of their participation in a recognized legal activity.  However, the benefits can be denied for injuries sustained in connection with those activities!  Therefore, you were guaranteed the right to health care coverage but not guaranteed any benefits in return for your monthly payments.   

This legislation will fix the loophole for people like me in your district!  Please cosponsor and support S. 616.  Thank you very much.

Your [Name/Signature]

Whether you agree or not with the AMA charter to promote a motorcycle image of a family-friendly and wholesome sport…I think reasonable minded motorcyclists will all agree that your health provider should NOT be able to deny you medical coverage just because you are a biker.

Thanks for supporting!

Full disclosure: I don’t work for the AMA or am I a member.

Photo courtesy AMA advertisement.

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