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A petition to recall House Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, was approved Dec. 11.

The petition was filed by La Pine resident Kenneth Medenbach. According to a recall signature sheet, “Mike McLane, an Oregon State Bar attorney, also is serving as a state representative, exercising the functions of the Legislative department. This is a violation of Oregon Constitution Article 3, Section 1, Separation of Powers.”

Loosely translated, the petition alleges that a lawyer cannot sit in the legislature and create state laws, as it would be a conflict of interest.

At least 4,980 signatures must be gathered and submitted to the elections division by March 6 before a recall election can be held.

McLane announced his intent to run for re-election in House District 55 last month.

“The same candidate may not be appointed to fill the remainder of a term, but the recalled candidate may run for office when it’s up for re-election,” Tony Green, Secretary of State communication director, said in an email.

McLane won his first term in 2010 and became the House Republican leader in 2012 during his second term. The 2014-15 term could be McLane’s third representing District 55.

Wyden introduces E. Oregon logging bill

A bill to boost timber harvests and protect and restore old growth forests in Eastern Oregon was approved Thursday by Oregon’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Ron Wyden, R-Ore., sponsor of the bill, is the chair of the energy committee.

The legislation, named the Oregon Eastside Forest Restoration, Old Growth Protection and Jobs Act (S. 1301), was first introduced by Wyden in 2009. At the time, the bill was lauded as a collaboration between Oregon officials and conservation groups.

The conservation group, Oregon Wild, has blasted the most recent draft of the bill and announced in a news release that the organization “cannot support last-minute changes that have been made to the bill.”

“As amended, the legislation will cause unacceptable and irreparable damage to forests in eastern Oregon,” said Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild conservation director who was involved in developing the original bill.

Objections to the bill, according to the Oregon Wild news release, are listed as the loss of permanent protection for streams and old-growth trees. Instead, the legislation would now expire 15 years after enactment; an added provision promoting the logging of old-growth trees up to 200 years old, instead of focusing on restoration; and the loss of language that ensures roads are decommissioned as part of watershed restoration.

According to an energy committee news release, the bill creates a 15-year pilot program to increase timber harvests and improve old-growth forest and watersheds health. The bill also provides protection for trees older than 150 years, sets targets for the number of acres to be restored and requires a large-scale environmental impact assessment for projects with similar characteristics.