By Sarah Zimmerman

The Associated Press

More from Salem

Daylight saving

Gov. Kate Brown endorsed a growing movement to make daylight saving time permanent. When asked if she was in favor of a proposal to abolish the yearly time shift, the Democrat told reporters Thursday: “Hell yes!” Washington and California are also considering shifting to a permanent daylight saving time. Florida became the first state to approve such a change, though any state law extending daylight saving time would have to be approved by Congress. “I think everyone’s done with the time change,” Brown said. She noted that this was one of the few issues where she agrees with President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier this week that daylight saving time year-round would be “O.K. with me!”

Courtney returns

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney returned briefly from medical leave Thursday morning to preside over a Senate vote on a resolution declaring the Legislature’s support for survivors of sexual violence. He had not been expected back at the Capitol until next week. Courtney is in the middle of a 10-day medical leave announced March 5, related to a recurrence of thyroid eye disease. At the same time, Courtney has faced increasingly scrutiny for his handling of sexual harassment complaints and an allegation by his former office manager that he forced her to resign because he disapproved of her dating a House lawmaker.

Secretary of state

Gov. Kate Brown told reporters Thursday that when she was elevated from secretary of state to governor in 2015 with the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber over an ethics scandal, she named a secretary of state to replace her who would not run for re-election the following year. She expects the same thing of the next secretary of state she will appoint. “I didn’t want someone who was both running for the office and overseeing a presidential election, because it would have been the first time they would have overseen an election,” Brown said. She is also looking for a candidate with management skills to fill the remaining term of Dennis Richardson, a Republican who was elected to a four-year term in 2016 and died from brain cancer in February. Oregon statute calls for Brown to name a Republican. Brown said she expects to name a new secretary of state within the next couple of weeks. She said she appreciated the input from the Republican Party, which recommended five people, including former GOP state lawmaker Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver.

— Bulletin wire reports

SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday she would welcome an independent investigation of a baby’s death at an Oregon day care facility, responding to allegations from Republicans that the governor covered up the incident to save political face during her re-election campaign.

Republicans say Brown purposefully hid the fact that an infant died at a Lane County site that was previously cited for violating safety rules.

The death, which occurred in August, was only made public last week after an investigation by The Oregonian newspaper.

The state’s Early Learning Division is responsible for reporting deaths at licensed child care centers in a timely manner under federal requirements.

Brown confirmed she was informed about the death when it occurred. Her office wrote in an email that the Early Learning Division did not post the death because it was subject to an ongoing investigation, which is the agency’s current practice.

Brown, who oversees the Early Learning Division, acknowledged flaws within the office, specifically with its Child Care Safety Portal, which is used to share complaints against licensed child care facilities.

Brown added that her office is working to make sure that agencies are doing a better job and ensure that regulations are stronger.

House Republican Leader Rep. Carl Wilson called for the Oregon Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to open a formal investigation into the death of the child.

“Thousands of young parents entrust the care of their children to day care providers, expecting their infants, toddlers and preschoolers to be in good hands at state-regulated centers,” said Wilson, a Grants Pass Republican. “Withholding this kind of information is completely unacceptable.”

Brown said she would be fine with an investigation and denied the incident was part of a political cover-up. She added that her office is responding to a trove of public records requests surrounding the death.

“Our office did not direct the Early Learning Division to hide this child’s death for political purposes,” Brown told reporters. “No child should die in our foster care system, and no child should die in our child care system.”

Oregon’s child care system became a flashpoint in the campaign when the right-leaning group Priority Oregon ran political ads slamming the governor for failing to respond to news reports of children being injured or sickened in day care.

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