Speaking on the House Floor
The 2014 Short Session ended on March 7th. See my Legislative Report below for information on some very important bills that affect our community.
During this past week, I have already been busy. I spoke at Pizza and Politics at Chemeketa College on Tuesday. Most of Wednesday I participated in the Electronic Government Portals Advisory Board meeting. Thursday I was interviewed for Comcast Newsmakers and then toured the Creswell Food Pantry in the afternoon. (See pictures below). The Creswell Food Pantry is a remarkable organization that runs because caring people volunteer many hours to their community to make it possible. I really appreciated their invitation to tour their pantry.
Citizens serve their community in numerous ways. I appreciate that you have given me the opportunity to serve as your State Representative.
May 28th - 30th
September 15th - 17th
December 8th - 10th
Presession Bill Requests Deadline for 2015:
(This is a request to create a bill that could be submitted for the 2015 Legislative Session)
CRESWELL FOOD PANTRY
I have been called to Jury Duty for the end of March. Juries provide important checks on our public dispute resolution system by determining the facts of a legal dispute after hearing the evidence. Our judicial system can only be fair if citizens who are called respond and serve. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Need a Speaker?
I regularly hold coffees, town halls, and speak to other groups around the district. If you would like me to meet with your group about Legislative work, please let us know.
The 2014 “Short” Session has concluded, and though there is still much work to do in the future, some good bills were passed by the Legislature. Among them were two bills that support job creation and small business growth, two bills that aim to expand educational opportunities for Oregonians, and bills that support emergency services, food donations, and seniors’ housing.
Senate Bill 1563 raised the amount that small businesses can receive from the Oregon Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund from a limit of $70,000 to $100,000. In the past, this fund has provided more than $1.6 million in loans to small Oregon businesses that are hiring and expanding. Raising the loan limit amount gives more small businesses the opportunity to hire new people and gain a stronger foothold in Oregon’s economy.
House Bill 4005 increases the number of e-commerce zones the state can approve from 10 to 15, and encourages technology companies to locate in these areas by providing a short-term property tax waiver and a limited tax credit. Recent news, has suggested that this bill could help secure a buyer for the former Hynix plant and bring jobs back to the region.
Senate Bill 1524 directs the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to study whether it is realistic to allow Oregonians to attend community colleges for free. If this is feasible, students would be able to receive two free years of community college and earn an Associate’s degree, a certificate of learning, or earn credits that can transfer towards a four-year degree. Currently, students pay very high tuition and many are dangerously in debt by the time they graduate.
The “40-40-20” goal is for 40 percent of Oregonians to attain a four-year degree, 40 percent to earn an Associate’s degree or other post-secondary certificate, and all Oregonians to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. House Bill 4058 supports “the middle 40” by incorporating apprenticeships into Oregon’s educational goals.
Oregon currently has about 60 centers that take thousands of 911 calls every day, and dispatch emergency crews to Oregonians in need. House Bill 4055 ensures that all phones that are locatable when they call 911 help finance the service by including prepaid cellphones and voice over internet protocol services in the funding stream for emergency responders.
Oregon’s crop donation program, which gives low-income Oregonians access to nutritious produce through Oregon's food banks and pantries, ended in January of 2012. House Bill 1541 reinstates the tax credit for crop donations and increases it from 10% to 15%, extending and enhancing this program into the near future.
House Bill 4148 makes a small, but necessary adjustment to the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program. In 2011, the Legislature converted the interest paid upon the sale of a house from simple interest to compound interest. HB 4148 reverses this decision. Changing the interest rate from compound to simple will grant some relief to seniors.
House Bill 4143 aimed to improve the workings of justice for low-income Oregonians by directing unclaimed damages from class action suits to Legal Aid and domestic violence programs. Unfortunately, this bill was killed in the Senate with a vote almost entirely on party lines. I am disappointed in this, and in the final status of several good bills that did not pass this session, but I will continue working on good policy for Oregon during the interim and fighting for the passage of good bills next session.