In Front of the new Eco-friendly Mercedes
Oregonians deal with two types of bills everyday. Oregon residents are struggling to pay their monthly bills and the legislature is working diligently to pass bills that will support Oregonians. The two kinds of bills have many similarities; they both cause stress, require a great deal of work and each one can affect the other. This last week we had the opportunity to pass a bill that will help Oregonians pay theirs. The Oregon House was able to set aside differences and make a collective, although not unianimous, decision to help those who need it by passing SB 637 and SB 638. We extended unemployment benefits to Oregonians looking for work in a world without enough jobs. Last month we added 9,800 jobs, the biggest month gain since 1996, and unemployment fell to 10.2%, the lowest in over two years. This is great news, but too many middle class Oregonians are still trying to get back on their feet. More to follow.
Rep. Barnhert's Town Halls
Let's Talk about your Questions and Ideas!
Join State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Rep. Paul Holvey and
Saturday, April 23rd at 9AM
Laurelwood Golf Course, Fireside Room
2700 Columbia Street, Eugene, Oregon 97403 (
Join Rep. Terri Beyer and Rep. Phil Barnhart
Saturday, May 14th at 12PM
Springfield Town Hall, Council Chambers
225 Fifth Street, Springfield, Oregon 97477
Come talk about your neighborhood!
Saturday, April 16th at 10 AM
University of Oregon, Knight Law Center, Room 175
1515 Agate Street, Eugene, 97403
Rep. Barnhart on the Radio
OPB Think Out Loud
On Capital Gains Tax
March 31, 2011
Co-Chairs Budget Released
March 29th, the co-Chairs from the Ways and Means Committee announced their 2011-2013 budget proposal. Read full report
*Budget not final.
Seeking Native American Applicants for Fellowship
Mark O. Hatfield Congressional Fellow serves as an intern with a monthly stipend for a member of Oregon's Congressional delegation in Washington D.C. Find out more
. Deadline April 29th.
Good News! The Oregon Health Authority released their predictions for the effects of radiation from the nuclear power plants in Japan.
Read full summary here.
Good Business Resources:
Lane Workforce Partnership
Lane Small Business Development Center
I have had lots of questions about how things are going this legislative session with the 30-30 split between Republicans and Democrats in the State House of Representatives. Some news reports suggest that committee co-chairs are barely speaking or are at each other’s throats and that things are about to break down. The reality is a lot less sensational and bodes much better for Oregon.
Last time, the legislature proposed a constitutional amendment for annual sessions, which was approved by the people. Among other things it limits the length of this and future sessions to fewer days than any regular session in many years. We will have to get all our business done by the end of June, including writing a budget with huge cuts in all areas of importance and redistricting our five seats in congress and all ninety seats in the legislature.
The stakes are high. How are we dealing with the 30-30 split? I think we are doing pretty well. We were successful at organizing the House using an unusual and innovative co-governance structure. We began on time and unanimously adopted the organizing rules on January 10th. That should have been big news; no blow ups, no delay of public business while factions wrangled. It was just calm and we began work. I have noticed that with this tie members are much more willing to listen carefully to each other and try harder to understand each other’s point of view. After all, nothing will pass that does not have bipartisan support.
The media usually reports only on areas of major disagreement. But most bills are agreed upon nearly unanimously. Controversies remain very real and none of us have given up our cherished ideas. But we are finding out that Democrats and Republicans can find more common ground than we thought to take on Oregon’s current major problems: lack of jobs for our citizens and a sluggish economy. Below is a list of some bills that have passed out of the House of Representatives with bi-partisan support.
• HB 2034 – Establishes apprenticeship program criteria
• HB 2070 – Streamlines Oregon’s business development and job creation
• HB 2084 – Protects homeowners with mortgages
• HB 2092 – Streamlines oversight of medical service providers
• HB 2093 – Establishes comprehensive services for injured workers
• SB 444 – Fixes homebrew law
• HB 3189 – Cuts in half the number of licenses bakeries need
• HB 2403 – Requires state agencies to help those returning from military service to adjust back to civilian life
• HB 2614 – Makes it easier for banks to manage the housing crisis and holds banks accountable
The major factor that any legislature is judged on is whether or not and when it adopts a budget for the following two years. This session has a long way to go. I hope and expect we will be voting on the budget bills by mid-June. They will be tough votes because of the serious shortfalls in available dollars. No one will like the budgets we adopt, and there have already been significant bumps along the way. There may be an early resolution of parts of the education budget. Any budget for health care in Oregon must include good movement toward cost containment with better quality.
Speaks for the Home Brew Bill
CLICK HERE TO WATCH HIS SPEECH