Speaking with Students from Eugene
Summer is near and so is the end of the legislative session. Now is the time that several months or years worth of work leads to new laws, the correction of old ones or a continuation of the status quo. We will adjourn the day the last budget passes both chambers. There still remains much to do to reach budget agreements a majority of members are willing to vote to support.
My bills are doing well in the Senate. On Wednesday, five of my bills were heard in Senate committees in the afternoon alone. Also, just this week three other Democrats and I introduced new legislation to reform the kicker to work better for Oregon.
All policy committees close on June 1st. Any bill not out of those committees and on the way to the floor by then will have to wait until next year. Stay tuned.
Upcoming Town Halls
Let's Talk about the 2011 Legislative Session!
Join Senator Lee Beyer and Rep. Phil Barnhart
Saturday, June 4th
at 11 a.m.
Coburg City Hall, Council's Chambers
91069 N Willamette Street
Coburg, OR 97408
U of O selects Springfield for Sustainable Cities
The University chose Springfield for the third year of their Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI). The SCI seeks to promote education, service, public outreach and research on the design and development of sustainable cities. Find out more at
SCI website. Read
Bringing the Bottle Bill to the 21st Century
Since its passage in 1971, Oregon’s bottle bill has resulted in the return of over 3 billion containers. House Bill 3145 significantly expands the types of containers subject to the five cent deposit, sets a threshold for increasing the deposit to ten cents, and sets up a major redemption center pilot project.
We are working on it! I introduced HJR 47 and HJR 48 this week to reform the kicker with colleagues; Rep. Garrett, Rep. Read and Rep. Bailey and others. Read the story here.
This Memorial Day we thankfully remember the sacrifices of our Veterans and their families!
Today Democratic Representatives began the process of removing the BPA bill (SB 695) from committee so that it can be voted on by the House. The petition requires the signature of 31 members, I will be one of them.
Oregon is finally acting like Oregon in a recovery. Because our economy is more weighted toward manufacturing than the average state, recessions hit us harder, and when the recovery comes, we recover faster.
We have the seventh fastest job growth in the nation according to Oregon’s State Economist Tom Potowski and unemployment is lower now than at any time since the end of 2008. The rise in jobs is across all sectors of the economy except financial services and government. Government services also tend to lag behind recessions and boom cycles which is why we will continue to see cuts to schools and services seniors rely on, even though businesses are finally getting back on their feet. The construction and trade sectors have experienced particularly strong returns. House Bill 2001, dubbed the Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009, has done its part to assist the recovery. The measure successfully added jobs in construction and transportation, making Oregon a better place to live and do business.
In other good news, the Council on State Taxation (COST) released a report last month naming Oregon second only to Maine in business tax competitiveness! Our corporate income apportionment formula and our lack of most franchise taxes on business receipts and taxes on business purchases make Oregon an extremely attractive place to do business as recent business growth shows. We have heard doom and gloom from those who must pay the small increases in corporate taxes from Measure 67 or the newly enforced employment tax. Businesses that predicted moves or closure are instead expanding in Lane and Linn Counties and hiring more workers.
Does this mean we will have clear sailing from here? No. The hole we have to climb out of is very deep and we will need at least a couple more years to return to the employment level we had at the top of 2007. But it is wonderful to be moving in the right direction and to actually see the improvement.
If you are out of work, the recession grinds on for you. However, your odds of finding work in the near future are at last improving. Stay tuned.
Rep. Barnhart's Floor Speech on his
Transparency in Government Bill