Representative Phil Barnhart's E-Newsletter )
News from the Capitol July 6th, 2005
in this issue
  • House Votes to Shut the Doors On Oregon Students
  • House Majority Scheduling Around Radio Program
  • House Passes Huge Tax Loophole Masked as Biofuels Bill
  • House Orders Online Publication of Sex Offender Information
  • This is the tenth e-newsletter that I will be sending out during the 2005 session of the Oregon State Legislature. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed about the progress that the Legislature is making, and about the work that I am doing to represent House District 11 and to support the values that we all hold dear: educating and nurturing our children, supporting our seniors and disabled, and protecting our communities.

    Phil Barnhart

    House Votes to Shut the Doors On Oregon Students
    Shut out student

    June 29 - This morning, the House majority killed the Quality Schools Plan, HB 3498, which would require the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to determine the necessary level of resources to provide an adequate education statewide, and would set that level as a minimum State K-12 budget. This afternoon, the House majority passed Speaker Minnis' "Unstable Schools Plan," HB 2450-B, which she has spun as a "plan" to stabilize education funding. In truth, HB 2450-B would simply cap K-12 funding without accounting for schools' actual costs.

    HB 2450-B is a quick fix that does not consider the needs of our students and serves only to allow Legislators to evade their biennial budgeting responsibility. As Beth Gerot, the Chair of the Eugene 4J School Board, said: "it will lock us (school districts) into inadequate stability - at least we would know that we would need to plan to continue cutting each year." I will not support any "plan" that would ensure an inadequate education for our children.

    House Majority Scheduling Around Radio Program

    Some GOP legislators are discovering that being in the majority has its perks. Representative Jeff Kropf, for example, has been substituting for Lars Larson on his daily radio show, and the House leadership has not scheduled sessions at their regular time in order to accommodate his schedule. Regular folks don't enjoy such perks, but apparently radio personalities deserve special treatment.

    House Passes Huge Tax Loophole Masked as Biofuels Bill

    June 28 - The House passed HB 3481-B, which includes the extension of a massive tax break to big businesses to follow environmental regulations, as well as some incentives to use biofuels. Under this tax break, Enron received $24 million to pay for its cleanup of the Trojan power plant even though that cost had already been covered by electricity bills.

    The Democrats proposed an alternative that excluded this break and included a stronger biofuels package designed to reduce Oregon's dependence on foreign oil by favoring fuels derived from agricultural products. It was rejected along party-lines.

    I believe that we should enthusiastically pursue biofuels. We should not pay Middle East dictators astronomical rates for oil when we could purchase cleaner fuel from American farmers.

    House Orders Online Publication of Sex Offender Information

    June 26 - The House passed HB 3486, which orders the State Police to publish online the name, address, and other information about predatory sex offenders released on parole. This bill passed the House unanimously because it will increase awareness about potential sexual predators. Every Oregon resident deserves to know when there is a threat in their community. I appreciated the emails and letters of several constituents in favor of this bill.

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    July 6, 2005