District 6 
April 2, 2015
In This Issue
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Bills of Interest

 

 

 Early discussion on the House Floor - 2015 

 

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Dear Friends:

 

 

Monday in testimony for $15 an hour minimum wage one testifier said "we need industrial jobs instead of just service positions"!

 

Let me see - I am old enough to remember when we had mills on practically every corner of our communities across this state. The huge "environmental" push 20-30 years ago destroyed those jobs and pushed all of this state towards service positions. "Tourism" is the key - we can all work at tourism and everything will be fine.

 

When the environmentalists stopped most of the cutting of timber in the State of Oregon - and the Pacific Northwest -that process began a series of events which brings us to the situation we have today.

 

Yes we have a huge number of service oriented jobs which simply do not pay wages that equal the pay scale of industrial jobs. That is a fact - but raising the minimum wage for service positions because we do not have industrial paying jobs is not the answer.

 

In 1970 I worked in a mill pulling veneer green chain working my way through college. I received $3.74 per hour. With inflation that $3.74 equates to $22.49 in today's dollars.

 

I like to relate this to baseball - one of my passions. The team has a 400 hitter and a 200 hitter. The team benches the 400 hitter and plays the 200 hitter - suppose they are going to win any games - probably not. That is just what happened with Oregon - and rural Oregon in particular when the higher paying timber and manufacturing jobs disappeared and were all replaced with service/retail positions.

 

It is time for Oregon to have a real conversation as to what is happening in this state. Oregonians have been pushed into service oriented jobs - which by nature are lower paying jobs. It is probably past time to have the discussion about industry in the State of Oregon, opening our forests - which are a renewable resource - to updated methods of harvesting and replanting

 

Oregon needs to address the land use laws - which are some of the worst across the United States. Let's look at changing what have become very complex land use laws so industry feels welcome to come to this state and allow companies to be able to re-establish within a reasonable amount of time - 5-10 years is not reasonable.

 

We need to re-evaluate the particulate levels allowed in areas like Jackson County so something more than a McDonald's or Burger King can be built.

 

Just to clarify I am not suggesting that we do away with land use, environmental regulations or particulate levels - but should we re-examine - YES.

 

One other issue I would like to comment on. If raising the minimum wage makes such a huge difference in the economy then why isn't Oregon at the top of the list? We have one of the highest minimum wages in the nation - $9.25 as of this last January. So why do we still have the large numbers of people on public assistance? Why do the testimonies all address poverty in Oregon? What has happened to competition for jobs in Oregon? What is happening in the segment that hires and utilizes minimum wage workers?   If raising the minimum wage is the answer then why are we having this conversation - Oregon already pays one of the top minimum wages in the nation.

 

There is also the conversation regarding the fact that minimum wage positions were and are designed for entry level positions. Entry level positions are just that and are not meant to be long term positions - an individual enters into the workplace in an "entry level" position and is supposed to work their way up - or even out! If you are worth more than minimum wage and can show that to an employer you will get paid more or you can choose to change jobs. This is America - at least it was when I began this article.

 

 

 

Here is a link to a recent article regarding Civics in our schools. Governing

 

    Just observing - do you watch the Floor Sessions? 

 

Committees


Agriculture and Natural Resources

In committee we are hearing a huge assortment of bills on predator management, containing certain crops such as Canola and Arundo donax L, Hemp among other issues.
  
 
 Veterans 

 
HB2897   Directs Department of Veterans' Affairs to develop program under which department, pursuant to contracts with credit unions, provides loan guarantees or credit guarantees for qualified veterans for purpose of refinancing existing purchase-money mortgages or similar mortgages of homes used primarily as principal residence by veterans.

HB3354   Establishes Task Force on Innovative Housing Strategies for Veterans

Business and Labor

This is by far the most controversial committee I serve on.  The suggested legislation is just so anti business.  Minimum wage hikes, paid sick leave, flex time, cease and desist - Those of us who serve on this committee and are pro business are doing our best to protect your interests - but it is difficult.  We are simply outnumbered! 
If you are a business owner or an employee of a business in the State of Oregon difficult times are headed your way if the intended agenda becomes legislation.  Check this out for Monday, April 20, 2015


SB941  Requires private person to complete transfer of firearm by appearing with transferee before gun dealer to request criminal background check or shipping or delivering firearm to gun dealer in certain circumstances. 
 
I am a NO vote on this bill.  Your phone calls are appreciated and I ask that you call the individuals of the majority party who serve on the Rules Committee.
 
That Committee, from what I understand, will address this bill on the House side probably within this next week.  Call today. 



 

 

  

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to be interested and concerned about Oregon. 
 
  
Sincerely,
  

Sal Esquivel
Committee to Elect Sal Esquivel