Representative Nathanson enjoys a League of Women Voters luncheon with Kappy Eaton, Lane County's Governance Coordinator, and Secretary of State Kate Brown.
In this Newsletter
- Capitol News
- February Legislative Session
- Increasing access to affordable health care
- New laws effective Jan 1st
- District News
- Holidays with local business
- Recent Meetings
- Scam Alert: Tax Preparer Scam
- Upcoming Events
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It’s amazing how fast time goes by. We are already at the end of the first month of 2010.
January brought another round of legislative committee days and the second meeting of the government efficiency task force that I chair. In addition to my committee responsibilities I have been working on my own bill to introduce for the February legislative session. This month I also joined my fellow Lane County Legislators in a joint town hall on January 9th and celebrated Eugene’s business community at this year’s Chamber of Commerce Celebration of Business.<
January 27th marked a historic day for Oregon. Oregonians voted to protect our middle class families, most vulnerable citizens, and our schoolchildren with funding for education, human services and public safety. While many other states across the country are making drastic cuts to schools and those most vulnerable, Oregon is choosing to hold the line. This is a fiscally responsible, balanced approach to meeting the state budget crisis that includes 3 parts: cutting $2 billion dollars from the budget, using about $1 billion in one-time federal government recovery and reinvestment money, and raising about $733 million in new revenue. The budget w
ill be balanced, and we have protected state matching funds that will bring several hundred million dollars in Federal money to circulate in the Oregon economy. I believe it's important to keep Oregon's educational, human service, and public safety programs in tact so that Oregon is well position for recovery as the national economy begins a slow rebound.
With the February Legislative Session just days away, I will be heading up to Salem to work from my Capitol office for the next month. Don’t forget that you are always welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts.
It's official! Rep. Nathanson drops her bill at the Chief Clerk's office.
February Legislative Session
February 1st will mark the beginning of a short, month-long supplemental session. The Oregon legislature is one of just five states where lawmakers are scheduled to convene only every other year, in a “biennial” session. Since 1885, Oregon’s constitution has limited regular sessions to odd-numbered years. Over the decades, Oregon governors have called 36 special sessions to address urgent state business during periods when the legislature was not in regular ses
sion. In 2008, legislators invoked a procedure which allows them to call a supplemental session without the direction of the governor. We are doing that again this year, demonstrating the benefit of a focused, short “annual” session to make important budget adjustments, address urgent problems and fine-tune previously passed laws.
The 2010 session will deal with at least 200 bills, and more are pending. Each senator will be allowed to introduce two bills and each representative will be allowed to introduce one bill, plus bills sponsored by committees. During the session, the legislature will continue to prioritize job creation and assistance for Oregonians in need, make technical fixes to several laws, and address new issues that have arisen since the last session adjourned. For more information on bills introduced and committee schedules visit the legislature’s website.
Increasing access to affordable health care
In preparation for the quick pace of the short session several bills received hearings in committee during the legislative days held the second week of January. I had the opportunity to introduce my bill to the House Health Care Committee. I worked with the Board of Medical Examiners, Association of Physician Assistants, and ZoomCare, a medical clinic in Portland, to develop a bill aimed at increasing access to affordable health care through the use of supervised physician assis
There is a critical shortage of primary care physicians and Oregon law currently restricts the effective use of physician assistants to fill this service gap. My bill will allow the option for supervision of physician assistants by a “supervisory physician organization” in addition to “supervisory physician.” This will provide more flexibility as the health care sector develops innovative, high-quality care and wellness options in clinics, for example. Yo
u can read my testimony I gave to the health care committee here.
Mike McArthur of the Association of Oregon Counties joins Rep. Nathanson and her task force to discuss government efficiency.
New Laws Effective January 1st
The 2009 Oregon Legislative Assembly passed 480 laws that officially took effect on January 1, 2010. The following is a brief list of several of those new laws that may benefit you and your community:
Mortgages: HB 2188: Regulates mortgage transactions. Prohibits negative amortization loans without evaluating and verifying borrower’s ability to repay. HB 2189: Connects Oregon to NMSLR (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry)
Child care: HB 2206: Prohibits persons with license infractions from operating child care facilities
Privacy Protection: HB 2371: Prohibits unlawful collection, storage and dissemination of personal ID information.
Debt collection: SB 328: Bans unlawful debt collection
Nurse educators: SB701: Creates nurse faculty and loan repayment program
Metal Theft: SB 570: Prevents metal theft. Bans sale of certain metal and prohibits cash transactions. Requires scrap metal businesses to create and maintain records. Establishes elevated crimes.
Rep. Nathanson listens to concerns at a town hall meeting.
Celebrating the Holidays at local business
This past December I had the opportunity to attend a company Christmas party for a local business. It was fun and heartwarming with prizes, home cooked food, slideshow, and reindeer antler-topped employees entertaining everyone. Wishing everyone Feliz Navidad and Happy Hanukah, the company’s leadership acknowledged the hard work of the employees who are struggling as everyone in the company works mightily to respond to the uneven orders and business climate. This local company and their employee family reminds me of the talent, hard work, perseverance, and goodness that is so much appreciated.
Here’s a sampling of some more of my activities in the past few weeks: Work Group on Performance Excellence (to improve government efficiency); Environment Oregon news conference; and meetings with representatives of State Police, Dept. of Corrections; Attorney General’s office, Oregon Youth Authority, criminal defense attorneys, Justice System Revenues; and State Treasurer.
Scam Alert: Tax Preparer Scams
Tax season is upon us and while paying taxes can be painful, falling victim to a fraudulent tax preparer is worse. Attorney General Kroger released a scam alert warning tax payers to watch out for scammers who may try to steal their refunds and leave them with significant tax liabilities. Oregon is the only state that regulates tax professionals through competency and ethics standards. Attorney General Kroger and the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners offer the following tips when choosing an income-tax preparer:
Check to ensure the preparer is licensed here.
- Never give out personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account or mortgage receipt to a tax preparer unless you have determined they are licensed.
- Be wary of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger than normal refunds than others.
- Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a tax preparer scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners at 503-378-47034.
Be on the lookout in next month’s newsletter for more “coffee with constituents” dates this spring.