Honorary Page from Kelly Middle School

At the Capitol


We’re only two months into the 2007 legislative session, and the House has already acted upon nearly 200 bills out of the several thousand that have been introduced – and committees are working hard studying many others.


Consumer protection.  The House passed bills that reined in predatory lending by limiting the interest rate that can be charged on payday loans, check cashing, and car title loans; strengthening licensing requirements for payday lenders and check cashers; and closing loopholes for out-of-state and internet lenders.


Fire-Safe Cigarettes. Home fires caused by cigarettes have caused well over a hundred serious injuries and fatalities in the last few years. The House passed legislation allowing only “fire-safe” cigarettes to be sold in Oregon.  This proposal had been discussed but not acted on in several previous sessions.  Similar legislation is being considered or has passed in over half of the states.


Jobs and energy independence.  The House passed and sent to the Senate a set of bills related to biofuels.  This package will boost the growing biofuels industry in Oregon, create jobs, and reduce our dependence on imported fuel.


 Responsible budgeting. Just a few days ago, the House approved a bill to establish a Rainy Day Fund ending the period of nearly 150 years that Oregon has operated without a real reserve fund to help protect critical services during rough economic times. The bill also provides a $25 million tax break to small Oregon businesses this year alone.  I’m hopeful that the Senate will take action now to make this a reality. 

In our last newsletter, I listed some of the bills I have introduced this session covering public safety; alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment; opening insurance rate review to public scrutiny; and cleaning up and enhancing the Willamette River corridor. I am a chief sponsor on a bill that would provide an investment tax credit targeted at small business. I’m also co-sponsoring several bills on topics ranging from veterans’ health benefits and air quality to research centers for renewable energy.

In the District


 It was great to see so many familiar faces at our Feb. 17 Town Hall meeting. For those of you who couldn’t attend, Rep. Chris Edwards, Sen. Vicki Walker and I listed a number of key issues to work on this session, such as the “Healthy Kids” plan, which would ensure access to adequate healthcare for all of Oregon’s uninsured children; expanding the prescription drug pool to cover more individuals and small businesses; additional funding for the State Police to get more state troopers on the road; and enabling people to freeze their own credit files in cases of identity theft.

In addition to the speeches from us “talking heads”, we responded to several questions on topics including anti-discrimination, Measure 37, animal welfare, and the potential loss of manufactured home parks.


 The next Town Hall meeting is scheduled for Saturday March 31. For more information and location, contact our office. 

Honorary Pages from Kelly Middle School

Personal note


Several people have asked me what it is like to be a legislator, or how I spend my time in Salem.  On a typical day I arrive at the Capitol about 8 AM – earlier if there’s a breakfast meeting or briefing.  I’ll take a few calls, look at a few items in the (paper) IN box, discuss a few things with staff, then start on a series of 10- or 15-minute meetings.  By 10 AM I’m working on Ways and Means budget issues, then off to the House Chamber for a “floor session” beginning at 10:30 or 11.  Staff will meet me there with a stack of “bill files” and other notes. Depending on when the House adjourns, I’ll have about 20 minutes for lunch in the building, stop back by the office to pick up papers and notebooks, and head to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services at 1 PM.  Last week we heard from the Commission for the Blind and started working on the Public Health Division.  We’re done at 2:30.  I return to my office to trade notebooks, check in with staff, have one or two quick meetings with lobbyists or constituent advocates, grab a “Junior Mint” candy then head to the 3 PM Ways & Means Subcommittee on Public Safety.  Last week we completed hearings on the Department of Corrections, and we’ll hear next from the Oregon Youth Authority.  Between 4:30 and 5 PM I’ll take another few calls or meetings.  Sometimes there’s a briefing or reception after 5 PM where I’ll meet people from organizations such as Dental Hygienists, the Bar Association, or the Oregon Innovation Council.   Whatever came into the IN box after 8:30 AM I’ll take home to read at night.  That’s it!

Honorary Page from Kelly Middle School

So who are these people I’m meeting with? Here’s a sample from the last couple of weeks:  representatives from Oregon Rehabilitation Association, college students, realtors, county commissioners, students and nurses advocating school-based health centers, Lane Transit District, watershed council, and judges.  I went with fellow committee members for a tour of the State Penitentiary, and on another afternoon to the state’s police and fire training facility.


We’ve had two college interns helping in our office this term.   Shannon Judge is a student at Lane Community College and Whitney Davis is a senior at Oregon State University. We’ve also hosted several young men visiting from Kelly Middle School who participated in the Honorary Page Program.




Feel free to contact my office:

                                           900 Court St. NE H-288

                                                Salem, OR 97301




I appreciate your understanding as my legislative staff answer your calls and letters and sometimes meet with you while I’m in committee.

March 2007