Page from Kelly Middle School
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
next Town Hall meeting is
scheduled for Saturday March 31. For more information and location,
contact our office.
Pages from Kelly Middle School
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.
Page from Kelly Middle School
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.
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.
free to contact my office:
900 Court St. NE H-288
Salem, OR 97301
appreciate your understanding as my legislative staff answer your
calls and letters and sometimes meet with you while I’m