Nancy speaks to an enthusiastic group of students from Eugene's Gilham Elementary School.

April 2009


Dear Friends and Neighbors,


Earlier this week a wise person said in testimony at a Ways and Means committee meeting, referring to the difficulty of our work: “this is character building.”  We had a chuckle, but only briefly. As you know, the current state of the economy has left us with a projected budget shortfall over $3 billion for the next two years.  Budget committees are finishing work on small agencies, and starting to move into the big budgets. For example, I carried the Board of Accountancy Budget to the House floor on Tuesday; it passed and will now go to the Senate.  Here’s a link to the latest information about developing the budget for 2009-11, and here's a link to Oregon’s work on state and federal money for economic stimulus.


Meanwhile, we’re racing to beat the April 28 deadline to pass bills out of committees for consideration by the House.  Last month I mentioned that I have introduced bills in several areas, and described a few:  Earned Income Tax Credit (HB 2970), small business tax credit (HB 2777), veterans (HB 3104), and re-structuring state and county services (HB 2920).  In this letter I’ll describe a few more.


Thanks for reading my newsletter!   


Sincerely,  Nancy Nathanson




An electric car prototype being developed by Arcimoto- a Eugene company.

At The Capitol


Bill update

In the past two weeks, four of my bills received a public hearing.  You can click on the title or number of the bills below to see my testimony.  


Plugging in to the future

A typical combustion engine car built in 2009 emits 90 percent less tailpipe pollution than one built in the 1960s.  But the benefits to the atmosphere are offset because the average person drives three times as much.  I have introduced HB 3253 to the House Transportation Committee, a bill that establishes a tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles, similar to the successful credit for hybrid vehicles. By providing incentives for consumers to purchase electric vehicles, we’ll be supporting clean air, a healthier environment, and Oregon jobs – since there are Oregon companies already working on developing and building these cars and their components and related technology such as battery recycling.


Helping veterans

There are tens of thousands of unidentified veterans in Oregon.  Many of these would benefit from services that the state or federal governments provide.  Meanwhile, Oregon is losing millions of dollars in federal assistance, and the benefit of circulating that money in the Oregon economy.  HB 3104, which I introduced in the House Veterans Committee, provides that agencies ask at appropriate times whether a person is a veteran or would like information about veterans’ services.  Agencies would also include a link to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs on their websites, to provide one-click access to a website


Putting a stop to metal theft

I have worked with information provided by EWEB and other utilities and law enforcement agencies to propose legislation (HB 2423) to stop the easy sale of stolen metal.  Key elements of the bill (such as no cash payment) and others have been combined with a bill that was already underway in the Senate, to increase penalties and dry up the market for stolen metal.


Reducing the cost of health insurance

One of the top concerns for people all across Oregon is the cost of health care and health insurance.  I introduced HB 2755 to the House Health Care Committee to try to bring down the cost of health insurance by taking a look at how reinsurance is provided.  (Reinsurance is essentially insurance for insurers.)    

Nancy speaks to a bill to the house floor on April 16th.

Other bills

In addition to these, I am chief sponsor of several other bills that are making their way through the process, such as helping residents of manufactured home parks (HB 2383) which had its first hearing in February.  To see the current status of these and all other bills, visit this link: Bills/Laws.


State sues Oppenheimer over college savings fund

Acting on behalf of families whose college savings suffered big losses, the Attorney General filed suit for the State Treasurer against Oppenheimer Funds Inc. and two affiliates to seek the repayment of lost assets in the Oregon College Savings Plan.  Click here for more information.


Good morning

If you enjoy “reality TV” this won’t be as interesting, but here’s how I spent 45 minutes at the start of one day last week.

7:45 arrive, put away coat, bag, distribute papers marked up from evening reading.

7:50 elevator to lounge to get breakfast

7:51-8:00 eat breakfast with colleagues

8:00 talk with lobbyist in hallway about a bill in committee

8:03 arrive at office, meet with staff; get updates on bills, appointment requests, and visiting students

8:10 rewrite amendments for bill being heard next day

8:15 agency director drops by (no appointment) to brief me on latest development

8:20 instructions to staff for writing letters

8:25 telephone call with agency staff

8:30 to General Government subcommittee hearing room

Nancy tours the site of the future Delta Ponds pedestrian and bike bridge.


In the District


Monday, March 23 was reserved for representatives to spend time in the district instead of at the Capitol.  I met with agency staff at Department of Human Services McKenzie Center and the unemployment insurance call center.  Next was a briefing and tour of the site for the new pedestrian and bike bridge over Delta Highway, connecting the Valley River and Delta ponds area and the Cal Young neighborhood. I invited neighborhood leaders, planning, and bicycle representatives to join me for a briefing from Eugene, Lane County, and state Transportation staff.


Sources of help for people with challenges related to mortgage payments and other financial stresses

A couple of weeks ago, I met with representatives from several Eugene-area credit unions. (Credit unions operate on a not-for-profit basis for their members/customers).  They described the services they offer their members, especially during these tough economic times, to help with their finances, such as repayment solutions for past-due loans or extending loan terms to reduce monthly payments, reducing interest rates, or allowing interest-only payments for up to 9 months.  One CU has recently modified more than 200 loans totaling over 5 million dollars.


I was also pleased to receive a letter from the Oregon Bankers Association. In that letter they point out that “traditional banks are part of their communities, serving as a primary source of capital and as a safe depository for their customers’ hard-earned dollars.  Few Oregon banks ever made a ‘subprime’ mortgage loan and are subject to robust oversight by both state and federal regulators.”


Next Town Hall

I will be with a group of Lane County Legislators on Saturday May 16th for a town hall meeting to discuss the latest revenue forecast that should be released by then.  Watch for an announcement.

Nancy has an animated conversation last month at Lago Blu Gelato.



Do you wonder whether we read the mail?  Yes, we really do.  We sometimes receive well over a hundred separate communications in a day.  Some of those are “blast” messages that are identical, have been mailed to several or all legislators, and some even come from out of state.  We also receive letters, announcements, reports, brochures, magazines, and requests for appointments.    And last week, a tea bag.  And that survey a couple of months ago?  I’ve reviewed the results and read the individual comments.  They are many, and varied, and as you might imagine, not all in 100% agreement with each other!  It’s fascinating, and I do my best to keep a sense of what’s important to you, and to work for on your behalf. 


From my office window I can see rain starting to come down hard, hitting the tree buds and camellia blossoms on the campus at Willamette University across the street.  Spring in Oregon!


Click here to access my legislative website.

May 2011