Binders for just one set of hearings for Ways and Means Human Services Committee

July, 2008 

At The Capitol

The legislature is in recess and members are spending most of their time in their districts, immersed in policy work and preparing for the 2009 legislative session. On any given day visitors to the Capitol might observe public hearings on health insurance reform or water conservation, discussions around reducing carbon emissions or ensuring future workforce needs, and much more.  Renovation of Capitol offices will be finished in the late fall, and staff and legislators will move back into their offices prior to the next session.

My Committee Work

STATE BUDGET.  In June I participated in meetings of the legislature's Emergency Board - the committee authorized to release funds while the legislature is not in session. The E-Board continued the philosophy of fiscal restraint from the 2007 session, first protecting the Rainy Day fund and retaining additional reserves from money allocated in the 2008 session.  We released funds in several critical areas and approved department requests to take advantage of federal funds or grants, and yet we resisted the urge to spend every dime the legislature had made available.  A few of the most important actions authorized funds to handle the increased enrollment for pre-kindergarten classes, address imminent risks to Oregon's forests and agricultural crops (for example, sudden oak death disease), and provide support for coastal communities devastated by the fishing industry’s problems. For more information on actions taken by the E-Board, click here.


Presiding Lane County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ann Bearden, and I discuss the Lane County Courthouse

OTHER. In addition to the Emergency Board, I have continued working hard to improve the state’s public safety communication system, which is badly in need of repair, consider redesign of our education system, address the latest squeeze on human service funding and health care due to a reduction in federal Medicaid funding, and review the state/county court facilities.

In The District

I like to spread the word about state programs that can help people in the district save money and access critical services.  This time, I will highlight two programs that the legislature recently invested in and are paying huge dividends for Oregonians.

The Oregon Opportunity Grant provides financial aid to Oregonians seeking a college education.  The 2007 legislature doubled the funding for the program, and thanks to the new Shared Responsibility Model, more students than ever have access to the money.  For more information visit to or call my office.

The Oregon Prescription Drug Program is a state purchasing pool. The 2007 legislature opened the program to Oregonians without prescription drug coverage or who consider themselves underinsured.  Enrollment is quick and easy, and thousands are already taking advantage of the benefit.  Since July 1, 2007 the program’s enrollment has jumped from only 4,000 to well over 70,000 Oregonians.  For information about signing up, click here.

Finally, by initiating Oregon’s first-ever general reserve fund (the “Rainy Day” fund), we continue to get good news about positive benefits right now.  For example, as bond rating agencies upgrade Oregon’s “score,” reducing the interest rate on bonded debt, we save money on the cost of big projects (such as bridge and road repair).

Meetings and events.  Just a few examples from last week: Task Force on Veterans Services; discussion about metal theft and climate change; briefing on the Public Utilities Commission’s 2009 agenda; and a ride-along with a State Trooper.


Representative Terry Beyer and I discuss the Beltline flyover with Gov. Kulongoski

District News

The Oregon Cultural Trust sent three grants to Eugene in FY07:  Eugene Ballet Company received a grant for renovation of the Midtown Arts Center; Lane Community College Foundation received funds to relocate KLCC to a facility downtown; and Support Hult Operations (SHO) was awarded money to help with their youth performance series. The Trust’s income comes from personal contributions, license plate sales, and interest earnings. Awards are granted to “projects that will have a significant impact on the cultural life of the state throughout the year of the grant.”

In June I was notified that Oregon Housing and Community Services and the State Housing Council approved funding for additional affordable housing in District 13, including money to help St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County to construct affordable housing for veterans with special needs.

Town Hall

Watch your mailbox for a town hall alert in August.  I am organizing an event focused on health care, inviting guest speakers to help discuss the big picture as well as local services.


Exiting the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Trials


Personal Note

Steve and I enjoyed a full day at Art and the Vineyard, and were able to bring home our purchases on our bikes (including a new birdhouse).  We were particularly excited by the Eugene 08 Olympic Trials, which turned into a terrific community happening.  I had the honor of welcoming 20,000 fans on opening day at Hayward Field as one of several elected officials, and then of presenting medals to the women’s racewalk winners on closing day.  It was quite an honor to be on that field!  I’m glad I could help bring some state support to Eugene, to spruce up the Willamette River corridor and Alton Baker Park, and bolster event security. 

It’s a great time of year in Eugene.  I look forward to seeing you around town.



Nancy Nathanson

Nancy Nathanson

State Representative

District 13



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July 2008