Children's Champion Award
Last week, the Oregon Alliance of Children's Programs presented me with the Children's Champion Award. The award recognizes individuals dedicated to positively impacting children and children's programs while displaying great efforts to support runaway or homeless youth and education. I am honored to receive this award and will continue advocating for our youth.
Pictured with Director Ann Craig of Jackson Street Youth Shelter, and Director Janet Arenz of Oregon Alliance of Children's Programs
In both 2011 and 2013, I introduced legislation establishing the roadside highway memorial program to honor fallen military heroes and law enforcement officers.
Memorial signs are installed by the Oregon Department of Transportation for fallen military or law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and who have been recognized by the Oregon Legislature though a concurrent resolution.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed seven different concurrent resolutions, four of which I carried on the House Floor:
- HCR 201 - Recognizing Army Private First Class Anthony T. Justesen, Portland, OR
- HCR 202 - Recognizing Sergeant Travis A. Moothart, Brownsville, OR
- HCR 203 - Recognizing Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson, Independence, OR
- HCR 204 - Recognizing Deputy Robert L. Talburt, Hillsboro, OR
- HCR 205 - Recognizing Specialist Cody James Patterson, Philomath, OR
- HCR 206 - Recognizing Deputy William Bowman, Beaverton, OR
- HCR 207 - Recognizing Sergeant Donald R. Walters, Salem, OR
It's not nearly enough, but this is a small way to honor these young men and say thank you. They may be gone, but they are not forgotten.
Pictured with the family of Specialist Cody James Patterson
This is my 12th year representing the greater Albany area in the legislature. During my time in the Capitol, I've learned the importance of finding common ground to ensure the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, I've read several bills throughout this 35 day legislative session which lack any sense of common ground...
One bill I have great concern over is SB 1532, which increases the minimum wage. I'm deeply disappointed with the path this bill has taken. Last Thursday, the Senate Chamber passed SB 1532 on party line vote after five plus hours of discussion on the Senate Floor. The bill was immediately scheduled for a public hearing and work session in the House Committee on Business and Labor for Monday, February 15th. I appreciate the Chair's willingness to schedule two separate committee meetings and allowing for public testimony. However, it's evident the committee had already made up their minds to support the bill no matter what testimony was provided. Testifiers were often cut short, and the bill passed out of committee on a partisan vote the same day of the public hearing.
A handful of business owners and residents in Albany drove to Salem to testify against a higher minimum wage. Karla Chambers, owner of Stahlbush Island Farms and former member of the Federal Reserve Board out of San Francisco, shared an economy lesson with the committee, explaining when prices rise, demand falls. The Economist states this is the worst time to raise the cost of workers, especially as technology continues to advance. Lower-skilled workers are vulnerable to replacement. A higher minimum wage will encourage investment in the technology to replace the local receptionist, teller, and checker.
As an example, Mike Nesbitt, President of The Papa's Group Inc., sent this illustration.
Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist testified that a minimum wage increase is unconstitutional as the state is prohibited from imposing mandates without providing funds to implement them. Click here to read Linn County's letter to Speaker Tina Kotek regarding SB 1532.
Additionally, I'm concerned for Oregonians who receive public assistance. An increase in their wages may cause them to lose much needed benefits. I can't help but notice this legislation will hurt people it's trying to help!
Until next week,