State Representative Gene Whisnant Newsletter
  February 18, 2013
 

Dear Friends,

 

The 77th Legislative Session is beginning to address the House leadership key issues and all members are working hard to find sponsors for their drafted bills. I have tried to find bi-partisan sponsors of the bills which I hope to pass this session. All legislators have full calendars with meetings listening to advocates and opponents of legislation being introduced.

 

We appreciate the comments which we received on our first "77th Legislative Update." Keep them coming!

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Gene Whisnant

State Representative

Committees

 

House Higher Education Committee: On Monday, we had an informational meeting on the Office of Degree Authorization and Career School Oversight. Plus, we held public hearings on related bills. On Wednesday, a public hearing was held on HB 2787, the "tuition equity" bill. On Friday, we had an informational hearing by Matt Donegan, President of the State Board of Education and Melody Rose, Oregon University System (OUS) Vice Chancellors and Jay Kenton discussing OUS. We also held a work session on HB 2787, the "tuition equity" bill. The committee passed the chair's dash 10 amendment. I voted against the amendment. The committee will vote on the amended bill next week.

 

House Education Committee: On Monday, the committee had a work session on three bills which all passed unanimously. We also had information presented to the committee about the 40-40-20 plan and Oregon graduation rates and the opportunity gap. On Wednesday, Rudy Crew, Chief Education Officer, gave a presentation to the committee about the Oregon Education Investment Board. On Friday, Rob Saxton, Deputy Superintendent, Oregon Department of Education, gave a very informative briefing by ODE on the State School Fund distribution formula. The following is a link to this presentation: Oregon Department of Education Strategic Plan Summary 2013-2015

 

House Human Services and Housing: On Monday, the committee had a public hearing and possible work session on four bills related to tax credit sunsets for manufactured dwelling parks. On Wednesday, there was a public hearing on the Youth Development Council (YDC). Testimony was presented by Hillary Saraceno, the Executive Director of the Deschutes County Children and Families Commission, and others from around the state expressing concerns about the startup of the YDC. On Friday, we had a public hearing and possible work session on three bills related to gambling addiction issues.

Floor Session

 

On Monday, we passed three bills and 17 bills on Wednesday without any "NO" votes.

Bills

 

On Tuesday, I testified in the House Veterans Committee supporting HB 2417 which I am co-sponsoring with Rep. Greg Matthews (D-50) who is chair of this committee. The bill increases the fee to file certain property documents from $15 per filing to $20. The increase will be used to assist our veterans stay in their home and to create shelters for our homeless veterans.

Items of Interest and Events

 

On Tuesday, I attended the ceremony in the Governor's ceremonial room kicking off Oregon's plan to build a WWII Memorial. The Governor's Senior Policy Advisor for Veterans' and Military Affairs Cameron Smith welcomed the attendees including some WWII veterans. Lou Jaffe, President of Oregon's WWII Memorial Foundation, presented the plans and a model of the memorial. Bend's Bob Maxwell, WWII combat veteran and Medal of Honor recipient discussed the work needed to build the memorial and challenged all to accomplish the task. Bill Markham, former State Legislator and WWII B-17 pilot also spoke about the memorial. This is an important project to remember and honor our WWII generation. Tax deduction donations can be made online at www.OregonWWIImemorial.com.

                                                                                                 

On Thursday morning, I attended with other legislators an information meeting with the Early Learning Council (ELC) members and staff for an update on the council's progress developing a seamless early learning system. I express my appreciation for their work and I wish them success. However, I am concerned about the transition from the Oregon Commission on Children and Families to the ELC and the anticipated gaps in service which will result in our communities and for the children and families they serve.

I remind you that our great State of Oregon celebrated its 154th birthday on February 14th. Oregon was admitted to the United States of America on February 14, 1859.

Senate Chamber
Pictured above Josie Whisnant, Representative Gene Whisnant and Legislative Assistant Vicki Olson

 

 Revenue

 

The March 2013 Quarterly Revenue Forecast was released on Friday. The forecast projects state revenues will increase in the current biennium by $162.3 million and decline in the 2013-15 biennium by $74 million. The net result is an additional $87.1 million available for the 2013-15 biennial budget.

 

Oregon's Chief Economist, Mark McMullen, says he expects the April tax revenues will be up because high-end households moved some of their income into the 2012 tax year to avoid higher Federal tax rates which were approved by Congress in January. 

  Tracking Bills and Committee Agendas
  

The State has a new comprehensive system to help keep track of bills and committee agendas. That system is called OLIS, Oregon Legislative Information System.


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In This Issue
Greetings
Committees
Floor Session
Bills
Items of Interest and Events
Revenue
Tracking Bills and Committee Agendas
Contact Information
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