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March 12, 2013

Dear Friends,

The 2013 legislative "game" has now really begun. We have the Joint Ways and Means Co-chairs budget, the Governor's budget, and the House and Senate Republican budget. However, as in the 2009 session with a super Democrat majority in the House and Senate; the teams will be the Governor, House Democrats, and Senate Democrats. The Republican budget is based upon the Oregon School Board Association (OSBA) proposal which has the most PERS reform savings. The Republican budget is the minority's input for discussion and debate. We have provided you more budget information and numbers below with a link to the Co-chairs budget. As the budget process continues; we'll provide "game" reports as we move toward an end. Remember last year, Democrats and Republicans agreed early on a revenue number (how much money the state will have to address needs), the K-12 funding, and a significant ending balance. This session, the PERS reform savings amount will determine all the budget numbers. The K-12, public savings, senior, and other special needs funding will depend upon the PERS reform savings and the amount of "new resources" in the Co-chairs Budget. They mean new taxes and an elimination of deductions. As a former Ways and Means Committee member; the important decisions, trades, winners and losers will be decided by the leadership.    




Gene Whisnant




House Higher Education Committee: On Monday, we had an informational meeting on "Oregon Workforce Investment Board" strategies and plans. We passed three bills related to "Career and Technical Education Revitalization Grant Programs" - HB 2110, HB 2912, HB 2913. On Wednesday, we worked bills related to "career schools." We also received an informational briefing on the Northwest Youth Corps "OutDoor Oregon" program and HB 2689. ( On Friday, we worked HB 2912 and HB2913 and held another informational meeting on "University Governance ." Ben Cannon from the Governor's office and Duncan Wyse, Oregon Business Council President, spoke on the issue.


House Education Committee: On Monday;                Dr. Donna Beegle - poverty expert, motivation speaker, and author - spoke about generational poverty and the relationship of poverty to education. For more information, check her website at Then, we heard HB 2867 and HB 2665 related to impact of poverty to learning. On Wednesday, we had public hearings on HB 2711, HB 2722, HB 2723, HB 2337 and HB 2916 related to school buildings including security issues. Friday was devoted to bills related to students with disabilities.         


House Human Services & Housing Committee: On Monday, we had an informational meeting on the Early Learning Council with members of the council discussing their transition planning. On Wednesday, we had public testimony on HB 2639 related to Section 8 voucher program. A bill sponsored by Speaker Kotek. We held a public hearing on HB 2417 increasing a fee to provide housing for veterans. Rep. Greg Matthews, Rep. Julie Parrish, and I are the chief sponsors. The bill passed the House Veterans' Committee and after this committee will go to Ways & Means Committee.



2013-2015 Co-Chairs Budget: On March 4, 2013; Joint Ways & Means Co-chairs Senator Richard Devlin and Rep. Peter Buckley presented their "turning point" 2013-2015 budget. They cautioned that "our targets for PERS savings and reductions in tax expenditures have uncertain paths in the legislature." The $16.5 billion budget expenditures include a K-12 budget of $6.75 billion ($6.55 billion from the General Fund/Lottery Fund Revenues plus $200 million from PERS savings and adjustments). The Co-chairs state, "We recommend that the K-12 budget again be the first major budget passed by the Legislature, combined with votes on PERS reforms and targeted tax expenditure proposals." Based upon my experience, since all three of these budget actions are related; I do not see them being addressed very early in the session because they require an indepth legislative debate. Their budget starts with a $1.7 billion increase which is a 10 % increase over the last budget. It also assumes an additional $275 million of new resources (revenue from new taxes or elimination of tax credits/deductions.


Cost of Higher Education: In the House Higher Education Committee, the chair has reported that our goal is to work on policy to address access, affordability, and success. I support these goals and remain committed to working the following policy issues to achieve these goals:

Improved transfer of credits between Oregon Community Colleges and higher education institutions; more college credits for work experience, military courses and experiences; more part-time professors (students need real life instructors as well as full time academic instructors); State funding based upon graduation rates not admission numbers (performance based funding); More on-line courses (www.MOOCS). Related to these goals, I was a sponsor of HB 3521 in the 2011 session which enacted the "Student Transfer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities."  

Floor Session


We are now having floor sessions scheduled for every day to complete action on House Bills, as the last day of work sessions on the House side is April 18th.


On Thursday, I changed my support of HB 2896 based upon floor debate. This does not happen often but is a reflection of good floor debate. HB 2896 addresses persons under 18 years of age using tanning facility. I support the bill concept to protect youth from the dangers of using tanning devices. However, I learned on the floor that the owners of local companies had not been given the opportunity to submit amendments to help the negative financial impact on the small business owners. The bill passed 38-18; but hopefully, the bill will receive amendments in the Senate and I can support the amended bill.

In This Issue
Budget Info
Floor Session
Contact Info
Meet our Intern
Public Service Announcement
Red Shirt 
Contact Information


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Office phone number: 503-986-1453

Vicki Olson, Legislative Assistant



Mailing address: 900 Court Street NE H-471, Salem, Oregon 97301


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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.

Meet Our Intern


Evan and Rep 



Evan Gordon is currently a sophomore at Willamette University, with a double major in Politics and Spanish. He is also an Eagle Scout and a pledge in the Sigma Chi fraternity, and plans to study abroad in Argentina next spring. Evan will be interning for Representative Gene Whisnant throughout this session and looks forward to helping us serve you.


  school house rock

Studded Tire Bills: Three bills - HB 2277, HB 2278, and HB 2397 - received a public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation & Economic Development on March 6. They were not worked and all have a subsequent referral to Ways and Means. We'll keep a watch on them.



Matt and Awbrey Cyrus
Rep Whisnant, Awbrey Cyrus and Matt Cyrus

Other visitors- 

Former State Rep and former County Commission Dennis Luke.


Linda Bradetich, OSEA



Public Sevice Announcement


FREE Personal Document Shredding Event, Food Drive, and Prescription Drug Disposal


Saturday March 16, 2013

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


At the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office

63333 W. Highway 20, Bend, OR  97701