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 March 26,  2013


Dear Friends,

"Political March Madness" has begun in your Capitol. Bills are passing and moving across the center line to the Senate chamber. So far, all the shots (bills) have hit (passed); no misses. There were two three pointers for the leadership (tuition equity and Columbia River Crossing). The final score awaits the results of the triangulation. I am not referring to Phil Jacksons' triangle offense but the balancing of PERS Reform savings with K-12 budget and new revenue from new taxes or elimination of deductions. We have passed important bi-partisan legislation like my friend and very good legislator, Rep. Bill Kennemer's HB 2697. This bill allows you to return a fish carcass to the water from which you caught the fish if you have the proper license. Bill expects to win the "Turkey bill of the Session" which may be called the dead fish award.



Gene Whisnant



Political March Madness Scoreboard

Democrat Chief Sponsored bills         37

Governor requested bills                     33

Committee bills                                   33

Bi-partisan bills                                   10

Republican Chief Sponsored bills          4


Total Bills Passed the House              117


cherry blossoms  
A beautiful day in Salem  
Military Voting Program


As a retired military member who served overseas about 8 years and used the military voting system, I have a special interest in the military voting program. Early in the session, I requested specific data from Secretary of State and a meeting to discuss the data from the November 2012 election.


Steve Trout from the Secretary of State Elections Division reported that in 2012 statewide 71.8 % of military and overseas ballots sent to voters were counted in 2012 compared to 36.1 % in 2010. In Deschutes County the 2012 return rate was 74.2 % which is higher than the State rate. Also, the voting via e-mail which I sponsored was successful with 19 % of the returned ballots by e-mail. Oregon's military program was recognized as an "All-Star State" under the Heroes Vote Initiative.

Oregon's Economic Status


 Oregon Employment Department Barbara Peniston reported in the March 2013 "Oregon Labor Trends" about the "Unbalanced Growth in Oregon: Two and a Half Years After the Great Recession." She stated, "Of all the private jobs that were lost during the 2008 recession, only about 15 % have been accounted for by job gains 5 quarters into the recovery. In contrast, the percent job recovery rate after an equal amount of time following the 2001 recession was about 60 percent." Also, less of the 2008 recession job gains are in the higher wage jobs. This results in less state revenue. This data makes one wonder if Measure 66 and 67 effected the slower pace recovery and job gains with lower wages.


House Higher Education Committee:

On Monday, we had informational testimony on healthcare workforce issues. On Wednesday, I testified in support of HB 3296 amended which modifies and expands statutes regulating athlete agents. Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) asked me to co-sponsor the bill which will protect many young athletes. We also received a report on "recruitment of minority coaches" by Oregon University System General Counsel Ryan Hagemann and testimony by Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies, University of Oregon Special Assistant to the President Lorraine Davis, Portland State University Head Football Coach Nigel Burton and Sam Sachs. On Friday, we received testimony related to university governance with OUS faculty and Southern Oregon President Mary Cullinan discussing program coordination, approval, and locations. Also, we discussed how the Agriculture Extension Service and Labor Education and Research Center would best exist under the new structure being considered.

House Education Committee: 

On Monday, we had a public hearing on HB 3232 and HB 3233 (Establishes Network of Quality Teaching and Learning). On Wednesday, we heard testimony on 4 bills from the Oregon School Employee Association (OSEA) concerning public meeting laws (HB 3034), funds to replace school busses (HB 3043), paying for school activities transportation cost (HB 4044) and reporting injuries or deaths on school property (HB 3045). On Friday, we had testimony on 5 bills related to charter schools (HB 2150, HB 3093, HB 2153, HB 2875, and HB 2879).


House Human Services & Housing Committee:

On Monday, we passed HB 2349 and HCR 26. I am the chief co-sponsor of HCR 26 which establishes April as National Child Abuse Prevention month. On Wednesday, we had public testimony on 2 bills related to temporary assistance for needy families programs (HB 2055 & HB 3440). Also, we heard testimony about HB 3007 related to selling residential facilities. On Friday, we had testimony on the Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) related to mental health. We passed 2 bills (SB 203 & SB 22 A) and had public testimony on HB 2890 plus information hearing on Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) related to mental health.

Remembering Governor Tom McCall on his 100th Birthday
Tom McCall School

5th grade class Tom McCall Elementary

Looking forward to seeing you on May 17th.


In This Issue
Military Voting Program
Oregon's Economic Status
Meet and Greet
Contact Info
Visitors to the Capitol
Floor Session
Red Tie   
Date:         Thursday, March 28th
Time:          4 to 5:30 PM
Location:   Redmond City Library
                      827 SW Deschutes Ave
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Central Oregon Cities Organization Elected and Staff Members Day at the Capitol


Redmond Mayor George Endicott, president of League of Oregon Cities


Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney

Floor Session

 school house rock

I carried SB 529 A on the House Floor on Monday, March 18, 2013. The bill related to Educational Service Districts (ESD) allows school districts to withdraw from ESD participation; removes sunset clause pertaining to the election process for boards of 3 ESDs including our High Desert ESD. The vote was 56 yes and 1 NO.