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April 9,  2013


Dear Friends,

More than 11,500 children were victims of abuse and neglect in Oregon in 2011: a greater number of children affected by cancer, juvenile diabetes and autism combined.

On Thursday, I carried House Joint Resolution (HJR) 26. HJR 26 declares April as the "Child Abuse Prevention Month." The resolution passed 60-0. It is sad that we have this tragedy. Even worse, children are most often abused or neglected by their parents, accounting for more than 80 % of the confirmed abuse cases. Most of the victims are younger than 6 years old.

The price of child abuse according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimated for the lifetime cost of each victim to be $210,000. Parent education and support are the proven answers to child abuse. Child abuse prevention programs show reduced child welfare involvement, stronger academic performances, healthier children, and stronger families.

The resolution was endorsed by Children's Trust Fund of Oregon, Deschutes County Children and Families Commission, KIDS Center, Mountain Star Relief Nursery, Children First of Oregon, and the numerous parenting non-profits.

You have several opportunities to support child abuse prevention services by

(1) Purchasing a "Keep Kids Safe" license plate,

(2) Participating in the charitable check-off on your Oregon Income Taxes, and

(3) Volunteering or supporting local child abuse prevention programs.



Gene Whisnant




school house rock 

2013 Legislative Bill Scoreboard

(as of March 29, 2013)

Bills passing House                              = 163

Rep only bills                                    = 8

Rep & Dem bills                                  = 15

Governor's & BOLI bills                     = 53

Dem only & Committee bills               = 96

(Committees are controlled by Dem)


According to the Salem Statesman Journal; about 2,500 bills have been introduced and only one percent have been signed into law as of April 3rd. The House introduced 1,613 and the Senate 947. In the 2011 session, 29 percent of House bills introduced became law and the Senate's average for the last 11 sessions is 42 percent.




House Higher Education Committee:

On Monday, we heard two bills (HB 3149 & HB 3275) which asked for task forces on Community College child care services and deferred facility maintenance. Then, we passed four bills: HB 2970 relating to transfer credits for business and engineering and HB 2979 sets up a work group to establish common numbering system for lower-division undergraduate courses in Oregon public colleges and universities. I am a sponsor of this bill. Last, we passed two bills HB 3392 which was a technical fix bill and HB 3296 A, which protects young athletics in elementary and secondary schools by expanding application of laws regulating agents. I am a co-chief sponsor of this bill.

 On Wednesday, we heard several bills including HB 3472 which tasks the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to study and report to the legislature on freezing tuition like Western Oregon University and other state universities do for four years. To introduce this bill, I used a priority bill with Rep. Chris Harker and Rep. Vic Gilliam as co-chief sponsors. However, the chair plans to combine it with a committee bill to look into other states actions to control tuition increases.

On Friday, we passed HB 3025 A on a party vote which puts a portion of estate (death) tax revenue in the University of Oregon system and early childhood education programs. Then, we had a invited testimony by former OUS Chancellor, George Pernsteiner about the proposals of shared services under the new university governance.

 House Education Committee: 

On Monday, we passed HB 2747 requiring district school boards which admit nonresident students to adopt standards for admittance. Then, we had public testimony on HB 3401 which purposes an alternative ESD funding for school districts who do not opt out and want less services than a full opt in. Also, we heard testimony on HB 3264 related to assisting students with disabilities transition into life after high school and HB 2733 which adjust the funding for remote small elementary schools.

 On Wednesday, HB 3000 passed which requires public school students seven years of age or younger to have a visual screening or eye exam. I am a chief sponsor of this bill which I have worked on with Julie Bibler with the Bend's Children's Foundation and Speaker Kotek since 2008. We held public hearings on several other bills including HB 3397 related to school mascots.

On Friday, we passed our first bill related to school security. HB 2337was sent to Ways & Means authorizing up to $18.75 million to be used by school districts as matching funds to finance school security infrastructure as part of a safety plan.

House Human Services & Housing Committee:


On Monday, we heard HB 3301 authorizing individuals living in a condo and home owner association to be able to install and use electric vehicle charging station. We passed two bills: HB 2850 increases federal earned income credit and HB 2980 extends the sunset for tax credits for agriculture worker housing. We finished the committee meeting with invited testimony only of HCR 6 which reaffirms woman's right to make reproduction decisions. On Wednesday, we passed three bills (HB 2316, HB 3129 and HB 2971). HB 3129 and HB 2971 go to Ways & Means. On Friday, we passed HB 2316 amended to Ways & Means requiring Oregon Lottery to employ individual to advise on mental health and addiction gambling issues. We had public hearings on HB 3131 and HB 3112.



On Thursday, at a ceremony in the Capitol, I received a Certificate of Appreciation for my work and dedication "to make sure Oregon's veterans have a safe place to call home." The Oregon Housing Alliance recognized the chief sponsors of HB 2417.

In This Issue
Floor Session
Items of Interest/Events
Visitors to the Capitol
Contact Info
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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.



On Tuesday, Governor John Kitzhaber spoke to the House Republican caucus members. He reported he is focusing on his Early Childhood Learning Council, PERS reforms, revenue bills, and public safety savings. He was asked why he is not focusing on jobs. He reported that he is trying to get more harvesting from the eastside forest and state forest to provide more jobs to the Oregon-and-California railroad counties. He acknowledged that private forests are harvesting the maximum amount to maintain a sustainable forest. He concluded this topic by saying he still sees the "wood products industry as a sun rising; not a sun setting industry." He stated we do have some job growth but they are lower paid jobs. Finally, he acknowledged he will sign the Democrat "light" PERS reform; although it will not make the PERS issue go away. He even stated we may be back in Salem for a special session or sessions.

On Tuesday, Rep. Whisnant met with Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon's Chief Education Officer who oversees public education, public universities, community colleges, and early childhood programs. My one-on-one discussion was about the Governor's education reforms including Early Learning Council (ELC) and Youth Development Council (YDC). Rep. Whisnant opposed the replacement of the State Commission on Children & Families system with the ELC and YDC. However, I have been working on proposed legislation to make the new system work. I am also very concerned that neither council has a detailed transitions plan which will prevent any gaps in service to our at-risk children and families.

On Thursday, Rep.Whisnant met with Jada Rupley, Early Learning Council Executive Director, and Michael Kaplan from the Governor's staff.

On Thursday, Rep. Whisnant participated in a Capitol press conference hosted by Children's Trust Fund of Oregon on HCR 26 and child abuse.

Keith Sime   

Keith Sime (USMC Colonel, Retired) from Sunriver visited us and was introduced on the House Floor as a friend and former fighter pilot with two tours in Vietnam and a marathon runner. In 2011, Keith finished third in this age group at the Boston Marathon.


Central Oregon Realtors 

On Thursday, we met with over 25 Central Oregon realtors during "Oregon Realtors Day" at the Capitol. We discussed their legislative agenda. I pledged my support to help protect mortgage interest deductions and work with them to fight for housing affordability. The National Association of Realtors reported: "Oregon Democrat Leadership proposals will hit middle class Oregonians. In 2010, 71 % of tax filers claiming mortgage interest deductions earn less than $100,000 adjusted gross income and 50 % earn less than $50,000. The housing market is just beginning to come out of the recession, now is not the time to take away another incentive for homeownership."


 On Thursday, Central Oregon "Housing Alliance" representatives visited to review their legislative agenda and provide an update on the foreclosure situation in Central Oregon.

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