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May 29,  2013


Dear Friends,

I hope each of you had a wonderful and safe "Memorial Day" weekend but also took some time to discuss the purpose of Memorial Day or participate in a Memorial Day event.


During my military career, I have had the opportunity to visit US military cemeteries in Europe and in the USA. I have attended and participated in Memorial Day events in district and attended events at Arlington National Cemetery in Northern Virginia. Walking among the white crosses and Stars of David in the Arlington National Cemetery is an overwhelming experience and one I wish all Americans especially our youth could experience.


Memorial Day is the national day of remembrance of US military members who gave their lives in service to our nation. We also honor and thank those who served and are serving.

I suggest that to honor our military men and women you consider supporting a veterans program of your choosing. I would recommend "Honor Flight of Oregon" and

 Oregon World War II (WWII) Memorial Foundation. Josie's and my father served in WW II and never got to see the WW II memorial in Washington DC. The "Honor Flight" program takes our WW II veterans to the memorial in Washington DC.




Gene Whisnant

USAF, Retired


Salem Cementary
Memorial Day in Salem




House Higher Education Committee:

On Monday, the committee heard a very informative briefing and discussions about "distance learning." OUS Chancellor Melody Rose's presentation is provided in this link.  Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and University President Larry Large discussed the topic from the private school's point of view. HEEC member Jennifer Diallo, Clackamas Community College staff Steve Beining, OSU Professor Kevin Gable, and Eastern Oregon University Professor Jeffrey Dense provided more data on this subject. I remain a supporter of distance learning and hope universities will continue to find ways to incorporate distance learning in the academic curriculum.


On Wednesday, public and private educators discussed college preparation for our K-12 teachers. The testimony was very informative and covered the different educational and system concepts which our teachers are being taught. We also learned about the "Portland Teachers Program" which is working to recruit and help prepare culturally competent teachers with a special focus on historically under-represented groups in the teaching profession.


House Education Committee:

On Monday, the Oregon Education Investment Board Deputy Director Dr. Doris McEwen presented a briefing on "Oregon's Equity Lens," a diversity project.


On Wednesday, the committee chair Sara Gelser arranged for the committee to travel to Corvallis to meet with 8th grade students at Linus Pauling Middle School. Principal Eric Beasley greeted the legislators. The students as part of their social studies and "Mock Congress" Project announced the bills they have discussed and then spoke about bills and policies being discussed in Salem. It is always fun and informative to visit with and hear from our students.


House Human Services & Housing Committee:

On Monday, the committee had a round table meeting and discussion with Dr. Donna Beegle who had previously testified before the committee. She is the president of "Communication Across Barriers" who works to end poverty. Her biography is on her website, www.combarriers.com.




school house rock 


On Tuesday, we passed SCR 13 honoring Kenneth Allen Jernstedt, who passed away February 5, 2013. Kenneth Jernstedt was a WW II hero as Oregon's first ace in WW II with10.5 "kills." He was a successful Oregon business owner and served in the Oregon Senate and House. He was also a long time Mayor of Hood River.

I am glad to report that on Wednesday the House voted to join the Senate in supporting SB 135 which "abolishes" the Wage and Hour Commission. I am always reminded of the suggestion of a friend when I entered the legislature. He said I should work to do away with at least one bill for every bill we pass. We have not been able to achieve this goal but we did abolish the Wage and Hour Commission which as not meet since 2008. At that meeting, they transferred their duties, functions, and powers to BOLI.

HB 3130 passed the Senate on Thursday and is its way to the Governor's desk. This bill helps the City of La Pine and Deschutes County's economic development efforts with safety improvements on Highway 97 in La Pine. I was glad to help Rep. Mike McLane with this important bill for South Deschutes County.

On Friday, I testified before the Senate Committee on General Government , Consumer and Small Business Protection committee on HB 2328 which I introduced requiring the four Oregon Advocacy Commissions to meet at least annual in a joint session.  



In This Issue
Foreclosure Report
Majority Party Plays with Constitution
Floor Session
Contact Info
Red Tie   
Join Our Mailing List

The U.S. Department of the Treasurer recently reported the percentage of each state's share of $7.6 billion total authorized for foreclosure relief funds spent as of December 31, 2012. Oregon received $220 million and spent the highest percentage 46.3 %. California received the largest amount with $1.8 billion but has only spent 14.7 %. The total amount spent is 16.5 %. 


Measure 25 Passed by Oregon Voters in 1996 and put in the Oregon Constitution requires that no new taxes could be passed by the Legislature without a "super-majority" (3/5th) vote (36 in the House and 18 in the Senate).


The majority party has come up with a creative way to get around the "will of the people (Measure 25) and the Oregon Constitution." They want to renew some tax credits which were due to expire. To offset the loss of this revenue; they want to increase taxes to equal the renewed tax credits. Thus, they found a lawyer (surprise; he works for them) to support their position that since the net of the loss of revenue with the new taxes is zero; the vote on the tax increase does not require a 3/5th vote; only a simple majority of 31 votes.


This is their creative solution to get around the will of the people and the Oregon Constitution.  


On Thursday, Early Learning Council (ELC) Board member Lynn Saxton and Executive Director Jada Rupley discussed ELC legislation and transition plans for ELC from County Commissions on Children & Families.


John Costa and Gordon Black from "The Bend Bulletin" visited with members of the Central Oregon legislative delegation and Democrat leaders on Thursday.  


On Tuesday, Josie and I attended the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Chemeketa's NW Viticulture Center and vineyards. We toured the facility and met with graduates of the programs 






Rep Whisnant and Rep McLane
Rep. Whisnant and Rep McLane ( House Republican Leader) on House Floor


Lauren Dake Bend Bulletin
Rep. Whisnant and Lauren Dake (Bend Bulletin) on House Floor.
Contact Information


Please monitor our work on your behalf by signing up to receive our "Legislative Updates" and press releases. Provide us your email address at rep.genewhisnant@state.or.us. Also, you may use that email address to contact us.


     You can also review our work on our official website: www.leg.state.or.us/whisnant.


     If you want to actually view legislative floor sessions and committee meetings; go to the link:  www.leg.state.or.us/listn.



Office phone number: 503-986-1453

Vicki Olson, Legislative Assistant

Email: rep.genewhisnant@state.or.us

Website: www.leg.state.or.us/whisnant

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



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.

Michael C. Jensen  Photography
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