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June 3,  2013

 

Dear Friends,

There is a very good possibility that the 77th Legislative Session will adjourn this month. It appears that Oregon's Legislative and Executive branch leadership is willing to spent the $2 billion (plus) new revenue and not negotiate any real PERS or revenue reforms.

 

Stand for Children, an important advocate for PERS reform, passed a parent's email to all legislators advocating for a PERS fix now. The parent stated in the email that as a minimum our legislators should accept the Governor's proposal to reduce the PERS debt by $4.2 billion and save $900 million this biennium. She added, "Our kids cannot face another year of insufficient public education due to a few terrible decisions made decades ago." I am not part of the team which is trying to negotiate PERS and revenue reforms. However, there does not appear to be any real efforts: only one-time savings and delayed payments into the PERS fund.

 

I came to Salem this session hoping to be part of the effort to find acceptable PERS and revenue reforms and to introduce legislation to help create private jobs. A significant number of legislators represent districts along the 1-5 corridor which have experienced a better economic upturn than most eastern, central and southern legislative districts. Thus, we have seen more new regulatory bills and policies passed which I believe hinder job creation.

 

This month we will pass state agency and commission budgets including a $6.55 Billion K-12 budget. However, please remember a significant amount of the increased revenue estimate for the 2013-2015 budget comes from one- time taxes. The answer to our revenue shortfall is we need more Oregonians employed to have sustained revenue to maintain the funding which we need for education, public safety, special need citizens, seniors and veterans.

COMMITTEES

 

 House Higher Education Committee:

On Wednesday, we had public testimony on SB 782 A related to apprentices. It appears that the bill will be amended to create a task force of stakeholders to develop policy to encourage and support using apprentices on government contracts. Also, we had presentations by community colleges and universities about their remediation programs.

On Friday, we passed SB 782A. Then, we held an informational meeting on "Athletes in Higher Education."  We received information about financing of teams and compliance with Title 9 requirement for equal women teams.

House Education Committee:

On Wednesday, we moved SB 215 A to House Rules Committee "without recommendation" related to school mascots related to Native Americans. We also passed SB 228, SB 611A, SB 821 and SB 643 A. I voted for all these bills.

House Human Services & Housing Committee:

On Wednesday, the committee members and staff toured the Salem Robert Lindsay Tower assisted living facilities and talked to residents about their experiences in the facilities. The tour was hosted by the Salem Housing Authority.

Effective Friday, May 30, 2013; all policy committees are now closed which means they cannot pass or move any bills. The committees may hold informational meetings.

2013-2015 BUDGET

 

On Friday, the Joint Ways & Means Committee passed the budget for the (K-12) State School Fund at $6.55 billion. The following is information on the K-12 funding:

 

-          2013-2015 Co-Chairs K-12                  $6,550,400,826

-          2013-2015 Governor's K-12                 $6,151,400,000

-          2011-2013 Leg Approved K-12           $5,776,090,520

 

 

ITEMS OF ITEREST

 

The Presiding Officers established the following dates for Legislative Days for the 2013 Interim:

            Monday, September 16 - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

            Wednesday, November 20 - Friday, November 22, 2013

            Wednesday, January 15 - Friday, January 17, 2013

 

During Legislative Days, the interim committees hold informational meetings and work on bills for the next legislative session.

 

On Thursday, I participated with Representatives Esquivel, Freeman, Gilliam, and Huffman judging the National Rifle Association Youth Education Summit speaking competition in Salem. Seven Oregon high school sophomore and junior students were selected based upon essays on the Constitution or Bill of Rights. 45 will be selected nationwide to participate in a week educational opportunity in Washington DC and compete for $30,000 in college scholarship. One of the seven outstanding Oregon students was Mikayla Lewis from Bend.who was a local winner.

 

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FLOOR SESSION

 

On Tuesday, HB 3315 A passed the House with a 60-0 vote. This bill will help address abuses of the H2B visa program which will provide jobs for Oregonians. The bill now goes to the Senate for a floor vote. On Wednesday, we were visited by US Senator Jeff Merkely to discuss our bill and the status of his bill which provides the Federal changes needed to help protect forest jobs.

On Tuesday, HB 2510 A related to Senior and The Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program passed unanimously. HB 2510 A adds back former participates with reverse mortgages who did not recertify; adds former participates who did not qualify, solely because they had not lived in their current home for 5 years; includes households with both factors; and leaves intact all other existing eligibility criteria for any participates. These changes allow up to 700 former participants back into the program beginning in tax year 2014.

On Wednesday, I and other Republicans tried unsuccessfully to withdraw good bills - HB 2717, HB 2718, HB 2721, HB 3252, and HB 3322 - from the Human Services and Housing Committee. The bills address public assistance fraud.


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In This Issue
Committees
2013-2015 Budget
Items of Interest
Floor Session
Bills
Visitors
OLIS
Contact Info
Red Tie   
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 BILLS

 

school house rock 

 

On Tuesday, I participated in the Governor's signing of HB 3296 on which I am a co-chief sponsor with Rep. Phil Barnhart and Senate President Peter Courtney. HB 3296 is intended to help protect young student athletes from losing their college eligibility due to NCAA violations by "agents".

VISITORS 
  
  
US Senator Jeff Merkley
US Senator Merkely and Rep. Whisnant discuss their efforts to prevent H2B Visa abuses and help employ Oregonians!
  
Rep whisnant and Mukayla Lewis
Rep. Whisnant and Mikayla Lewis

 

 

2013 Oregon Youth Education Summit

2013 Oregon Youth Education Summit 

Mikayla Lewis, Naomi Lau, Brianna Brenna, Henry Frame, Nicholas Barnes, Robert Stewart and Bryce Thornton                

 

 

Patrick Griffiths from City of Bend and Steve Johnson Central Oregon Irrigation District

  OLIS
  

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.

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.

 

SALEM CONTACT INFO

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

 

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