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June 25,  2013


Dear Friends,

It is now obvious that "sine die" will not occur before the original "sine die" goal of June 28. Why? During my legislative career, I have never witnessed a session where so many policy bills have been sent to the Joint Ways & Means Committee for policy actions. This has resulted in an overload of policy bills in the Joint Ways & Means system which is designed to make financial decisions; not policy decisions. This mismanagement has produced legislation which has not had real policy debate and produced a longer session than is required.


Senate President Courtney opened Friday's session with the following request: "Let us take a few moments of silence to think about the season, our families - and how we are going to get out of here." President Courtney is the longest-serving member of the current Oregon Legislature.


The Senate is schedule to vote on the K-12 budget and the "provider tax" on Wednesday and/or Friday.  Also, leadership is still working on an agreement for PERS reform and new revenue.


In accordance with the Constitution, we may work until July 13 on your behalf to pass policy and adequate budgets. However, it appears leadership is now trying to use the legislative process for some political goals. I have observed this type of actions by both parties to use the legislative process for political goals but this time due to some mismanagement of the process; we will have a longer session than anticipated to complete our work.




Gene Whisnant




House Human Services & Housing Committee:

On Monday, the committee received an informational meeting on Oregon's DHS child welfare system. Speakers were Maurita Johnson and Stacy Lake. Click here to the link to their presentation.

On Monday, I co-chaired with Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) a work group meeting on HB 3007 related to tenant purchase of manufactured home parks. The owners and tenants could not agree on policy during the session. Thus, Chair Carolyn Tomei asked Reps Nathanson and me to try to find consensus on a bill during the interim. The first meeting was well attended and good testimony was received to identify issues for both groups. We agreed that there is a need for manufactured home parks and we need to find policy that is accepted to both the owners and tenants. We will have another meeting during the September Committee days and possible another one in October.



Chart for June 20th   


Oregon Employment Department June 2013 Labor Trend report


The Employment Department June 2013 report contains a very interesting article on "Forestry and Logging's Role in Central Oregon's Economy." The report describes Central Oregon's long tradition of forestry and logging. In fact, many of the local cities and towns were founded because of their proximity to the vast forest resources in the Cascade Range. To this day, many believe that forestry and logging still play a major role in Central Oregon's economy. The jobs in the industry tend to be high wage jobs as the average annual pay ($47,316) was approximately $3,000 higher than statewide average in 2012. 


Oregon's American Legion Boys State


On Tuesday, I had the honor and pleasure of visiting Oregon's American Legion 2013 Boys State events at Willamette University. Boys State is a week civics camp which creates the 51st "State of Christensen" as a civics learning experience. I met the Boys State Governor and the Central Oregon attendees. Also, I addressed and congratulated the attendees during their organizing political party meetings. The political parties are the Ducks and the Beavers. In my youth, I was selected as a high school junior to attend the North Carolina Boys State. The American Legion Girls State was meeting during the same time also at Willamette.






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Boys State 2013
Rep. Whisnant and Central Oregon attendees at Boys State


Rep. Whisnant visited with Lara and Will Chan from the Redmond  American Legion who were volunteers at Oregon Boys State.


Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone and Kathy DeBone







Oregon Government Abuses & Waste


We are learning about Federal Government abuses by the General Services Administration and Internal Revenue Service conferences; however, Oregon has its own examples. The Oregonian discovered the Employment Department wasted as much as $30 million on computer software programs that didn't work. Also, the article reported that last August, a Secretary of State audit revealed lax tax computer controls of benefits caused $32.6 million in overpayments in fiscal 2011. The wasted $60 million dollars of taxpayers' money could have been used by the taxpayers or to improve inadequate funding of other state services. (Oregonian article June 15, 2013 by Richard Read, "Oregon Employment Department chief, deputy lose jobs after probe finds waste, mismanagement")  


Regulation Has Made Americans Dependent on Government


Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson recently rote in the Wall Street Journal, "Regulation in the United States is out of control, making Americans overly dependent on the government." Citing the annual study of regulations by Competitive Enterprise Institute; Ferguson noted that the 2012 Federal Register, the official regulation directory, now contains 78,961 pages compared to 2,620 in 1936. Ferguson said, "The last time regulation was cut was under Ronald Reagan, when the number of pages in the Federal Register fell by 31 %. Surprise: Real GDP grew by 30 % in that same period." There are currently 4,062 new regulations in various stages of implementation, and Ferguson reports these will cost $1.8 trillion a year. I believe Oregon is no different than the Federal government with over regulation.  


Change your license plate and Change a child's life! 
Keep Kids Safe Plate 

Change your license plate and change a child's life. It sounds simple and it is! Proceeds from the Keep Kids Safe license plate go to local child abuse prevention programs, helping to protect vulnerable children and strengthen families across Oregon. Our goal is to sell a minimum of 1,000 license plates - help us move the dial forward! Click Here to find out how to order your plate.


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


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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


Michael C. Jensen  Photography
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