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July 2,  2013


Dear Friends, 

In the 2013 Session, we are on track to pass about 800 of the 2,500 introduced bills which is about average for a "long" session. I believe that HB 3460 was one of the worse bills which the House passed. HB 3460 licenses and regulates medical marijuana dispensaries.

The advocates for the bill reported that it creates legal places to purchase medical marijuana. Current law allows patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to grow their own marijuana or designate someone else to grow it. The bill passed on a 31-27 vote.


Former Oregon State Police Officer Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany) testified that the bill does little to address the abuses in the Oregon's medical marijuana program. Rep. Olson who worked in drug enforcement discussed concerns about federal law enforcement, drug trafficking, public safety, Rick Simpson's hemp oil, and out-of-state and youth access to the drug. (Note: Marijuana is illegal under federal law, meaning it has not "accepted medical" use.) Even, advocates of the bill stated, "The black market of medical marijuana is out of hand and the ability to trace with accuracy cardholders and growers is extremely problematic." The fact is that Oregon is growing much more marijuana than approved medical marijuana users can legally obtain. Also, the bill only authorized 2 inspectors for an expected 225 to 400 dispensaries. This does not pencil out as a successful business with the current number of approved users. Thus, there will be excess marijuana grown in Oregon. The concern is it will be sold to non-authorized users including youth and for illegal distribution by Mexico drug cartels in Oregon described recently in the "Oregonian," in June 23, 24, 25, 26, & 27 articles. The "Oregonian" reported "law enforcement knows of at least 69 drug-trafficking organizations in Oregon." Assistant U.S. Attorney John Deits who oversees federal drug prosecutions in Oregon stated in the article, "Oregonians are total naive, totally out of touch with what is happening in Oregon." How big is the Oregon illegal growing of marijuana? In 2007, law enforcement officials found over 240,000 plants and have found about 200,000 plants per year since. A plant can produce up to 10 pounds of marijuana which sells for as much as $7,000 per pound. This bill helps facilitate large illegal businesses in Oregon involved in sex trafficking, illegal immigration, and other type operations.


This bill may help provide medical marijuana citizens' purchases to be more convenient but it may have tremendous unforeseen consequences to our public safety. The bill is now in the Senate.





Gene Whisnant










school house rock  


On Tuesday, I spoke on the floor in opposition to HB 2013 B which establishes the Early Learning Council (ELC) system. The ELC and the Youth Development Council (YDC) replaced the State and County Commissions on Children & Families, effective July 1, 2013.


I opposed this action in the 2011 session but it passed. I worked relentlessly to make the transition process better with no gaps in direct services. The bill passed the House 40-19 and now goes to the Senate. I hope the ELC succeeds but I presented my concerns in my floor speech which is available at the following link.


On Tuesday, the House passed HB 3521 B with a 32-28 vote and three Democrats joined the Republicans in opposition to the bill. HB 3521 B requires DMV and other state agencies to provide an individual's data to the Secretary of State for the purpose of automatically registering them to vote. This results in personal information becoming public. Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn/Tualatin) discovered that the bill has "irreconcilable" conflicts with federal privacy laws related to motor vehicle data according to the Legislative Counsel. In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2138 which codified the federal motor vehicle privacy laws into statutes. Governor Kitzhaber sponsored HB 2138 and 19 current legislators including Secretary of State Kate Brown voted for the bill supporting DMV privacy laws.


HB 3194 A is a very important bill which the Governor wants to produces savings in the Department of Correction and reduces inmate growth. I agree with these goals but did not vote for the bill. I disagreed with some of the Measure 5 changes and some of the penalty reductions. I support prison reform which does not negatively impact the publics' safety. The bill passed the House on Friday.




bridge sunset   


Columbia River Crossing Project: Washington State legislators failed to pass a $10 billion transportation package crucial for the Columbia River Crossing bridge project estimated at $3.5 billion total cost. The Washington legislators would not support the 10.5 cents per gallon tax increase necessary to build the bridge. My no vote on HB 2800 A was because it misled the citizens by implying that the bill did not have any new taxes and I believed we should look at other options. Governor Kitzhaber announced on June 29, 2013 that he was extremely disappointed that the Washington State Senate failed to pass the transportation package with the Columbia River Crossing project. He stated that project managers have begun to close down the project.


In This Issue
Links to Articles
Tragic Losses in Arizona
Committee & Work Group
Keep Kids Safe
Contact Info
Red Tie   
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Tragic Losses in Arizona 


Nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, based in Prescott, Ariz., were killed Sunday evening when a windblown wildfire overcame them north of Phoenix. It was the deadliest single day for U.S. firefighters since Sept. 11.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to those courageous individuals who step forward to fight fires, especially those who fight wildland fires such as this one.  To all of you who serve in this way, thank you.




Rep. Whisnant and Senator Knopp
Rep. Whisnant and Senator Knopp
discuss issue during video conferencing back to district.


On Monday, the Committee heard from OSHU Physician-in-Chief Dr. Stacy Nicholson, M.D., M.P.H. about the first 1,000 days of a child's life. He discussed the importance of the health and health habits of expecting and new mothers.    


On Thursday, Rep. Nancy Nathanson and I meet with Chelsea Catto from Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation (CASA) as part of our work group research for HB 3007 related to tenant purchases of manufactured home parks. CASA is a Community Development Corporation (CDC) that works to provide affordable housing for rural Oregon. The meeting was to provide background information on CASA operation and review the successes and failures of tenant purchases of manufactured home parks.   




Gold man   


Redmond Mayor George Endicott



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Keep Kids Safe Gene and Josie 


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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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State Representative Gene Whisnant | 900 Court St NE | Salem | OR | 97301