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July 9,  2013

77th Legislative Session "Sine die"             

July 8, 2013 @ 2:48pm



Dear Friends, 

I am reporting that the 77th Legislative Session has adjourned and we have finished our session work on your behalf. It has been a great honor to serve the constituents of Redmond, Sunriver, Tumalo, parts of Bend and Deschutes County and the people of Oregon as a State Representative during this 155 day session. The maximum allowed by the Oregon Constitution is 160 days.


I consider my session work as very successful in passing and supporting good common-sense policy through my legislative experience and with the bipartisan relationships and trust which I have earned.


This was a very different session compared to the last session, which had a 30-30 split allowing me to serve as a committee co-chair. During the 76th Legislative Session, the Oregon House was recognized nationally for its bipartisan success in passing significant and important legislation with a co-governed House chamber. This session, my party was in the minority 34-26. Thus, the majority party could pass its legislative bills including controversial bills without our support. It is very different when you need all your caucus members and at least 5 members of the opposition party to pass your bills. This is why I describe my work on your behalf as successful.  On tax bills, ญญ3/5th vote is required; thus, the leadership caucus needs at least all their members plus two minority party members. The majority party did receive an interesting interpretation from Legislative Counsel concerning the 3/5th vote on tax increases. Legislative Counsel advised that if there is corresponding legislation which offsets the tax increase; a simple majority vote of 31 is required. This opinion may be challenged in the courts.


The most important achievement of this session was to increase the K-12 2013-2015 budget by $1 billion which I voted for. Hopefully, this will result in smaller class room sizes and more school days. The second achievement was spending a total of $2 billion new revenue.

I did not vote for all the bills which will spend this additional new revenue. I would have preferred to save some of this new revenue for a "rainy day" which is coming due to the PERS unfunded liability and the shortfalls we will have in the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services. Remember that some of the additional 2013-2015 revenue was one-time revenue. Also, the Central Oregon legislative delegation secured the funding for the OSU-Cascade Campus 4-year program. This was a very important legislative goal for Central Oregon which the entire delegation supported.


I will provide in a later report a list of the significant bills which I sponsored which passed and some bills I believe were good bills but they did not pass. Also, I  provided my vote on some of the most controversial bills. I'll keep trying to pass good bills.





Gene Whisnant













 Volcanoes Stadium July 2013 


Salem-Keizer Volcanoes honor veterans

On July 3rd, I participated in the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes baseball team's 6th Annual Patriotic Tribute to Veterans. Volcanoes Jerry Howard (USAF Veteran) is to be commended for his outstanding planning and execution of the Patriotic Tribute events. After the opening ceremonies, about 20 young men and women enlisted in the Marine Corps. Next, I joined 14 other veterans for the ceremonial first pitch event. Several military organizations were welcomed and other events included the "Fallen Warrior" and "Fallen and Missing Warrior" ceremonies were held. The "Fallen Warriors" ceremony honored Senior Chief Petty Officer Navy SEAL Tyrone Wood who was killed defending our Diplomatic Outpost at Benghazi, Libya last September 11th. Tyrone was raised in Oregon City and graduated from Oregon City High School. It was a great tribute to veterans and the local team won the game against Boise.






Water cut off at Crater Lake

Rep. Gail Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) announced on the floor that the decisions by Oregon Water Resource Department have led to water being shut off in the Klamath Basin to farmers' and ranchers'. Now,  in the Klamath Basin, shutoffs may be extended to public lands including Crater Lake. About half a million visitors come to Crater Lake National Park each year. Shutting off Crater Lake's water would have far-reaching economically impacts to Klamath County. The National Park stated that in 2011, visitors contributed $34.6 million to nearby communities and 549 area jobs were supported.


Labor Department Jobs report  

On Friday, the Labor Department reported the economy gained 195,000 jobs in June. The report also stated that only 47 % of the 144 million Americans employed have full-time jobs. Those who don't have a full time job are finding it increasingly difficult to find full time employment. The Obamacare employer mandate may be causing employers to change their staffing to include more part-time employees.

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school house rock  


On Tuesday, I requested HB 2784 be withdrawn from committee and voted on. HB 2784 limits PERS retirement benefits for persons convicted of work-related felonies. I introduced this bill in the 2005 session and it passed out of the House but died in the Senate. The House did not support the effort to vote on HB 2784.






^th Annual Patriotic Tribute at Volcanoes Stadium
Rep. Whisnant joins other Veterans for 1st pitch ceremony




Throwing out first pitch
Rep. Whisnant throws 
his "1st  pitch"  at Volcanoes
 Patriotic Tribute




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.


Keep Kids Safe Gene and Josie 


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.

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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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