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IN THIS ISSUE
Bills of Interest
Visting the Capitol
Thoughts for Thatcher
You Can Make a Difference in the Oregon Legislature [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…9yKY=]
Oregon Transparency [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…zP8fk] Website [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…zP8fk]
Rep Thatcher’s Legislative Website [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…Oa3Y=] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The 2011 Session of the Oregon Legislature is quickly winding down. As a member of the Ways and Means committee I will be very busy in the next several weeks working on the final details for the new state budget. The new revenue forecast shows there will be an additional $130 million to help offset some of the proposed cuts but there will still be reductions in many areas of the budget.
I have been working on several positive pieces of legislation this year and you can see some of the bills in the article below. However, I must say I am disappointed that some of the important issues facing our state have not been addressed in a meaningful way.
For example, our state is in a fragile and slow recovery from one of the worst recessions in decades, yet state lawmakers have failed [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…w86-H] to implement many of the policy changes that would improve Oregon’s business climate and help encourage the private sector to create more jobs. (I appreciate the feedback on this topic from last month’s newsletter listed below)
I introduced several ideas, like repealing Measures 66 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…RRA==]and 67 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…1MA==],
pushing back on the mandatory federal health care law [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…Gmg==], and eliminating Oregon’s death tax [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…iNQ==]. None of these bills even got a public hearing. In fact, changes were adopted to the state’s death tax giving it one of the highest rates in the country [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…SiA==]. As a business owner I share the frustrations many of you have expressed and hope we can continue to work on ways to make our state a friendlier place for job creators to locate and expand.
Rep Thatcher Bills of Interest
All the bills Rep Thatcher drafted to help law abiding Oregonians exercise their 2nd Amendment rights are now in jeopardy [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…AhYs=]. Three of them passed the House by wide margins. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee has amended one of them, House Bill 2797 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…xVg==], with a "poison pill" to ban people with Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) from carrying on school grounds and college campuses. The original bill was adopted by House members 58-0 and it would have clarified the laws for those who want to carry firearms on motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles.
House Bill 2787 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…Icw==] to protect the privacy of CHL holders and House Bill 2792 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…uqQ==] to recognize CHLs from other states in Oregon are also in limbo in the Senate.
House Bill 2791 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…ohg==], which would have eliminated the Oregon State Police as the middle man in the gun background check system and turned the duties over to the federal government, had a very positive hearing in a budget committee but is probably not going any further.
House Bill 2770 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…eig==]is now on the Governor’s desk and it has the potential to help make Oregon a better place to do business. The legislation requies the state Business Development Department to look into setting up a special business ombudsman to help Oregon companies navigate all the programs and regulations in state government.
Two bills to give taxpayers more information about how their money is spent are now waiting for the Governor’s signature after passing both chambers of the legislature with unanimous votes. House Bill 2825 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…18Q==]calls for posting reports about tax expenditures for economic development programs on the Oregon Transparency Website www.oregon.gov/transparency [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…pWOv5]. House Bill 2788 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…z-Q==]adds data about the State Treasurer’s Office and public meeting notices for all state agencies, board and commissions to that website.
Rep Thatcher continues to work on House Bill 2280 [r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ms4r6efab&et=1105430360…-8A==], designed to give the Secretary of State Audits Division and the Oregon Department of Education better tools to audit school districts. Recent problems at the Willamette Education Service District pointed out the need to ensure the state has effective oversight of the billions of tax dollars going to school districts every year. This bill remains in the legislative budget committee waiting for final action.
A bill to improve th