Rep Thatcher January 2012 Newsletter

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Legislative Update

January 2012


Transparency Updates
New State Laws
Civics for Students
Help Pioneer Cabin
Thoughts for Thatcher


Governor’s Education Reform […jyQ==]
Health Care Transformation […Wfw==]
Governor’s Public Safety Commission […BvP8=] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Special Election in Congressional
District 1
January 30th

Attention Yamhill County Residents
Last day to register to vote […iVA==] for this election is
January 10th
Click here […Tcs7E] for online registration or contact the Yamhill County […tSwli] Clerk’s Office […tSwli] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You Can Make a Difference in the Oregon Legislature […FBOI=]
Rep Thatcher’s Legislative Website […CnxE=] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SMART Celebrates 20 Yrs! […9I-79]
Start Making a Reader Today commemorates two decades of helping Oregon children learn to read. Click here […3zz0=] to see how you can become a SMART volunteer.
…and here we go! With the start of the new year I am hopeful we can find ways to get our economy back on track in Oregon. In order to turn things around the legislature needs to get serious about making our state a better place for job creators. That means not only working on positive changes during the 2012 Legislative Session next month, but also in the months and years beyond. Oregon’s business community suffers from what I call DURT: "Delays, Uncertainty, Regulation and Taxation"; all areas we need to improve in state government.

Some of my colleagues in the House of Representatives and I are proposing reforms in February on a number of areas including:

Lower taxes.Revamping the corporate tax structure imposed by Measure 67, reducing capital gains taxes, and helping low income taxpayers with more reasonable tax brackets. Land use. Add more flexibility at the local level with regional land use planning. * Natural resources. Enhance timber harvests on state forests, and better utilize water resources from the Columbia River.
* Health care. Allow Oregon families to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their taxable income.

This will be the first short legislative session in an even-numbered year under the new annual sessions law approved by Oregon voters in 2010. The state budget is expected to dominate the discussion. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee I know it will be difficult trying to reduce spending on state programs to adjust for the drop in tax revenues. I welcome any suggestions you might have on ways we can prioritize important services and cut back in other areas.

During the February session, each legislator has been allowed to introduce two bills. The ones I will be working on are of great interest to citizens in my legislative district and across the state.

The first bill is part of an ongoing effort to support Second Amendment rights for Oregonians. This legislation will prevent the release of personal information to the public about people who apply for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) once they check a box on the CHL application stating that they do not want those records disclosed.
The second bill would require all state agencies to use the E-verify employment screening program run by the federal government. This will to give taxpayer supported agencies the best chance of hiring people who are in our country legally. Many other states currently use E-verify and this would be a step in the right direction for Oregon as well. This legislation includes accountability measures and a component for local governments. See below under "Thoughts for Thatcher".

There are some exciting developments to share with you this month about the state’s transparency website I helped develop a few years ago. You can read more about it below. As always, I value hearing about your ideas and concerns, especially when critical decisions will be made during the upcoming legislative session.
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Oregon Transparency Website Updated

The Oregon Transparency Website […dTQ==] was just updated with many of the changes enacted by the legislature last year. Representative Thatcher spearheaded the major revisions including a place where you can see all the public meeting notices […bTE0=] posted for all state agencies. Since many changes to state laws start at these meetings, citizens need to know how they can get involved early in the process.

There is also a listing for many of the economic development tax breaks […c8_Yr] to increase accountability in state spending. It’s interesting to see how many tax dollars are going to some of these projects. For example, $15 million in tax credits were issued for solar projects alone in the past two years.

Other legislative changes included more information about the regional Education Service Districts […flN6c] and how lottery dollars […4Ig==] are used at the county level. The helpful staff at the state Department of Administrative Services deserve our thanks for these efforts to increase government transparency.
To see all the new additions to the website go to the home page at [] and look at the banner on the left side of the home page.
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By Representative Kim Thatcher

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