Rep. Deborah Boone Newsletter 5 14 2015

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

Work continues at the Capitol, we have now entered the final two months of the legislative session, and there are legislative deadlines which are coming very quickly.  Bills that have not been through their originating chamber, and have a work session scheduled in the second chamber by next Friday automatically fail this session.

On Monday, a bill introduced by Rep. David Gomberg, House Joint Memorial 20 a resolution urging Congress to fund the US Coast Guard Air Facility in Newport, passed unanimously through the House Rules Committee, it will now go to the floor for a House vote. Maintaining a Coast Guard Air Station at Newport could mean the difference between life and death for the ocean-going public.  The Port of Newport has large commercial and charter fishing fleets and is also the homeport for the NOAA Pacific Marine Operations Center.  Additionally, thousands of recreational anglers access the ocean from Lincoln County out of Depoe Bay, Newport and Waldport.  The MJH-65 Dolphin search and rescue helicopter is critical to the safety of those who work and play on the ocean, rocky beaches and in the wooded areas along the central coast. If allowed to close, rescue response will take longer, as helicopters will be dispatched from Coast Guard stations at Astoria or North Bend ocean waters can be extremely cold, and delayed rescues could easily become recovery operations.    The Coast Guard announced its plan to close the Newport facility in October of 2014, but delayed the closure due to widespread public opposition, it is now slated to close in November of this year.  HJM 20 urges permanent funding of the Newport US Coast Guard Air Facility, and remains a top priority of the Coastal Caucus.

Wednesday, as a Co-Sponsor, I introduced Senate Joint Memorial 9 on the House floor.  SJM 9 Directs Congress to appropriate $20 million to monitor and prevent the spread of quagga and zebra mussel aquatic invasive species in the Columbia River Basin. It received unanimous approval on the House, and will now has returned to the Senate for enrollment.   I am so pleased to see support for this bill, quagga and zebra mussel infestations have had catastrophic impacts in the ecosystems in which they have established.   They can collapse entire food webs, reduce fish populations and devastate fisheries.   While small, their shells are razor sharp, and cover beaches, docks and boat hulls adversely affecting recreational uses.  These organisms clog water intake structures which greatly increase maintenance costs for water treatment and power plants.   Native to Russia and the Ukraine, mussels have been spreading throughout the world in ships’ ballast.   They became established in the Great Lakes in 1988 and 1989 and in California in 2008.   SJM 9 urges Congress to take appropriate action to prevent the spread of the mussel infestation into the Pacific Northwest and the Columbia River Basin.

The Revenue Forecast was released Thursday morning, and it was good news!   Oregon’s economy is continuing to improve, state economists reported $124 million more revenue than was estimated in February.    This increase means that Oregon public schools will receive an additional $100 million, and it triggers the personal income tax kicker, which will return $477 to Oregon taxpayers.   The kicker will be returned in the form of credits against tax returns filed by April 2016, legislation approved in 2011 ended the practice of sending out checks in favor of a tax credit.  The additional money will also fund critical budget needs including public safety, services for struggling families, and higher education.  The Legislature must approve a balanced state budget before the session can adjourn, and this revenue forecast we can now wrap up our spending decisions and prepare for the end of the session. 

For the seventh time, I have introduced and sponsored legislation that would add the Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association (OVFA) to the Individual income tax return check-off list.  HB 2818 received a Public Hearing Thursday in the House Revenue Committee.    OVFA represents emergency medical technicians and firefighters and if approved, would use the tax return donations to provide scholarships for training, hardship grants, death benefits, equipment and text book grants for volunteer firefighters and their families.  There are currently 7,800 Oregon Volunteer Firefighters who work tirelessly as first responders in communities throughout Oregon.   HB 2818 is a very positive piece of legislation.   There is no financial impact to the state, it just adds OVFA to the list of entities eligible for income tax return check-off contributions.   Oregonians can then make an individual choice whether to support OVFA with their tax refund.  Due to legislative procedural deadlines, in order for this legislation to move forward, it must receive a work session in the House Revenue Committee next Monday. Revenue Committee Chair Phil Barnhart has said he wants to see support for this legislation, so I am calling on Volunteer Fire Fighters and their supporters to immediately contact Speaker of the House Tina Kotek:, House Majority Leader Val Hoyle:, Rep Barnhart:, and the other Revenue Committee Members:  Representatives Cliff Bentz:,   John Davis:,  Mark Johnson:,  Ann Lininger:, Tobias Read:, Barbara Smith Warner:, Jessica Vega Pederson:,  and Gail Whitsett: to request their support in moving this bill forward immediately.

Late last week, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife closed Clatsop County Beaches to the harvest of razor clams due to elevated levels of domoic acid.  On Thursday, of this week,  the closure was extended to include razor clamming along the entire Oregon Coast, including beaches, rocks, jetties and bays from the mouth of the Columbia river to the California border.    In addition, all shellfish harvesting remains closed from the Columbia River to Tillamook Head, a closure ordered May 8th.  The harvest of bay clams is open from Tillamook Head south to the California border.  Coastal scallops are not affected by these closures when only adductor muscle is eaten, however the consumption of whole recreational scallops is not recommended.   Crab is not affected by the closures.  Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers, samples taken from commercial markets show not biotoxins at this time.   The Department of Agriculture will continue to test for shellfish toxins weekly, as tides permit, and reopening an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

In order to best represent my district, I need to hear about your concerns.   My door is always open to constituents from House District 32, and I enjoy meeting with friends and neighbors when they visit Salem.   My office has moved to the fourth floor, I’m now in H-481.   If you are planning to visit the Capitol, let my office know a few days in advance so we can schedule an appointment.   If you have a concern or comment about a state agency or legislation under consideration, you can write, phone or email my office.


If you are interested in the legislative process, you can learn all about the Oregon Legislature, follow proposed bills, and watch committee meetings and floor sessions live, by accessing the Oregon Legislative Information System via the following link: engagement/Pages/Legislative-Video.aspx


It is my privilege to represent you in the Oregon House of Representatives and I look forward to hearing from you.


Representative Deborah Boone

House District 32

email: I phone: 503-986-1432
address: 900 Court St NE, H-481, Salem, OR, 97301