Senator Jeff Kruse - May 29th, 2015 - THE FUN IS ABOUT TO START


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701  -  900 Court St. NE, S-315 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:   -   Website:

 Working Hard For You


MAY 29, 2015




We have reached the point of the Session where we will see a lot of pressure come into play.  Next Friday, June 5th, is the last day for most committees to take action on bills.  What this means is any bill that has not passed out of the committee at that point is, in the majority of cases, dead.  The exceptions are the Rules, Revenue, the Joint Measure 91 and Ways and Means Committees.  The other exception is the fact the President or Speaker can re-open any committee for any purpose, but that tends to be a rare occurrence.  In theory, at this point policy bills will be finished.  I said in theory because there have been over 250 policy bills sent to Ways and Means and there will probably be a number of bills sent to Rules to keep them alive.  Even with these exceptions we should still have a better idea as to the possible actions the Legislative Assembly could still take.


One area of concern at this point is the fact we have seen none of the major budget packages come out of Ways and Means.  The one exception was the K-12 budget, which everyone knows is completely inadequate, and was passed out in its current form for political reasons, those basically being tax increases or an attempt to keep the Kicker.  What is interesting is the fact that, with potentially over two billion dollars in additional revenue to spend this biennium, there is still going to be an attempt to raise taxes.  The real problem with the Ways and Means process is the fact that very little information is given out, not just to legislators in general, but also to the members of that committee.  To a large degree the major decisions are made by a very small group which includes the President, Speaker and Co-chairs of the committee.  Clearly transparency is a foreign concept to leadership in this building.


Another interesting note at this point is the fact that the transportation workgroup has started meeting again as of Wednesday.  We had met for the first couple of months of this Session, until the Low Carbon Fuel Standards bill (Senate Bill 324) was passed.  Over the last couple of weeks there have been daily meetings with the Governor and leadership in an attempt to try and find a solution to the problem created by the passage of SB 324.  Because they were not able to arrive at a solution the decision was made to reform the original workgroup, minus the presiding officers, and this time being led by the Governor’s office. It will be interesting to see if there is a solution to be found to the self-created problem.  At this point we have mutually agreed to not talk about our discussion, which I think is appropriate mostly because so far we have little to talk about.  It will be interesting to see what the next few weeks unveil as we have further discussions.


The final issue for this newsletter is SB 964, which deals with the medical side of the marijuana issue.  As I have stated before it has become very apparent the accountability in this program has been basically nonexistent and was going to be required before we could create the recreational program.  Because of differences between the House and Senate this came out of a Senate committee rather than the joint committee.  The bill was co-sponsored by me and Senator Burdick, and we think it was a very good and comprehensive piece of legislation.  It was on the Senate floor Wednesday and passed with a 29 to 1 vote.  It will be interesting now to see what the House will do after we have demonstrated such overwhelming support.  We are now beginning to deal with the recreational side, but I am not sure we will get there without House support of SB 964.


On a more positive note I thought I would share with you an old classic, Kate Smith singing “God Bless America”.  I do this in Honor of Memorial Day, which was last Monday, and as a reminder of what our country is supposed to be.  For some of you this may be new, but for us old-timers just a wonderful blast from the past.  Enjoy.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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