Legislative Update 6 11 2015

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

The 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly continues to move towards adjournment.  The only action legally required of the Legislature, is that we must develop and approve a balanced state budget.   This session I am serving on the Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee, and we reviewed and sent budget recommendations for the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority onto the full Ways and Means Committee.  

On Tuesday, the Oregon House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 525, a bill prohibiting possession of firearms to domestic violence offenders.   SB 525 aligns Oregon Law with the Federal Violence Against Women Act, which prohibits gun or ammunition possession by domestic abusers who are subject to a restraining order or who have been convicted of domestic violence crimes.  This bill was carried on the House Floor by Rep. Carla Piluso D-Gresham, the first woman to serve as the Chief of Police for the City of Gresham.    Rep. Piluso noted that even with a restraining order in place, there is no guarantee of protection from an abuser.  If a weapon is within reach of an abuser, the risk of homicidal violence is extreme.   SB 525 passed with broad, bi-partisan support on a vote of 51-8.

Wednesday, the House approved HB 2960, to create the Oregon Retirement Savings Board.   This bill establishes a program to provide every Oregonian with access to an easy, effective, portable retirement savings account.     It has become very clear that Oregon, along with the rest of the nation, is facing a retirement crisis.   Nearly two-thirds of Oregon retirees have no income from retirement funds, a situation that is much worse for low-income workers.  As the senior population grows, there will be greater demand for basic senior care services.   The Oregon Retirement Savings Board will be chaired by the State Treasurer, and include representation from legislators, investors, employers, workers and retirees.  This board will develop a privately-managed, defined contribution retirement plan (IRA) for all Oregonians who lack access to a retirement plan at their workplace.  Employers will not be required to contribute to the plan, and employees will have the ability to opt-out.

Two bills honoring Tillamook County community leaders had their final legislative actions this week.   On Wednesday House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 25, honoring former Nehalem Mayor Shirley Kalkhoven was unanimously approved by the Oregon Senate.    I was pleased to sponsor this legislation with Senator Betsy Johnson, as Shirley served her community, the region and state of Oregon in so many capacities.  When she passed away unexpectedly at the age of 87 earlier this year, Shirley was actively serving on more than 2 dozen boards, commissions and committees.   

Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 2 honoring Lenhart “Bud” Gienger of Tillamook was approved on the House Floor on Thursday.   Bud was a dairy farmer, entrepreneur and community leader.  He was an Oregon State University Alumnae, and a varsity wrestler in college, helping lead the Beavers to three straight Pacific Athletic Conference Championships. A life-long Beaver supporter, Bud was recognized with the Martin Chaves Lifetime Achievement Award.  Bud was quick to support worthy causes, especially those with a benefit to children and families.   SCR 2 was sponsored by Senator Brian Boquist, who grew up in Tillamook and is a   friend of the Gienger family, and Senator Betsy Johnson.    I was happy to carry this bill on the House Floor and pleased that it received a unanimous vote of approval.   

This week marked the end of the school year in Oregon, and the final few high school graduations in the district.   I want to congratulate the members of the class of 2015 from Astoria, Banks, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, Jewell, Neah-Kah-Nie, Seaside, Tillamook and Warrenton-Hammond who now leave high school and embark on their future goals.  There were also college certificates and degrees awarded at Clatsop and Tillamook Bay Community Colleges this spring, which signify important educational milestones.   As our newly minted high school graduates prepare for their future, I hope they consider the wonderful opportunities available at our local community colleges, where students can save money while obtaining transferable credits for four-year degrees.   Our community colleges also have Associate Degree programs that are very competitive and can help graduates get a step up in the work force.  Regardless the path on which recent graduates embark, my hope is that they become life-long learners, and continue to grow and flourish in the future.

The weather has been HOT here in Salem, and I always look forward to heading home to the north coast on the weekends.   But as a reminder to motorists during the summer months, ODOT kicks their construction season into full gear, and there are several road and bridge projects going on now in Clatsop and Tillamook Counties.  

On Hwy 101 at Manzanita Avenue and Neahkahnie Creek workers are replacing an existing culvert with a tunnel structure, realigning Hwy 101 and improving the turn lane into downtown Manzanita.   This coming week flaggers will occasionally control single lane traffic as workers install temporary shoring along Neahkahnie Creek.

In the Warrenton-Astoria area, work continues on the Lewis and Clark River Bridge, which is now closed to facilitate the construction activities, a detour is in place.   Another bridge project is on the Old Youngs Bay Bridge, which includes rehabilitation of the electrical and mechanical systems.   Flaggers will control single lane traffic as needed, and motorists can expect minor delays during single lane closures.

Bridge workers are recoating the steel above the bridge deck on the southern side of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.  This week flaggers will control single lane traffic during construction activities with delays of up to 20 minutes, please drive through the area with caution, Oregon State Police will be enforcing the speed limit through the work zone area.  Oregon traffic fines double in posted construction zones, so motorists should use caution and drive carefully to avoid problems this road construction season.

As we try to finish up our work, the House has been holding morning and afternoon floor sessions, so scheduling can get tricky at times.   I always try to make time to meet with constituents when they visit Salem, if you are coming to the Capitol, please let my office know a few days in advance for planning purposes.   As always, if you have a problem or concern regarding a state agency, you can contact my office.

If you want to follow proposed bills, watch committee meetings or the House or Senate Floor sessions live, you can access the Oregon Legislative Information System via the following link:


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


Deborah Boone

House District 32

email: Rep.DeborahBoone@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1432
address: 900 Court St NE, H-481, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/boone