Rep Boone June 18 2015 Newsletter

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

On Friday, the House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 454 providing paid sick time protections for most workers.   Currently nearly half of workers in the private sector have no access to sick time, and for low wage workers, more than 70% have no paid sick time.  When they are ill, they either have to work sick, lose a day of pay, or even lose their job.  Paid sick leave will give workers the option to take time off to seek medical advice, and often early treatment prevents a much more serious illness.  This legislation requires most employers having ten or more employees to implement a sick time policy allowing an employee to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.   Additionally, the bill requires most employers who employ fewer than ten employees to implement an unpaid sick time policy. The bill now goes to Governor Brown for her signature.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure to be on hand for the groundbreaking of Clatsop Community College’s Patriot Hall redevelopment project.   The ceremonial ground breaking kicks off a 15 month project to redevelop the 94 year old Patriot hall into a modern gym and academic center.  The new Patriot Hall will replace the old building while preserving some of the exterior walls, and a plaque commemorating veterans it will be 30,000 square feet, an increase of 8,000 square feet.  The building will be open for community use of the new gymnasium, an indoor running track, cardiovascular and weight-training areas.  There will also be lab space for a new Emergency Medical Technician program.  

This project should move very quickly, the goal is to have a steel frame up, and exterior work completed before the rainy season, and then have the entire building completed by September of 2016.

Patriot Hall Groundbreaking Ceremony
Patriot Hall Redevelopment Groundbreaking

The Patriot Hall $16 million redevelopment project is being funded by state bonds, approved by the legislature in 2013, with a local match of $8.2 million approved by voters last November.  This is the third phase of the Jerome Campus redevelopment project, following construction of Columbia hall and the renovation of Towler Hall.

Last November, Oregon voters approve Measure 91 legalizing recreational marijuana use as of July 1, 2015.   This session a legislative committee has been working on implementing this new law with the goal of protecting the basic tenants of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP).   Lawmakers who have been working on this implementation legislation seem to have reached some reasonable compromises.  House Bill 3400 would regulate the upcoming commercial marijuana market.

 Measure 91 placed the production and sale of recreational marijuana under the control of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, while HB 3400 gives a major role to the Oregon Health Authority.  The changes to OMMP includes caps new marijuana growers at 12 to 48 plants within city limits, fewer plants if the grow is located within a residential area.  Existing growers within the city limits would be capped at 24-96 plants, again depending on location of grow.  There are also requirements for testing, packaging and labeling.  Edibles and other processed marijuana products would have potency and ingredient labeling, and could not be marketed towards children.     Testing would ensure products are not contaminated with pesticides.

Local control over marijuana dispensaries has been a contentious issues, and HB 3400 hopes to address that by allowing an opt-out option for those communities and counties whose voters rejected Measure 91 by more than 55%.   The fifteen Oregon counties who overwhelmingly opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana are all located east of the Cascades.   In cities and counties where voters approved Measure 91, any effort to ban marijuana sales would automatically be referred to a public vote.  

Fire danger is increasing throughout the state, and State Forestry officials declared fire season for the northwest zone in effect as of Monday.   Normally fire season for our area begins in July and lasts until the fall rains begin.   This year the declaration came several weeks earlier due to an unseasonably warm and dry spring, which has been drying out our forest lands.   As of this Friday, restrictions are tightening, and include: a prohibition on use of fireworks, exploding targets, smoking outside of closed vehicles, and open fires except in designated locations.   Motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles must be confined to improved roads or designated areas.  Contact the Oregon State Forestry office before heading into the forested areas for updated restriction, and please keep fire safety in mind in the coming weeks and months.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will be holding his Tillamook County Town Hall meeting on Saturday June 20th at the Port of Tillamook Bay Officers’ Mess Hall.  The public town hall begins at 1:00pm, and this is a great opportunity to get the latest news from Washington, D.C., and to weigh in on federal issues.

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

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