June 25 2015 Newsletter

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

We have now entered the final couple of weeks of the 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly.   This session I have served on the Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee, and we finished up our work on the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services budgets.  Those two state agency budgets combined equal nearly $30 billion, and after careful review we have now forwarded our recommendations to the full Ways and Means Committee.  The full committee will now finalize their budget recommendations for the Legislature’s consideration.  The only action legally required of the Legislature, is to develop and approve a balanced state budget.

This session we prioritized education, and from early learning to higher education the 2015-17 education budget made increased investments.  This biennium we have increased the K-12 budget by over $700 million to reach a $7.36 billion budget.  The Community College Support Fund is increased by $95 million for a total of $500 million, and the Public Universities Fund was increased by $150 million to $700 million.  As we began this session, a bipartisan group of legislators, and stakeholder groups came together to present a joint Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) policy with a funding proposal to strengthen these programs statewide.    As a result of their efforts and with support from our budget leaders, $35 million was set aside to continue to fund STEM Innovation Grants, STEM Hubs, CTE revitalization Grants and invest in a Career Pathway Fund for local school district programs.

For several weeks, a bipartisan, bicameral group of eight legislators met with the Governor’s staff and agency representatives to work on a comprehensive $343.5 million transportation funding package.  Their work product was turned over to a special Senate committee, who held their first public hearing on the bill Wednesday afternoon.  The plan raised $200 million a year through a 4-cent gas tax increase to pay for road and bridge repair.  The compromise offered the unusual opportunity for extra funding for targeted projects in every region of the state.  Senate leaders and Governor Brown abandoned the plan on Thursday when it became clear they could not get the three-fifths supermajority votes needed to pass the legislation.  I am very disappointed because our roads and infrastructure are badly in need of maintenance and upgrades.

We received word this week from the US Housing and Urban Development Department that Oregon was one of 40 states and local communities to compete in the second and final phase of HUDs National Disaster Resilience Competition.  HUD’s competition is designed to help states and local communities recover from past disasters while improving their ability to withstand future extreme events through strategic community investments.   In Phase 2, each finalist is invited to propose specific projects that advance their comprehensive resilience plans.  We will be coordinating with HB 2270, which establishes the position of Resilience Policy Advisor in the Governor’s Office.   This bill was approved by the full Ways and Means and now moves to the House Floor for approval.

This past weekend US Senator Jeff Merkley held his annual Tillamook County Town Hall, and I was happy to see it well attended.   Since he assumed his Senate seat in 2009, Sen. Merkley has held a yearly Town Hall session in each county.   The Tillamook session was well attended, and the Senator covered a full range of topics including the Fast Track Trade bill, Educational Funding, Veteran’s issues, and finding a new way to fund fire-fighting on federal forest lands.  Forest and wild-land fire suppression and control costs have been astronomical in the past several years, consuming the vast majority of federal natural resource agency budgets, which inhibits their ability to undertake other important land management activities.   It was good to see Senator Merkley in the district, I have always found him to be accessible and very helpful.

This weekend, there will be lots going on in the city of Tillamook during the June Dairy Festival weekend!  On Saturday, the Tillamook June Dairy Parade will kick off at 11:00.   Considered the 3rd largest parade in Oregon, the dairy parade began in 1957, and is still going strong.  The June Dairy Festival weekend includes the 33rd annual Tillamook YMCA fun run prior to the parade, and the 29th annual Tillamook County Rodeo is held on Saturday and Sunday at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds.

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch from Friday afternoon through Tuesday evening from the Coast Range through the Cascades.   Along the coast, it will be unseasonably warm, with highs in the mid to upper seventies.  When these temperatures occur, we need to keep health and safety of our more vulnerable citizens, and pets in mind.  The early hours of the day are the best time to open your windows and doors to let the cooler air in.  And above all, don’t leave small children or pets in parked vehicles.   In a matter of minutes, temperatures inside a closed car can reach extremely dangerous levels.

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 watch one of the final 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: 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