The Not So Short Session But a Short Update

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Senator Alan Olsen

Hello Friends,

A Quick Overview of the Short Session.

The Legislative Session is winding down and will be over no later than March 6th.  But not before damage will be done to Oregon’s economy. I will give a more detailed update as soon as we wrap up the session within the next week as things are going really fast right now. In the past weeks the Legislature took action on a couple of key issues:

To the Bill

SB 1532 – increases the minimum wage to a maximum of $14.75.  This highly contentious bill was debated at length in both the House and Senate but ended up passing.  Oregon will soon have the distinction of holding the highest minimum wage in the country.  I have grave concerns about the ripple effect of this change and the effects it will have on our already high unemployment. Increased costs of all goods and services will be paid by every Oregonian.  Small businesses will face difficult decisions on the size of their workforce. A report issued from the State shows some of the very concerning options businesses will face with the wage increase please (see pg.7). Even though the bill passed and is awaiting the Governor’s signature, there continues to be discussions in the Capitol for offset some of the cost for businesses and the pending ballot measure to raise the minimum wage straight to $15.00hr – it isn’t over until it is over.

Articles from across the State: 


HB 4036 – The Clean Energy and Coal Reduction bill passed the House on a bi-partisan vote but has been amended in the Senate Business and Transportation Committee.  Amendments were presented by Senator Lee Beyer (D) Springfield, a former Public Utility Commissioner (PUC).  The PUC has grave concerns over the costs that will be passed on to rate payers without any real greenhouse gas emission reductions but they were silenced by the Governor.  Senator Beyer’s amendments restore the necessary PUC regulation that was stripped in SB 4036.  In my opinion, even Senator Beyer’s amendments do not make this a good bill and will still increase costs to rate payers without any real environmental benefits.

 HB 4147 – prohibits the sale of a firearm if the background check has not been completed with a 10 day hold. Current law allows a three day hold and after the three days expire the transfer is legal if no negative background check has been reported. The bill would also require notification to certain individuals when an unlawful purchaser attempts to purchase a gun.  The bill passed the House and is now in Senate Rules. Senate leaders say it's is "unlikely" to move despite passing the House.

My bill, SB 1547A, to change the statutory definition of “public utility” has been passed out of the House Rules Committee. The bill already passed unanimously in the Senate earlier in the session and is expected to pass in the House.  However, as of the writing of this newsletter, my bill is being used, without my consent, as a vehicle to “stuff” amendments in. House Democrats have stuffed the concepts from House Bill 4036 into my bill to allow quicker passage and they did so without a public hearing while in the House Committee on Rules. This is a continuation of non-inclusiveness with deals being made behind closed doors. By stuffing my bill with the amended concepts of HB 4036 they can send it back over to the Senate Chamber as a bill that already passed unanimously and then bypass the regular procedures of a public floor debate by blocking any Minority Report or debate. It is procedural manipulation and it is the very reason I am calling for more transparency in the legislative bill process. We are still in limbo to how this is going to play out but my hope is that integrity will prevail with the Senate Leadership and that HB 4036 will be heard in the Senate Chamber with the proper public debate the bill requires.  Here is the floor speech I gave once I found out that my bill was being manipulated and stuffed to push a political agenda.

The Best Parts of the Short Session


I am happy to report my Senate Concurrent Resolution 206, honoring the Wright family, who lost both of their sons in the service of our country, passed the Legislature. I was honored to have Mr. George Wright, the World War II Veteran and father of the boys, sit with me on the senate Floor as we passed this bill. Shortly after we stopped by to pay Governor Brown a visit before Mr. Wright and his family headed back home to Boring Oregon. The community of Boring will request the Oregon Department of Transportation place Vietnam Hero Highway signs to honor the Wright brothers on Highway 26 as it passes through Boring. Tax deductible donations to defray the $1,200 cost can be made through the Boring, Oregon Foundation at P.O. Box 1448, Boring or at

F.I.R.S.T. Science & Technology Kids

I had a great time with the "GEARHEADS" from Gladstone when they stopped by to show me their robot they built for F.I.R.S.T. Tech Challenge. This one was not the one they were going to use for the challenge but they did let me chase a few other Senators down the hall with it. It was great having them stop by and I wish the Kraxberger Gearheads of Gladstone the best of luck in the upcoming competition. 


Canby 8th Grade History Students

Canby 8th grade history

I had a very pleasant visit with the Kids from 91 School District of Canby. The 8th grade History classes came down to the Capitol to see how their state government works while in session. They got to spend time touring the Capitol building, watched floor debates, toured the Governor's office and then we spent lunch together in a committee room where I gave a brief civics class and took questions. There were some very good questions asked and I was really impressed with the level of depth in which they inquired to. 

My next newsletter will be a wrap-up of the 2016 “short” session.

As always, my door is always open and I look forward to hearing any concerns you might have.

Yours truly,

Senator Alan Olsen
Senate District 20

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720
District Phone: 503-266-4599
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-425, Salem, OR 97301
District Address: 675 Northwest 2nd St., Canby, OR 97013


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Senator Olsen's Committees:

Vice Chair of Senate Committee Environment & Natural Resources
Vice Chair of Senate Committee Human Services & Early Childhood
Senate Committee on Veterans & Emergency Preparedness