Senator Jeff Kruse - February 22nd, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:
E-Newsletter                  Number 1, Volume 1 

 Working Hard For You



FEBRUARY 22, 2013




We have reached the end of week three and the two biggest issues up for consideration on the House side are the new bridge over the Columbia River (CRC) and tuition equity.  I am assuming the tuition equity bill will be assigned to the Senate Education Committee, so hopefully there will still be an opportunity to work on the issue over the next few weeks.  CRC is another matter.  The bill came out of a joint committee and will just go directly to both Chambers for a vote.  At a future time I will delineate the provisions of the bill, but at this time my issue is a concern over the process.  I question how a proposal that contemplates such a massive amount of bonding can come for a vote without going through the Ways and Means Committee where all spending and borrowing measures are supposed to go.  Any bill in a substantive committee that spends even $50,000 is required to go to Ways and Means, and yet this bill creating hundreds of millions of dollars in debt is given a pass.


To a degree the beginning of the legislative session is like the start of a school year.  There are a lot of old class mates plus a number of new students.  We all have to find out where our classes are and get settled into the schedule.  We also share another similarity with schools in the fact that it can be a germ factory, simply because we have so many people in a confined space.  This was my week to get “the bug”, which we affectionately call the Capitol Crud.  It would take more than a bug to stop me, but I will have to admit I haven’t been at the very top of my game.  However it is best to get this out of the way early rather than later.


I thought maybe I would take a little time to put an issue into perspective.  I have received a large number of letters in regard to the plastic bag ban.  I truly appreciate the fact that we should be doing everything we can to help the environment, but I think this issue misses the mark, and I want you to understand why.  To do this we need to put Oregon in perspective, relative to the world.  The United States actually has a very small percentage of the world’s land mass and Oregon is a significantly smaller portion of that number.  Additionally the US has only 4.46% of the world’s population and Oregon has only 1% of the US population.  When one looks at the big picture from this perspective one can rightly conclude that any activity we take unilaterally would probably not have a measurable impact.


As for banning plastic bags we also need to take a look from a larger perspective.  All plastic products total less than 12% of our waste stream, plastic film is less than 5%, and plastic bags are a subset of the plastic film category.  It should also be noted almost all plastic bags are recyclable and can be turned back into the petroleum product they came from.  Additionally these bags come from Oregon companies, which mean Oregon jobs.  We need to take a broader look at the impact of a ban, not just from the environmental perspective, but also from the economic perspective.


I also want to put a personal face on this issue.  When I go to the grocery store I see a lot of senior citizens shopping, some of them with walkers.    It is clearly a matter of convenience and utility for them to be able to carry their purchases in plastic bags (which have handles).  It would be much more difficult for them to try and handle paper bags.  So my question would be, is it worth the minimal impact we would have on the waste stream to put an additional burden on this population.


Under the current system if you prefer not to use plastic bags you have that choice.  I personally don’t think we should be taking this choice away from Oregonians for such a small impact when one truly takes a look at the big picture.  Freedom should include freedom of choice.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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