E-Newsletter Volume 7, No. #4




Representative Brad Witt
District 31

Phone: 503-986-1431    900 Court St. NE, H-374, Salem Oregon 97301
Email: rep.bradwitt@state.or.us    Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/witt
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February 22, 2013              E-Newsletter              Volume 7, No. 4

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Hi Everyone,


On Wednesday evening, Sen. Betsy Johnson, Rep. Deborah Boone and I made legislative history!  We were the first ever to conduct a virtual town hall, broadcast live from the State Capitol. The audience could see us in living color on their computers or listen to us on local radio stations KOHI (St. Helens) and KCPB (Astoria). Participants had an hour and a half to contact us and we had a great response! 

The questions reflected the nature of our districts, which encompass the entire northwest corner of Oregon.  Between us, we represent everything from the Portland Metro area to the shores of Clatsop and Tillamook Counties.  Here are just a few of the questions that were asked:

  • Why must Oregon businesses have multiple business IDs with different state agencies?
  • When will the legislature finally do something to adequately fund the OSP?
  • How about licensing bikes in order to raise money for bike lanes/off road trails.
  • What are you doing about emergency (earthquake/tsunami) preparedness?
  • What are you doing to help our veterans?
  • Do you support the proposed LNG plant in Warrenton?
  • How do you feel about continuing the Hwy 30 safety corridor in S. Columbia County?

We want to thank Michael Desmond of DezmoMedia and KCPB who was our Master of Ceremonies and all around tech-savvy guy!  Thank you, Michael, for all of your hard work on this event.  We think this is something we would like to continue doing, so let us know if this works for you!

Monday, the House unanimously passed a resolution honoring veterans from the Republic of Korea who fought in the Vietnam War.  325,517 Korean soldiers came at the request of our government beginning in 1964 until they left in 1973. Of those soldiers 5,099 were killed and 10,962 were injured. All of these veterans suffer the lingering trauma of that conflict, and deserve our recognition for their service. Currently 1,300 of these former Korean soldiers live in the United States and about 95% are now citizens. This begins the process of recognizing their service to the American people, recognition that will allow them to possibly gain assistance from veterans' programs for which they are currently ineligible.

In my Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee this week, the whirlwind of hearings continues to blow through.  House Bills 2039 and 2649 were the measures that garnered the most attention.

HB 2039: Expands the State Marine Board's ability to regulate Outdoor Guides and Outfitters with the goal of improving the level of professionalism and safety in the industry. Testimony came from both the public and private sectors including: the Marine Board, Oregon State Police, Trout Unlimited, and the McKenzie River Guide Association. Support for the bill was universal, but issues were raised by a section requiring a Coast Guard license.

 HB 2649: Allows for greater flexibility in Oregon's Farm to School program. Every witness we heard supported this bill. Those folks who were personally impacted by this program where local farmers, millers, processors, students, teachers, and even some of my fellow legislators. Those who gave their testimony stressed how this program provides economic, social, and educational benefits throughout the state from Astoria to Burns. 

Late Breaking News…

Today, we passed HB 2787, the so-called tuition equity bill, which allows children of undocumented workers to be eligible for in-state tuition rates, under the following circumstances:

  • Attendance at an Oregon elementary or high school for 3 years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma
  • Attendance at a school in any US state or territory during each of the five years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma
  • Receipt of a high school diploma from an Oregon school no more than 3 years prior to initial enrollment in a state university
  • Demonstration of intent to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

The bill passed 38-18, and I voted for it.  Although there were many reasons to say “aye,” one of the reasons for me was economic.  For Oregon’s students, higher education means greater numbers of successful careers with higher levels of income.  In fact, Oregon's college graduates earn nearly 65% more than workers with a high school diploma.  For our employers, a well-educated workforce means that Oregon companies will continue to remain competitive in the increasingly global marketplace.  And in terms of our state’s financial health, good jobs, good wages and successful employers mean a robust economy, once again, for all of us.

 Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter…please enjoy the following pictures and have a great weekend!



Virtual Town Hall
Senator Johnson and Representative Boone with Representative Witt during the "Virtual" Town Hall


Birgitte Ryslinge, Kali Thorne Ladd, Betsy Julian visiting with me
from PCC Rock Creek Campus

Correction officers

Press Conference announcing HB 2910, a bill to allow state corrections officers to possess
personal, licensed firearms within their vehicles on Dept of Corrections property.