E-Newsletter Volume 7, No. #6



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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March 8, 2013                E-Newsletter              Volume 7, No. 6

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Hi Everyone,


 Each Session, the Legislature’s number one task, constitutionally, is the development of a state budget for the next two years.  This week the House and Senate Co-Chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee released their proposed budget for the 2013-15 biennium. This budget is the Legislature’s response to the Governor’s Recommended Budget, which came out in December, and it is our chance to further study and fine tune the Governor’s recommendations. The Co-chairs, have characterized this as the “Turning Point” budget, a turning point because economic forecasts have begun to show that Oregon is slowly but surely climbing up out of the recession.

For me, the proposed $6.75 billion in school funding is the budget highlight – nearly $1 billion in additional resources and savings above what schools had in 2011-13.  After years of instability that caused drastic cuts to schools, teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, and shortened school years, I’m thankful to see a budget that stabilizes school funding and allows us to begin rebuilding our education system.  After all, we are preparing the next generation and we want them to have every opportunity that is reasonably available to make them successful.

The budget also includes critical investments in job creation, health care, human services, public safety and other priorities including:

  •  Renewing the hospital self-assessment to deliver health care to 220,000 additional Oregonians
  •  Increasing community mental health programs for children and young adults
  •  Maintaining funding for Head Start and other early childhood education

In order to realize improved funding for schools and services, there are a number of difficult decisions that will need to be made.  It will mean strict budgeting, increased efficiencies within government, savings from PERS and revenue from targeted reductions in tax expenditures.  This would break out as follows:

  •  $275 million in total new resources
  •  $455 million in PERS adjustments
  •  $278 million in staffing, services/supplies and tax collections

Next, the Ways and Means Sub-committees will begin working on each aspect of this budget.  There will be many different perspectives in play as we go through this tedious process, but there will also be plenty of opportunity for input.  If we really intend to put more money into education and hold other vital services harmless, then we are going to have to work together for the good of the order.  We did it last session when the House was split 30/30; I know we can do it again.

Things are starting to ramp up in my House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. We heard several bills concerning our rivers and streams: HB 2697 is a bill that allows anglers to return fish carcasses to the waters where they harvested the fish; and a bill I sponsored, HB 2396, concerns the benefits to fish habitat of large woody debris in our waterways.

These bills help bolster the health of our rivers and streams leading to more abundant fisheries for our recreational and commercial users. On both of these pieces of legislation we had support from individuals, ODF&W, sport and commercial fishing associations. This type of coalition embodies the vision of sustainability we shared our first day on the committee, that we can have our cake and eat it too, that we can have first-rate environmental policy and strong communities with vibrant economies.

Bills of Interest

SB 461:  Provides that Interstate 84 in OR shall be known as Vietnam Veterans Memorial Hwy.

HB 2008:  Allows city to order temporary cessation of alcoholic beverage sales at certain premises upon reasonable belief that continued sales or operation are immediate threat to public safety.

HB 2019:  Creates crime of patronizing a trafficked child.

HB 3262:  Requires State Fish and Wildlife Commission to issue permits for removal of certain crab pots.

 Please enjoy the pictures that follow and have a great weekend! 



Meeting with OSEA and AFT school advocates from Clatskanie and Vernonia. 
From left, my staff person Collin Erickson, Billi Leinonen, Val Jack, myself,
Jim Tift, Larry Reaney, Kathi Fetch, Julie Ramsey, Doris Buchholz.


I won a duck nesting box built by the Oregon Hunters Association for the benefit of the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucus.  Hopefully a wood duck family will take up residence this spring.